Reading book series’ is something I am still relatively new to but I have been thoroughly enjoying. Especially by reading the novels back-to-back (you can see some of the series I have read and reviewed here). It helps that there are no shortage of literary series in addition to the more popular science-fiction, fantasy, crime, etc, genres. I am someone who needs that sense of completion when I start something, so there are some series I have strong reservations about. I don’t see myself entering Discworld (41 books) or The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency (17 books) no matter how popular. Or maybe I don’t find them interesting enough because there are some other long series I may find myself embroiled in. What follows is a list of ten series I will be reading. How do I know I will read them? I already own them!
1 Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I have just started a series – The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh. I bought the first novel, Sea of Poppies, many years ago and was desperately keen to start reading it immediately until I realised it was to be a trilogy. So I held off my enthusiasm for years until the sequels were published. Buying books before the series was completely published meant I ended up with mismatched book cover designs which vexed me greatly.
It is a similar story with Mantel’s Wolf Hall series. I bought the first novel soon after it won the Booker Prize but I am holding off my strong desire to read it until the trilogy is complete so that I may read them together. The third novel, The Mirror and the Light, is expected this year I believe.
2 The Passage by Justin Cronin
Normally I am no fan of vampire or zombie dystopia, especially since so much of it is reliably described as poorly written. There are, of course, some well-written exceptions and I am hoping The Passage series is one of them.
3 The African Trilogy by Chinua Achebe
These three novels are pretty short and pretty essential reading so I hope I will find some time for them soon.
4 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
This was first published in Japanese in three separate volumes, but is usually available in English as a single volume. So is it a trilogy or isn’t it?
5 Jeeves and Wooster by PG Wodehouse
Fourteen books comprise the Jeeves and Wooster series by PG Wodehouse but they are relatively short. If they are as exceptional as everyone says, I may find myself reading a lot more Wodehouse.
6 The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
I was always going to read The Ghost Road by Pat Barker for the simple reason that it won the Booker Prize but wasn’t sure if I wanted the whole trilogy. When it became available in a single volume I decided I would just go for it.
7 A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
A friend of mine was a fan of this series from the appearance of the first books. I decided to wait until the series was complete and last year, as a sort of Christmas present to myself, I bought the whole set.
8 Harry Potter by JK Rowling
That’s right. I still have not read Harry Potter, nor seen any of the films. It’s not that I think I wouldn’t like it, I’m pretty sure I would love it. I’m just really allergic to hype and when everyone is raving about something I want to run a million miles away. There has never been any let up to the fanaticism and it shows no sign of dying. Even the new 20th anniversary editions are now dominating book store windows. My wife bought and read the series when it first came out, mostly in first editions, so I now have easy access and few excuses to not read it.
9 Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood
I like Atwood but I have never felt enthusiastic about this trilogy. I’m not exactly sure why. Partly because of my addictive purchasing and my wife’s slightly greater enthusiasm for the series, we have ended up with the whole series on our shelves. Even the fact that the cover designs are all over the place doesn’t bother me this time. It is just a matter of reading them.
10 The O Trilogy by Maurice Gee
I bought this recently on my last trip to New Zealand. It came about partly because of my desire to read more NZ fiction, partly from hearing Eleanor Catton talk about it as an early influence. It is also a pretty short series so I may try and read it soon.
I have deliberately excluded from this list the series I am planning to read next. Don’t want to spoil my 2018 Reading List!
I left off I, Claudius and Claudius the God – two books don’t make a series do they? I also left off The Lord of the Rings, since it was written as one book.
The above list isn’t even all of the series I have on my shelves to read. But are there any others I might be interested in?
I do have Magician by Raymond E Feist, but I will wait to see how I find that before reading more of the Riftwar Saga.
I heard great things about The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss when it was first published. I thought I’d wait to see how the rest of The Kingkiller Chronicle was received, but it’s been ten years since The Name of the Wind and we are still waiting.
Similar to Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy, I bought JG Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur because it is a Booker Prize winner, but am unsure if I want to read the others of his Empire Trilogy. Then there’s William Golding’s Rites of Passage – also a Booker winner, also part of a series. Can it be read as a stand-alone book?
I enjoyed reading Dune a great deal and I think I want to read more of that series, but I’m not giving it a high priority at the moment.
Then there’s A Song of Ice and Fire. I’m loving the Game of Thrones TV series and I think I do want to read the novels but they seem to be a long way from being finished and I have a lot of reading to do before I will make that commitment, so I am going to try and avoid it for as long as I can.
As I said, last year I bought A Series of Unfortunate Events as a sort of Christmas present to myself. I’m tempted to repeat that this Christmas with another series – one I have not mentioned here. I wonder what that could be?