Skip to comments.Free Republic Book Club (6/16/07): What's your favorite series?
Posted on 06/16/2007 7:45:51 AM PDT by Tanniker Smith
The Free Republic Book Club is an informal gathering of readers and lovers of all genre of books, which meets on an irregular basis, which would whenever I remember to post something. The last meeting, Free Republic Book Club: (1/16/07) What's on Your Reading List for 2007? was quite a while ago. Sorry about that.
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This "week's" topic: What's your favorite Book Series?
For the sake of argument, let's define a "series" as any collection of books by an author (or authors) with the continuing characters or a continuing conflict/situation/whathaveyou that is longer than a trilogy.
I imagine that Harry Potter is either high on everyone's list or not on the list at all. But for those that like them, the wait for the last book is almost over.
I haven't read too many other fantasy *series* that I like. I have a "favorite author", but I've only read two of his books and those two weren't related at all.
Oddly enough, I can't think of any SF series off the top of my head, either, that I've read. There are enough of them out there. (I'm not counting the umpteen Star Trek book lines, which I stopped reading 20 years ago or so as I couldn't keep up with them -- and because so many of them were utter garbage.)
I've read a few of Sue Grafton's alphabet books (and heard a couple on cassette in the car) and I'll probably pick up a few more during the summer.
The Lemony Snicket series finally reached The End, but it was probably several books to late.
And I have a huge collection of Doc Savage books in my basement, but I haven't read them in ages because I've been trying to read books that I can get rid of and pass along.
Okay, your turn . . . .
I turn the floor over to . . .
I really enjoyed Stephen King’s Gunslinger series.
book club ping
20 years ago, Jerry Ahern's 'Survivalist' series, and the Mack Bolan/Stony Man books. 8~)
Since the books have the same protagonist, would the work of Tom Clancy be considered a series? If so, that’s my favorite. Tom writes with high granularity, ie, visualization-enhancing descriptive depth. It’s like a movie in your mind.
Oh - Also, Stephen Coonts’ Jake Grafton series, starting with ‘Flight of the Intruder’.
For me Dune is the best series, even the ones by Frank Herberts son are good.
Growing up I loved the Xanth series. I also liked Star Wars books even though most of them are hit and miss, I just like reading them and putting myself into the Star Wars universe.
I REALLY enjoyed “The Raj Quartet”, a four book historical fiction series by Paul Scott which focussed on the ending days of British rule in India. PBS produced a miniseries of the first book, “The Jewel in the Crown” back in the 80’s which was very well received.
Paul Scott is an EXTREMELY descriptive writer, and some may find his writing tedious, but I found it fascinating. Race relations of all types, not only white/Indian, but also between different factions, castes and religions of Indians are explored in great detail and are integral to the twists and turns of the plot line. The main story line centers on a forbidden romance between a young British woman and an Indian man (educated at all the best schools in England, yet not accepted by either the British or his own people).
The first book is a good story in itself and some may be satisfied with just that, but it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and I enjoyed the writing so much, I continued with the other three.
If not Harry Potter, I’d go with Asimov’s Foundation series.
Im re-reading the entire Hardy Boys Canon. I also just finished Pete Early’s book on Aldrich Ames..
OK. If we are talking even from our childhood I’ll go with the Beanie Malone books by Lenora Mattingly Weber. I’d love to have a copy of that series.
For the present, I’d like to list Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta, but I have to hold my nose when I read them because Cornwell has such an obvious homo agenda in her books.
In that case, I guess my most recent favorite is Vince Flynn. I love Mitch Rapp.
Sure, most of his books are continuous -- at least, I think they were. I stopped reading them some time back. I think "Without Remorse" was the last one I read.
I've also thoroughly enjoyed Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin novels, and for non-fiction, Bruce Catton's Army of the Potomac trilogy and Douglas Southall Freeman's Lee's Lieutenants trilogy.
The Patrick O’Brian “Master and Commander” series of 20+ books is excellent. I was not too keen on the topic(British 19th naval)at first glance...but this was my incorrect bias. Now I love the topic.
