Book Series...

Discussion in 'Talk of Books' started by BPearson, May 22, 2015.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    I've been meaning to do this for months now and when I read my horoscope this morning it said I should do some writing (something about putting my creative juices to work). Thus I begin with this admission; I'm a book junkie. And so we are clear, not the self-help crap (just kidding, not about reading it, but it being crap), the non-fiction or the biographies that prattle on endlessly about nothing but themselves.

    I love, LOVE a great story teller; writers that can weave words into the fabric of a story and keep me engaged book after book. Writers that develop characters who become my new best friends. Writers who take me on a journey of the mind and paint a picture I can see as vividly as if I were there. Let me tell you, there's several authors out there who can do that.

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of a series is in the hunt. Finding an author who has 10, 20 or even 30 ongoing saga's is like suddenly engaging in a treasure hunt, with the reward being days, weeks and even months of pure pleasure. I've had my best successes in landing almost entire series on EBay and their bulk book lots. When I find a good portion (sometimes even all of them), I grab them, often at bargain prices. I then backfill what I'm missing at the Half Price Book Store at La Rhonde, at thrift stores or on Amazon where I can often buy a used paperback for 1 cent...unfortunately shipping is $3.99.

    I know, I could go to the Library (I do have my card), but I love owning books. I love the feel of them in my hand, knowing I can pick them up and reread them anytime (in this case memory loss helps). Best of all I have and will lend entire series to friends looking for something that will engage them for long periods of time (especially after surgery).

    For the record, I do own a Kindle Fire. I've tried mightily to adapt to reading books on it, but it's just not the same. I know lots of people who only read the online books and magazines, its just not for me.

    My goal here is to share some of the dozen or more series authors who I enjoy the most. Like a good book, I'm in no rush to post them. Hopefully others will share their favorites. The quest for ongoing new authors is tricky, because each of our tastes are different. I've had some suggestions that I had no interest in; others that got me started in an entirely new direction.

    There is a downside to series authors; the writer dies, or they get bored with the trying to keep the characters alive. Reading the final book in a series is almost akin to visiting an old pal in hospice; you know the end is near. You know the funeral is just around the corner and the finality of it is sadness and loss that is tough to take.

    And there-in lie the beauty of this thread, perhaps we can help each other find another new best friend, companions that will guide us down the path of enlightenment, through the trials and tribulations of the written word. Far better their angst than ours eh?

    I'm at book number 20 (the last in the series) of a character I've grown quite fond of. He's on wife number 3, is a recovering alcoholic and his massive friend is a walking time bomb. But enough for now, like all good books, something need be left to the imagination.

    To be continued.
     
  2. aggie

    aggie Member

    I do use my library card and just re-order when I want to read a book again. Some favorites are Michael Crighton, John Sanford, the duo of Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, and a newer series by P.J. Tracy. Not a fan of self help books but do read many non-fictions about nature, science and exploration.

    Just can't make the transition to reading on the iPad or Kindle.
     
  3. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    I guess we are oddities A, I see lots of folks reading their Kindles and Ipad with what looks like nary a care in the world. Though I must say whenever I drive through the Bell parking lot there are tons of folks using that library. When there was talk of the County not paying the lease a year or so back, we looked at the numbers for both that one and Fairway and they were off the charts.

    I love all of Sanford's works. He was a feature column writer for the St Paul Pioneer Press named John Camp, back in my Minnesota days. His Prey series has been ongoing for years now. I really am enjoying his latest Virgil Flowers series, which is an offshoot from the Prey books. His Lucas Davenport character (Prey series) has a house on the Mississippi River Blvd less than a mile from where I grew up. Small world eh?

    Just curious, how many of you have heard of James Lee Burke? I'm on book 20 of his Dave Robicheaux series and have grown to really enjoy his writing style. His use of words is quite spectacular. Because the stories are so good I often find myself racing ahead and have to stop myself from missing the beauty of what he has written. He's very graphic and I suspect not for everyone's tastes.

    You may recognize the Robicheaux name because it was made into a movie starring one of the Baldwin brothers (maybe Alex). He plays a washed up New Orleans's police officer who sobers up and goes to work in the smaller New Iberia police department. He's also got 2 other shorter series but I haven't read them. If I start feeling a Burke fix, I may well pick them up.

    Anyone looking for a summer of reading, let me know and I'd be happy to let you borrow the lot of them.
     
  4. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    I don't own, nor do I plan to own, a Kindle. I don't have an Ipad either. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I do like to read financial articles and news items on my phone, which now explains the neck pain.

    I don't even like sitting at my laptop reading a downloaded pdf. I want hard copy that I can underline, highlight in yellow and dog-ear the pages. I read articles on medical coding (once a week) and skim two monthly magazines on the same.

    I think the last series of books that I read was Little House on the Prairie many years ago. I look forward to someday being able to read fiction and not feeling guilty about it, lol. I can't see myself ever getting into Vampire or Zombie series novels. I started reading The Hobbit many years ago and I just couldn't stand it. Someone told me I gave up too soon.

    Looking at my reading pile here I have the following, none of which have been read in their entirety:

    Step by Step Excel 2010
    A History of the United States
    The Fred Factor
    Jubilee
     
  5. pegmih

    pegmih Active Member

    Every 2 weeks I order about 8 books from Bell Library.
    They email me when books are in and let me know when they are due.
    I have a file with author and their books. When I have read one, I cross it off.
    It's a very big file!
    Recently I am enjoying fiction books about Australia.
    I like hearing about authors that I have not read.

