Best Series Reads
Series You Won't Forget... SERIOUSLY
Narnia, Middle-earth, Hogwarts, Panem, Westeros and the realms of Philip Pullman and Lemony Snicket are probably the best-known places to lose yourself in summer reading, as many know (“invented worlds” or dystopic series). But the recent explosion of genre/series fiction, as well as a growing hunger for nonfiction series books, is extraordinarily diverse and rich. Below is a taste—hopefully, offerings that satisfy several palates.
Young Adult & Invented Worlds
For YA interests, we’ve got genres galore. Some of the following will do nicely (I have this on good authority, so trust me…): Try The Faerie Ring books; followed by the Indigo Court series; The Girl of Fire and Thorns; and Chronicles of Light and Shadow. My thanks to fellow bibliophile, Megan (click here on goodreads for the benefit of her VOLUMINOUS reading knowledge).
OK: World War II furnishes our representative nonfiction entry…and, well, William Manchester offers a broad compass of the man many see as Europe’s contradictory savior, Winston Churchill, in his massive biographies, The Last Lion. These you can swim in concurrently with Churchill’s own expansive, six-volume, The Second World War, naturally. However, for the most granular examination of the elephant in the room during the war, Germany itself, look to Richard J. Evans’s trilogy on The Third Reich (start here). Utterly riveting.
For The Ladies…
I’m not keen on the term “chick-lit,” but…the Shopaholic series, by Sophie Kinsella, is endless and entertainingly light. I suppose the genre could be said to begin with Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and continue, in spirit, with The Devil Wears Prada oeuvre. Other authors to note in this vein: the local FC writer, Jane Green, Jennifer Weiner, along with the standards, a bit down the hierarchy, IMO, including Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Barbara Taylor Bradford et al. Again, in my opinion!
Re: Horror…Amy Cross writes expansive series of terror-inducing tomes, including Asylum and Dark Season, either of which is a good place to start—there are yards of prose by her. Stephen King needs no introduction, so…his Dark Tower series also makes sense as a sound dwelling place. Of course, there are zombies everywhere—so try The Dead Hunger boxed set by Eric A. Shelman (lots more, too, but…). Wanna go classic in horror? Poe or HP Lovecraft; those two, or Flannery O’Connor.
Literary sagas, naturally, also abound, beyond The Forsyte Saga, that is—The Bascombe Trilogy, by Richard Ford, is important as an American literary opus; then, going back further is John Updike’s Rabbit series (of course). Venture back and there is Faulkner—the stories and novels in Yoknapatawpha County—and beyond that, into the Anglo-Victorian realm, Anthony Trollope (too many to enumerate here). I think Don Quixote and its sequel are series of peculiarly fine vintage; back EVEN further, to the source, and the ultimate sweet spot lies in The Iliad and The Odyssey—I read them every summer. I’d also be remiss, in this watercourse way, if I didn’t mention the more contemporary seafaring fiction of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels: hectares of bookshelf space; oceans of prose in which to float away…