Following Proust’s Lost Time the idea of a series or a set of parallel novels caught on in the realm of literature. Some sets ran to twenty-five novels with the same characters. But, the American West had its dime novels where the adventures of one or another western hero continued forever. The dime novels have disappeared, so if anybody has some of these in a trunk in tha attic it might be an opportunity.
Can’t beat Robert B. Parker’s Spenser & Hawk.
I read Foundation in high school, which is probably what put me off to it. I had difficulty getting through it. That said, I read Foundation's Edge and enjoyed it enough that I picked up Foundation and Earth, which I remember being disappointed by.
I forgot about John Carter of Mars. Love those. I've read about 4 or 5 of them. I have the set in a box in the basement, including one or two that were my older brother's and have a really cool old cover. The rest are from the late-1980s reprint line.
Most are about hunting dangerous game in Africa and the ones that were man-eaters.
He has a way of writing that puts you in right in the story of something that is likely going to kill you in the next paragraph.
“Death in the Silent Places” was a good one for that.
Anyone that likes suspense and being scared **itless by non fiction real stories should enjoy them.
Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp Series— great political fiction in the vein of 24!
1-The series about Rome and Ceasar by Norfolk Island, (SP) resident Colleen McCullough, which includes: CESAR, CESAR’S WOMEN, The GRASS CROWN, FORTUNE’s FAVORITE, and The FIRST MAN in ROME. Beautifully researched and the dialogue is crisp and remarkably fun to read. Each book is in the multi hundred to over 1,000 pages. A “READER’s” treat.
2-The Hera Series by New Zealand writer Pauline Gedge.
Ancient Egypt at it’s most conspiratorial and bloody.
3-Anything by Wilbur Smith; some twenty or more novels placed in or about Africa from it’s earliest encounters with the White men, to right now. A rich and deep writer who has created not one but several families, with genealogical movement; black and white. Start anywhere but better if from the begining. Adrenaline at it’s best.
4-Since I pled ignorance by submitting three, I figured, as would a U.S.Senator, (i.e., disembler,liar and cheat), why not me as well; so here is a forth series worth mentioning.
The Sano series, by Laura Joh Rowland.
Following the career and life of humble police officer Sano up through ranks to the Shogun’s “personal investigator of odd occurrences and happenings” in the Tokgukowa regime in ancient Japan. Clever investigation and involved plots making for a better more entertaining form of CSI: Ancient Japan(Cue giant gong clash!)Lots of involved and twisted plots for reading.
Piers Anthony - Xanth
Roger Zelazny - Amber
Marion Z. Bradley - Darkover
Alan Cole, Chris Bunch - Sten
A. Bertram Chandler - Grimes
David Drake - Hammer's Slammers
Eric Flint - Ring of Fire/Grantville
Alan Dean Foster - Flinx/Commonwealth
Leo Frankowski - StarGuard
David Gerrold - Chtorr (took forever!)
Terry Goodkind - Sword of Truth
James P. Hogan - Giants
Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time
Elizabeth Moon - Paksnarrion
John Ringo - Alldenata
Fred Saberhagen - Dracula
William Mark Simmons - Halflife
E. E. Smith - Skylark, Lensman
David Weber - Honor Harrington/Dahak/March series
Those are just the ones with a bunch of books...
The first that comes to mind is the Christian History Project— a series of books that deal with the history of Christianity -—superbly done...and fascinating reading.
The Space Trilogy by C S Lewis—not as well knownas his others
And Herbert’s Dune-—got through those years ago but still reverberate.
While they might not be my favorite series, I have recently enjoyed a series by “Gordon Kent”, pseudonym for a father/son team who both served and flew in ASW ops in the Navy. The current titles, in release order, are: Night Trap, Peacemaker, Top Hook, Hostile Contact, Force Protection, Damage Control, The Spoils of War. Like a lot of novel series, even including those of Patrick O’Brian, the writers tend to run short of new material down the line, but there is a lot of interesting techno stuff, which led me to learn a lot about S-3 aircraft that I didn’t know.
I don’t go in for series much. I have friends who are waiting for the next book in several different fantasy series,but they just don’t interest me much. I have another friend who has devoted this year to reading Churchill’s complete WWII history, which is a bigger goal than I’m willing to commit to.
