Friday, April 4, 2014

A Novel Idea: Favorite Series To Read

So the last post in the "These are a Few of my Favorite Things" was about beauty products, and things to keep you pretty on the outside.  This post is about my favorite fiction series of books, so it's more to feed your mind.  As I was thinking about what my favorite books were and looking up images for them, I came to realize that the books that have stuck with me the longest were all a little on the dark side, they're magical, they embrace the unknown and run with it. Vampires, dragons, magic, dystopian societies, post-apocalyptic worlds, or worlds similar and possibly parallel to ours it what brings me in, and brings me back.  

For your convenience I've linked the author's pages in each section. Also there aren't too many spoilers, this post is more about how the books made me feel than their actual content. 

The first on my list would have the be the one that started it all, the series that I have read so many times I've had to replace some of the paperbacks over and over because I'd read them until the binding fell apart.  Now I have a few on my kindle fire, so hopefully I never have to worry about pages falling out again.  This would be the Vampire Chronicles, by Anne Rice.  I started reading Interview With The Vampire in 1994, a full eighteen years after it was published, when I was in the 7th grade.  I was so drawn to it, to Louis and Lestat and the world Rice created.  I devoured her books about the vampires as soon as I could get my hands on them, and replaced them when they were inevitably destroyed from being read so many times.  It lead me to reading her novels about the Mayfair Witches, and the Wolf Men of Mendocino County.  When I went to New Orleans the year I turned 31, I stood outside the houses that her stories took place in, and the pieces all fit together in my mind.  She made her world real to me, and it's always going to be in my mind and heart.

The next series is one I picked up in college. Stephen King's The Dark Tower. I love how so many of King's stories are interwoven with each other without necessarily being part of the same series.  The first Stephen King novel I picked up was The Stand which wasn't really part of this series, but it wasn't not part of it either, they share a common villain.  Anyway after reading it, I was sucked into his universe and had heard great things about this series.  I'll admit the first time through it, I had a hard time with The Gunslinger it was the shortest of the series, and the hardest for me to get into. By the time I finished the series, I was so disappointed that the world of Roland Deschain had come to an end.  I wanted them to go on forever... and if you've read all the way to the end of the series, you'll see how they kind of do. I've often tried to cast this series as a movie... and I just don't think Hollywood could truly do it justice. After all, look what they did to The Stand.

Believe it or not, but the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is another one that I picked up in college.  The Sorcerer's Stone was required reading in a Humanities class I took my sophomore year.  It truly is a coming of age, it just also happens to include magic, dragons, wizards, trolls, ghosts, and so much more. By the time I finished this series I felt like I had attended Hogwarts myself (10 points for Griffindor!), and that Harry, Hermione, and Ron were my friends.  I cried when they lost loved ones, and I cheered for their victories.  I skipped class on opening day in the theaters for the movies (and now proudly own not only the most of the book series, but also the entire DVD collection).

Suzanne Collins, and The Hunger Games took dystopia to a new extreme... and once again had me turning the pages in Young Adult fiction.  Even though the majority of the characters (likable ones anyway) are teenagers, you can empathize with them, their desperation, and their will to survive against all odds.  This isn't a heartwarming tale by any means, but it teaches about real love, real sacrifice, and the lengths people are willing to go to fight for what they believe in.

Back to the vamps and Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mysteries: Sookie Stackhouse novels.  These are the books that the HBO series True Blood is very loosely based on.  These are much campier than Rice's series, and honestly, not as well written, THAT BEING SAID, they're so entertaining. After the first season on HBO the show took an extreme left turn and pretty much left most of the stuff from the books to fill in background stuff, but the major portions of the story lines have been changed. I love the relationships between the characters in the books, they're so much better than in the show, and you'll get to meet characters that have yet to make an appearance on the cable network. I don't think these novels are going to win and major literary awards, but they're great for wasting away a rainy day.

Bonus, Patrick Rofthfuss' The Name of the Wind.  This is an amazing book, and it does have a sequel, but I haven't read it yet, I just finished this one a couple days ago.  It has a similar vibe to The Dark Tower with a little bit of Aladdin thrown in.  There's action, adventure, attempts at romance, and even a dragon. This was another book that I was sad to see end, but I look forward to reading the next one (which I just purchased for my kindle while I was mid sentence here).  

So... what are your favorite books?  If the weather doesn't change much, it looks like we're going to have a few rainy days to fill.