Sunday Salon: Reading a Series

As I’m in the middle of one of the latest Sookie Stackhouse books (number 10, to be exact) I started thinking today about reading books in a series.  If our reading habits start early, then this started for me with some of my earliest reading memories.  As a kid, my favorite books were the Little House books, Nancy Drew, and the Babysitters’ Club–all series.  Sure, I read plenty of individual titles, too, but there’s something about reading series books that is just so comforting.  You don’t have to leave beloved characters once the book is over, knowing there is another coming after, and you get to see how conflicts and resolutions play out on a long-term scale.  If you really loved one book, you can assume that what’s coming next will be good, too.

Of course, this doesn’t always hold true in reality. Sometimes series books can be a huge disappointment, as characters go off in directions that we, as the reader, feel they were never meant to go. Sometimes the writing can suffer, as authors hurry and try to pacify fans hungry for the next installment. And othertimes I get the feeling that the writer is just…DONE…and yet for one reason or another keeps it going long after the best moments of the series have passed.

Luckily, there are plenty of great series out there for us adults as well, ones that never disappoint.  Below are some of my very favorites, and please feel free to add in some of your own in the comments–I love a good series!

My favorites:

Diana Norman/Ariana Franklin – Makepeace Hedley trilogy, Mistress of the Art of Death series (unfortunately finished now as Ms. Norman passed away last year).  Both series are historical fiction, the first taking place during the early period of the American Revolution and following the life of a completely fascinating female heroine.  The second series is also mystery, and it centers around a woman who is the first female ‘death investigator’ during medieval times.

Sara Donati/Rosina Lippi – Into the Wilderness series. Under her pen name of Sara Donati, Rosina Lippi writes a historical fiction series about the Bonner family of upstate New York in the later part of the 18th century.  In a very loose way it picks up on characters from The Last of the Mohicans.

Alexander McCall Smith – I like all his series books, but my favorite is the 44 Scotland Street series, which are vignettes in the lives of characters living in modern day Edinburgh.  The books were originally published as a weekly column in a Scottish newspaper.

Kelley Armstrong – Otherworld and Nadia Stafford series (the latter for which she has only written two books, probably due to the popularity of the first.  Too bad, because they are my favorite things by her!).  Most people know the Otherworld books, but the Nadia Stafford ones are about a female assassin.

Kate Atkinson – Jackson Brodie series.  An offbeat detective series about a very unlucky detective. I love how Atkinson makes unlikely connections between characters and situations in a very Dickensesque way.  These books are a great combination of drama and comedy.

Deanna Raybourn – Lady Julia series.  A Victorian mystery series with a husband and wife investigative team.

Of course, there are plenty of others I could mention, but these are my favorites from recent years, books I thoroughly enjoyed and I hope you will, too.


3 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Reading a Series

  1. Becca

    I’ve always enjoyed series books, too. Most of those you mentioned were new to me, so I’ll have to check them out. Except for Alexander McCall Smith..I enjoy the 44 Scotland St and the Isabel Dalhousie series.

    I’ve just started reading Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries set in a small town in Quebec. I’m loving those.

  2. Beth Post author

    I love the Isabel Dalhousie books, too. Haven’t heard of Louise Penny, so I’ll have to check those out as well. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Marg

    When Kelley Armstrong came to Australia last year she was talking about the Nadia Stafford series. She said that whilst it was unlikely that a third book would get published through a traditional publisher, she was working towards self publishing it, so that series may not in fact be over. I would jump at the chance to read a third book!


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