Best Book Series

23 Feb

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m a reader. I feel empty and without purpose if I don’t have a book in progress. I’m addicted. As an English major, I’ve read books from all genres, many countries, diverse authors and wide spread time periods. I still challenge myself with tough modernist works and dense Russian masterpieces. But in the midst of the challenges, I have a special place in my heart for the series.  They don’t necessarily have less merit than more “literary” pursuits, but a series book gives me more escapism fun than say a Virginia Woolf novel. All this is a preamble to share my favorite book series. And if you’re a reader like me, or a person who wants to be a reader, try one of these series out! I bet if you give them a chance you won’t look back.

Lord of the Rings

I just finished reading The Silmarillion last month, and although it varies in reading quality, it ultimately confirmed to me how rich the history of Middle Earth actually is. I started reading the first book in the trilogy so long ago (like elementary school age) that many of the details have faded, but I do remember how entranced I was by the classic and fascinating struggle between the underdog good and seemingly insurmountable evil. I’ll admit, Tolkien does get too bogged down in geographic detail for my taste, but the actual story is full of gratifyingly beautiful friendships and hard won triumphs. These books are a worthy read for anyone with, well, eyes.

The Dark Tower Series

I started reading this series during my semester in Florence, Italy, my sophomore year of college. They were perfect train books. I remember finishing the first two books (and the only ones I had borrowed to bring), and then frantically searching Milan for a book store that sold books in English. I NEEDED to keep reading. I HAD to know what happened next. I’m a Stephen King fan, and this series, in my opinion, is his masterpiece (and ok, The Stand is great as well). I love how the 7 books were written over the course of his long career and that the worlds and characters of the series sneak into his other books. Another worthy read, but this one is for people with eyes who are a bit older.

Harry Potter

Oh yes, I jumped right through platform 9 & ¾ and onto the Harry Potter train. I remember having a Harry Potter book attached to my hand for days the Christmas my family discovered them. I could not put them down. I read all of them way too fast, and I always fought with my sister to see who would get to read the newest one first. The magic of Harry Potter is well, the magic. Diagon Alley and Hogwarts and the whole wizarding community that Rowling presents are always clever and entertaining.

And two new series that I recently devoured are The Hunger Games and The Millennium Series. It is too soon to declare them among my favorites, but I will say that, again, I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience. The Hunger Games is a gruesome and sad story of violence and rebellion. It may have the cliché love triangle and a somewhat tired premise, but the spirit of the main character is worth flipping those pages. And The Millennium Series is also violent and at times gruesome. I am fascinated by this snapshot into the Swedish landscape and politics. But Larsson gets a little carried away with details and even whole story lines that have nothing to do with the overarching plot. I didn’t enjoy the first 100 pages or so of the 2nd book, but I am very happy I’m reading the 3rd – it is great!

In short, tackling a series is one of my favorite pursuits. Entering a world again and again is irresistible for a reader like me, especially if that world is well-crafted and full of interesting characters. If you have a favorite series you think I’m missing out on, please clue me in! My book queue is long, but I’m sure I could fit it in.

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