What’s That one Series of Books you Won’t Forget?

In short, what’s your favorite series of books? Now I know this is not an easy question for any bibliophile out there to just answer without any thought. It isn’t for me, but hopefully by the time I reach the end of this post I’ll have an answer for you guys.

Let me first begin by listing some of the series that I read.

Spenser. Harry Bosch. Hunger Games. Karen Vail. Alex McKnight. Alex Cross. Will Trent. Grant County. Gears of War. Halo. Charlie Hood. Jesse Stone. Jack Reacher. Kinsey Millhone. Merci Rayborn.

As you can see, I read a lot of different series. I have several more on my shelf that I have yet to start. Now, let me see if I can narrow it down a bit. Merci Rayborn and Kinsey Millhone aren’t my favorite. I’ve only read two Jack Reacher novels, though both good, not my absolute favorite series. Charlie Hood is written by one of my favorite authors but isn’t the best series I’ve ever read. Jesse Stone and Spenser are both written by the same author and I’ve read more Spenser books. Will Trent and Grant County merge into one series later. Karen Vail…good but not great. Same goes for Alex McKnight.

That leaves these for me to decide on my favorite: Spenser, Harry Bosch, Hunger Games, Alex Cross, Gears of War, and Halo.

#6 Halo

I’m sure some of you are fans of the video games, but if you haven’t read the books then you absolutely should. It makes the storyline of the games look like nothing. My reasoning for putting this series at number six is because the books are written by several authors, which sometimes makes the Master Chief change from one book to the next. They’re all good books, and a couple of them are truly great. Three of them are ranked in the top fifteen of my list of best books read.

#5 Gears of War

Might as well get the other science fiction series out of the way, right? I have every book of the series and I’ve read all but one. One of these is actually the longest book I’ve ever read at just a couple of pages under 600. Again, I’m sure some of you are fans of the video games, but there is SO much more to the story than the games can possibly offer you. SO MUCH. Karen Traviss has done a phenomenal job writing these books and you definitely see all of the characters in the books exactly as they are in the games. I have one of the books ranked as the eighteenth best book I’ve read, which is very high, but the others fall a little short. Just an overall solid series.

#4 Alex Cross

James Patterson has his critics for the way he writes and publishes, BUT the guy can entertain his readers like no other author I’ve ever read. Sure, his stories are sometimes farfetched and unbelievable, but you only think that AFTER reading the book. His way of writing two-three page chapters keeps you wanting more. He literally has you on the edge of your seat while you read. I believe the Alex Cross series is the only one of his that he writes alone. Four of these books rank in the top nineteen books I’ve ever read. Alex Cross has been adapted to film three times and none of them have matched the quality of the books. This is a series for every reader of crime fiction.

#3 Spenser

This is where I start having to nitpick just to continue the list and not declare a tie. I started the series late (it began all the way back in the 70s). I started the series after having read every available book of the Jesse Stone series a couple of years ago. Suffice it to say that I couldn’t buy the books fast enough. Spenser is a former boxer turned Boston PI. He’s smart, witty, and loves to cook. He has a set of values that you rarely read in detective fiction. He’s always looking to help someone. Always. There isn’t much more for me to tell you. Start the series.

#2 Harry Bosch

Man this is tough. I’m sitting here going through the books of the two remaining series and I can’t come up with anything negative for either one! The Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly was started in the early 90s. We’ve seen him age and adapt in real-time. It’s a wonderful thing to read. He’s a detective working with the LAPD and he takes every homicide victim to heart. Every one. You’d think that they were all family, and it just so happens that one of them was. Bosch is the guy cop shows try to show on screen. He’s the guy who never treats any one case differently than another. He’d solve every case if he could. He provides justice to those who need it most. If for some reason you haven’t started this series and you read crime fiction, then start it.

#1 Hunger Games

AND THE WINNER IS………..Hunger Games! I’m not trying to follow in everyone’s footsteps. I’m not. Yes I know the first two movies have begun a mega-blockbuster series. Yes I know millions of readers have declared their love for the series. Yes I know that there are similar YA series out there that many would argue are better. The thing is that I don’t care. I started this series at the beginning of 2012. I had no expectations because I honestly had no idea what the heck it was. I didn’t have a blog and I was unaware of the hype surrounding the series as the first movie’s release date neared. That first chapter, the one in which Katniss does the unthinkable and volunteers from District 12 to participate in the annual Hunger Games so her sister doesn’t have to, brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps down my arms. What author can accomplish that so early in a book?! The rest of the book flew by as I couldn’t stop reading. The second in the series, Catching Fire, managed to outdo its predecessor. I will admit, though, that the third book wasn’t quite on par with the first two. It was a great book and one couldn’t possibly predict how the series played out, but the other two were unforgettable.

So there you have my list, now tell me which series of books has left its mark on you permanently?

*All of the covers are the first books of their respective series.  By clicking on any cover image you will be redirected to the Amazon product page of each book.*

Never Ask a Reader About Their Favorite Book

Photo Credit: sodahead.com

It seems like a simple enough question when you ask, but can turn into a whirlwind of things for the person who is trying to come up with an answer. Because any person who has read as few as fifty books will likely struggle for an answer. Here’s what would happen to me if asked about my favorite book.

The first thought to enter my head would be the list I keep of my top/ favorite books read. It’s a list in the ballpark of 150 books. I would think of the top five. The top five includes Michael Connelly, Suzanne Collins, T. Jefferson Parker, Marcus Sakey, and Eric Nylund. Three of these authors are crime novelists and two are not. I would think back to each of the books and decide that it’s near impossible to pick any one over another, no matter how I have them ranked.

Then I’d think of my first book. Could that be my favorite? I’ve read it more times than I’ve read any other book. I wrote it. The protagonist is me. Surely it’s at least in the conversation. But does the book stand up against the others I’m thinking of? And how could I forget The Great Gatsby?

Then my Excel spreadsheet of all of the book authors I own would come to mind. I would think about the fact that a handful of authors make up a huge chunk of my reading. My favorite must be written by one of them. Maybe Robert B. Parker or Steve Hamilton? Maybe Robert Crais or James Patterson?

Then all of the series I read would jump into the equation. Katniss Everdeen is one of my favorite literary characters ever. And Alex Cross. And Spenser. And Elvis Cole. And Karen Vail.

And finally, with my head spinning in circles, I would accept the fact that it’s impossible to pick a single favorite. All while the person asking the question was simply trying to make small talk by asking in the first place.

BUT if you had to pick one favorite book that you’ve read, what would it be?