Every once in a while instead of reading the frankly appalling number of new, never-been-read books in the pile next to my bed, I instead just start re-reading books. I’m not even sure why this comes over me; I just get the urge to read something well worn and comforting. These books are often “candy” books, in that they are light east reads that aren’t taxing and I can read in a couple of days. Maybe I just need a break? Who knows. The point is that I’ve abandoned my To Be Read pile in favor of these favorites.
(warning this will be a long post!)
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I love these books. They are full of interesting people, monsters, and wizards. here is the description from the first book:
“Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.”
Harry is a fantastic protagonist and his adventures (or rather misadventures a lot of the time) are crazy and awesome and frequently touching as the series goes along. 14 books are currently out with a 15th coming soon, and the amount of forward momentum that has been maintained in these books is remarkable. Occasionally I will wonder if I could ever be a professional writer but then I look at writers who have written these extensively detailed worlds where the people and places and motivations stay consistent and believable throughout a long series and just go “nope”.
It is the opinion of some people that the first few books in this series are kinda rough around the edges. I agree that they are obviously the early works of Jim Butcher, and they are mostly self-contained. However, I always liked them. Plus things that happen in these books have repercussions in later books and it just blows my mind sometimes how well connected and plotted out this series has become.
I recommend these books to everyone I know.
The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
My dad bought these books for me when I was in middle school and I’ve never looked back. They have been a source of joy for me ever since. I picked up The Hobbit randomly in the 6th grade and couldn’t put it down. I re-read both of these books at least once a year, and will recommend it to everyone I know. I hope that my own kids someday will love it as much as I do!
The story for each of these books is pretty well known: Bilbo, almost against his wishes, runs off and has of all things AN ADVENTURE complete with elves and riches and a dragon. Frodo on the other hand has a darker story in which he must travel to Mount Doom with The One Ring to destroy it. Friends and allies come and go and the action is all over the place.
I always find it hard to write anything interesting about these books that hasn’t been said a million times by similar fans. They are universally well-known, in part because of the excellent (in my opinion) movies made by Peter Jackson. I have loved each of the movies so far, yes even the two Hobbit movies made so far. I am not at all the most objective movie critic, and I recognize the issues people have with the films, yet I just can’t help loving them anyway.
My ongoing love for the books and the world contained inside makes me a ravenous consumer of all things Tolkien. From the main novels, to the supplementary books, to The Silmarillion, to the Tolkien Professor Podcasts, and beyond I devour them all with gusto.
The Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko
This is a series of four (soon to be five, I guess) books all centered around the battles of good vs. evil, darkness vs. light, and first introducing us to Anton the “main” character in most of these books. I find these books very interesting, and I think they are pretty well translated from their original Russian.
I put the word “main” in quotes in the last paragraph because although Anton is our gateway into the world of the light and dark “others” that wander around plotting and scheming in these books, the author also takes us into several other characters lives and trials. The structure of these books is odd to me and I can’t even really articulate why exactly, but I like it and it doesn’t detract from the story at all. Overall, a super interesting take on the struggle between light and dark.
The Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde
What’s that? A series of books in which the main character jumps in and out of novels solving crimes of a literature nature? SIGN ME UP!
very Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide”
I LOVE THESE BOOKS. I know I’ve said that quite a bit in this review, but these books were tailor-made for me I swear. I love any of these alternate reality style books, and these ones have the awesome twist of being books about mystery solving people who can jump into books! Just the best.