Nothing reminds me more of wintery days than finding a series of books, and doing some old fashioned binge reading. My childhood was full of these week to month long jumps into the alternate realities that were created by authors like J. R. R. Tolkien, Anthony Horowitz, Christopher Paolini, Jude Watson, and A. J. Butcher, among many others, where I would get so wrapped up in the series that I would stay up until all hours of the night reading under my bed covers by the light of a tiny flashlight (sorry mom and dad).
Yes, nowadays it is easy to cruise right through some random TV show like Parks and Recreation, the Witcher, the Mandalorian, or countless other shows but sometimes the greatest memories are being wrapped up in a world created by an author and illustrated by your own imagination and interpretation. I am not saying that you need to turn off your TV for good or cut the cord, because I too find many shows that have recently come out to be captivating. Rather, I ask to step out of your box and try something new. 2020 has been a whirlwind of events and sometimes all it takes to relieve some stress, or to get a brief respite, is to dive into an alternative world. Here are some recommendations to try out that can be found on or shelves here at KDL or through the MELCat system!
- Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell
- This series hits the top of my list in 2020 because the final book just came out this November and just hit the KDL shelves. Centered on the rising of England and the Viking invasions in the 9th and 10th centuries, Bernard Cornwell uses fictional characters intermixed with historical ones to give a vivid tapestry as to how England was formed. These books are for fans of historical fiction, Vikings, political plots, revenge, and redemption. The first book is titled The Last Kingdom.
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
- My go to binging book series will always be diving back into Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. With expansive world building and tales of good and evil, magic, adventure, and destiny, The Lord of the Rings, and many of the other Middle-Earth works by Tolkien, stand the test of time. If you haven’t had a chance to explore the rest of the Middle-Earth tales, I highly recommend reading some of them as they deepen the knowledge of Middle-Earth and can make readers appreciate more the effort the Tolkien put into making a whole world in his literary works.
- Works of Anthony Horowitz
- I grew up reading all of the fascinating adventures of Alex Rider the teenager turned spy. Mr. Horowitz is still working on new adventures for Alex but he has also branched out into the realm of murder mysteries and thrillers. Having been acknowledge as the only writer to be the sanctioned successor to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his writings on Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle’s estate, Horowitz has written two Sherlock novels since as well as adding four other murder mysteries of his own that are not associated with the Holmes novels. (Insert link to Horowitz’s adult novels). In addition, the Ian Fleming estate has commissioned Horowitz to write two new James Bond novels so there is plenty to read from him if you have any desire to dive into the worlds of espionage and mystery.
J. D. Robb's In Death series
- I have not personally read every book in this series (52 to date!) but the ones that I have been able to enjoy have been quite excellent. Under the pseudonym J.D. Robb, Nora Roberts dove into the mystery genre and found great success in the tales of Eve Dallas, the cop with a dark past. With each book, a little more is revealed about Eve and she has become a renowned character in the world of mystery novels.
There are several other series that I would recommend reading that you can find in our collection.
- The Broken Earth Series by N. K. Jemisin
- The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
- Kingsbridge Series by Ken Follett
- Shades of Magic Series by V. E. Schwab
- Dune Series by Frank Herbert
If none of these appeal to you, I would also suggest looking into the site NoveList Plus that will give you some ideas of what you may like to read next based on what you have read recently.
Happy Holidays KDL patrons. Stay safe and read on!
By Jake Ryan, Kentwood Branch