I’ll get, and probably finish, the final Harry Potter the week if not the day it comes out. The last series before HP that I was in a hurry to snag and read was the Hitchhiker’s Guide trilogy (of five). I read The Green Mile, but only after it was all finished, and that’s not a novel series, but a single novel published in serial form.
My gripe with series, as you point out in a few examples, is that they tend to accumulate filler. The quality of each book is kind of hit or miss.
So what am I reading? I’ve been on a history and biography kick lately, reading Ellis Washington bio, His Excellency, McCullogh’s 1776, and over the last couple of years Isaacson’s bio of Ben Franklin and McCullogh’s of John Adams. I just finished In Cold Blood, a book I can’t believe I never read before now, and I”m working on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, a bio of Abe Lincoln and his Cabinet. In between non-fiction, I squeezed in Hannibal Rising. I also recommend to anyone Bernard Lewis’ history of the Middle East, but reading it is not a task to be taken lightly.
When I finish the Goodwin, my plan is to zip through at least a half-dozen Vonnegut novels as my own personal memorial to the guy. I did something similar when Douglas Adams died. Adams was easier — he’d only written seven novels.
I don’t care too much for series. I like to finish the story:’) The last one I read though, I think, was the “Left Behind “ ones. I liked them but didn’t like waiting months for the next one to come out.
I would definitely consider them a series. Even when Clancy departs from the timeline -- as in Without Remorse -- he manages to tie it in to the narrative. In WR, Jack Ryan has a cameo as the teenaged son of the Baltimore cop investigating ... the stuff (I don't want to give spoilers).
My big beef with the Jack Ryan series is that Clancy fell prey to ever-increasing expectations -- each book had to end with a bigger bang than the last, to a degree that began to border on the absurd. To his credit, I think Clancy saw that -- which is why his latest books are prequels (Red Rabbit) or following another tangent (the Rainbow Six series). Because, let's face it, there isn't much of anywhere else to take the character of Jack Ryan unless Clancy wants to crown him the Messiah.
It's curious: I have (now college aged) daughters who, despite my attempts to interest them in my vast collection of SF, can't get much beyond Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Lloyd Alexander - the fantasy stuff, like Harry Potter. I was actually much more successful at getting them to read serious literature than SF. I guess that 'hard science' and 'military' SF is pretty much a guy thing.
Now, see? That’s the best part of chatting with people with similar interests. Hadn’t heard of Paul Scott, but will definitely be looking for his books now as the subject and the way you’ve described his writing just catches my interest.
My favorite is James Patterson, esp. his Alex Cross series. And I do like Patricia Cornwell as well but not so much on her Women’s Murder Club series.
When my son was younger (he’s 19 next month) I read aloud to him every single Harry Potter book and anxiously awaited the next one to arrive in the series. We had hours of great fun with it and then watching the movies too when they came out. He was 16 when I read the last to him! LOL Wouldn’t tell his friends that, I’m sure.
And of course, when my daughter was little (in her 30’s now) I read to her all the J.R.R. Tolkien books. We didn’t care for the stupid animated ‘Hobbit’ though. They ruined it.
Tom Clancy? Just found every TC ever published I think in a thrift shop that closes for the summer and I bought every one. I won’t need a hobby for awhile. LOL Looking forward to reading those.
Happy Reading folks!!
Anybody catch the Opus cartoon the other day about him deciding to become a reader!? If I knew how to post a cartoon, I’d put it up. Can somebody do that? I laughed like mad!
For the last two books, my now teenage son was truly to old to lay in bed with Mom and be read to. So I would buy 2 books on opening day, and we would read them at the same time, and discuss them as we went along (he was usually a chapter or two ahead of me, so I would beg him not to spoil it.) After we were both done, I would then donate the extra book to the Public Library, so others could benefit.
My now 17 year old son has already prepurchased his own copy of the book, and plans to line up at midnight to buy it. I will be sleeping comfortably and letting him stand in line to buy us both one!!!!
Harry Potter holds such a dear space in my heart for those close Mom and Son moments that I will remember the rest of my life. The stories aren't that bad either ;>.
So for all of these reasons, Harry Potter gets my vote for the best series ever written!!!!!!
Thanks for the Ping, TS.
Harry Potter is definitely not on my list, long or short. C.S. Lewis is always there, and W. Dale Cramer ranks very highly. Also Jane Smiley, Jan Karon, and, oh, yes, Jane Kirkpatrick are good summer reads, but anything Nicholas Sparks is great any time of the year.
Lately though I’ve been on a nonfiction kick - 1776, by McCullough; Mayflower, Philbrick; Atomic Iran, Corsi; The New World Order, Robertson; and of course, The Reagan Diaries, Reagan.
Must look soon for Land of Lincoln? I think it is titled.
I know what you mean. I hate when things are wide open. That said, I don't mind another visit to a place that I liked. For example, the HP books usually have complete stories in them, even though they are building to the end. (The Goblet of Fire was left a little too much hanging for my tastes, actually.) And the Sue Grafton books are episodic (at least the ones that I read were).
On the other hand, I remember the first NetForce book I picked up. There were characters having a subplot that had absolutely nothing to do with the book at all, but were there because they were in the previous book. That I hate.
One last example I can give:
Kingmakers Sword, by Ann Marston and
The Western King, by Ann Marston
are two great books read by themselves. Unfortunately, they are the first two books of a trilogy in which book three (while okay) was disappointing. And then she made a second trilogy. It ended okay. (I had to finish it although I didn't pay for any of those books.)
Sounds like we had a similar experience with HP and our sons, codercpc! It was a magical, fun time for both of us and I know I’ll always treasure those times that we had together. The books are imaginative, fun, scary and relate so well the maturing of a young boy whose start in life was so very difficult ... as it was for my own son (adopted at age 5 ... rough background and would bring tears to your eyes). So for many reasons, I just love HP!
Glad you found such a delightful connection with your son as well! And yes, as a reading tool? They were great!
Last year, I went to her book signing and I never saw so many diverse people at a signing. Her books are very funny.
For fans of British mysteries, JOHN HARVEY has a character, Charlie Resnick, of whom he has written nine or 10 books. Great series. It is completed now and the books are outaprint but available on Amazon.com under the used books section.
One more “series” that I discovered last year, although they have different characters in each, the same themes are carried throughout these four books— the idea that American businessmen are not all scoundrels and thieves. I highly recommend these four books to anyone who loved Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Rand:
Cash McCall by Cameron Hawley
Executive Suite by Cameron Hawley
The Lincoln Lords by Cameron Hawley
The Hurrican Years by Cameron Hawley
All are available used through Amazon, or on Ebay for pretty cheap. All are very good even though they are set in 40’s/50’s America and thus a little dated. Try the first one CASH MCCALL (also a movie with James Garner that I haven’t seen) and if you like it move on from there. In the same vein Calumet K (one of Rand’s favorite books) is also excellent published at the turn of the century.
For a super read, try Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. Time travel with lots of history--in Scotland, England and especially US early history.
What’s THAT about becoming a READER?
Actually it was NOT all that difficult. :~)
God Bless you for taking in your son, and making him a man. When you can take a troubled boy, and nurture and love him, there is a special place in Heaven for you.
I think, remembering back, those times reading with my son are my favorite memories. When we weren't reading HP, we would read the classics. They have "easy reader" classics out that we loved. The Time Machine, and War of The Worlds were our favorites, and without HP starting that tradition back up, I don't know if he would have gone along with it.
Thank you for saying that. It was a real hard pull at times, let me tell you, but he's turned out very well if I do say so myself. Going to college now. Majoring in music. Plays superb piano. I enjoyed the readings just as much as he. We also got very much into video games together, starting with Super Mario Bros on Nintendo (his occupational therapist suggested it to help with his eye-hand coordination ... must have worked or piano wouldn't be successful today!) No girlfriend yet though, that I know of!
A couple more:
John D. McDonald's 'Travis McGee' series
Ross MacDonald's 'Lew Archer' series
I remember reading his Berserker series.