    My daughter-in-law gave me a Kindle. I didn't like it.
    Much prefer to sit with a book. BTW. I get large print books.
     
  6. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    I have a bunch of Alaska tour/cruise material and a Frommer's book on the coffee table. It's on the bucket list.
     
  7. aggie

    aggie Member

    Current read is Mary Stewart's "Merlin Trilogy" which is 919 pages of rather small print. I did buy the book as I knew it would take longer than it would allow on library renewals. I read other library items as they come in and donate any purchased books back to the Friends of the Library.
     
  8. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Whenever I see other people's list of books to read, I always feel a touch of guilt (must be that Catholic thing eh?). You guys read stuff I wouldn't begin to even pick up. I'm stuck on the story tellers whose works of fiction are far more predictable and way easier to read. I never want to have to work/think too hard when reading. I want to take a trip of the mind by men and women who lead me along a very simple path.

    I hate authors, who in the first 3 chapters, introduce me to 25 new characters. You know the ones, where you have to go back and reread just to try and keep people straight.

    I've read series for years now, but was never a collector till I came across one of my favorites. The oddity was it was a series that started in 1964, and it looked like some of the old paperbacks my grandfather read. The Deep Blue Good-by introduced me to a writer who was a master craftsman with words. Saying he was a wordsmith would not do him justice. The beauty of his writing was in how he took the time to develop a story.

    Today, authors like Patterson (who I read a lot of) and others, kill 10 people in the first 20 pages. John D. MacDonald was a lot like watching a slow moving river idle lazily by. There was no rush to get to the meat, his words were carefully chosen to take you on a journey and relish it every step of the way. There's 20 some books in the series and I was in pig heaven when I found all of them. He died in the mid 90's and when I read his last, I was in mourning for months (just kidding).

    Travis McGee was his main character and lived on a houseboat, aptly named the Busted Flush he won in a card game. It was in docked in Florida which provided an awesome backdrop for his antics. He was a "recovery specialist," helping people who had been screwed by unscrupulous creeps and if he got back their money/property, he got half of it. He was the precursor of all kinds of characters similar in nature.

    Again, anyone wanting a summer of great reading, let me know and you are more than welcome to borrow them.
     
  9. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Clearly this thread is for those with too much time on their hands (said with a smile). For the handful of us who love to read, or even those who like to write (me), I'll continue till I'm bored with it all.

    Here's a curve ball for you all: While my tastes tend to fall toward male authors with predominantly macho male characters, here's a couple that may surprise you. I really enjoyed the Janet Evanovich series with Stephanie Plum. She's a female bounty hunter from New Jersey and the story lines are just plain fun to read. The series starts with One For The Money and is now up to like 19 or so. I have all or most for anyone interested.

    Another fave female author is Sue Grafton. Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in California and she has been working through the alphabet series for so long I don't have most of those early books. The great news is I just saw X is now out (or coming out soon). Again, fun reading with some interesting twists along the way.

    There's way more but that's for another day.

    Another fave female is Sue Grafton and Kinsey Millhone series.Unfortuantely this series
     
  10. aggie

    aggie Member

    Because you are MN folk you may want to try the 6 book series by P.J. Tracy which are set in MN. It's called the Monkeewrench (6 books) series and quite good reading with an interesting cast of characters. Its a mix of mystery, crime and cyber-crime.
     
  11. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Way cool aggie, thanks. I just bought all 6 of the series on line. Once I get around to them, I'll give them a review. Reminds me of the Kidd series by John Sanford.
     
  12. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    Yeah, I think the Catholic guilt thing lingers throughout life, lol. I think what happened with me with the Hobbit (and other books like that), is too many characters, too many worlds, etc. Reading for enjoyment shouldn't be that hard.

    DH read a lot of Stephen King. He likes crime stuff. Our insurance agent just lent him this book yesterday to read entitled "Hit List" An in-depth investigation into mysterious deaths of witnesses to the JFK assassination, by Richard Belzer and David Wayne.

    We also have hardcover books - The History of Baseball and The Civil War on the coffee table - books that he purchased at "estate" sales.
     
  13. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Don't even get me started about table top books. When we moved from Minnesota we felt compelled to drag them along. The thing is, who wants table top books sitting collecting dust on your table top? Worse yet, the damn things are so big they don't fit in normal book shelves and they're too nice to sell for a dollar in a garage sale. I believe tt books were devised as a way to drive us nuts.

    True story; we had a renter for 3 years from Squim Washington. He worked in Las Vegas in the 60's at the Sands and was the head bell captain. His stories about the Rat Pack were legendary. He had photo's autographed to him by everyone of the gang. Sinatra was the classic because he wouldn't sign anything. He loved biographies and started reading Mafia stories while he was here. He knew some of the later characters from Vegas and the early stuff was always an interesting read for him.

    Rather than haul them all back home, he left me a dozen or so. I read the first couple and thought, not bad. By the fourth I was ready to pull out what little hair I had left. The names all sounded the same (no offense to my Italian friends) and the story lines were even more duplicitous. The good news is when we had one of our first garage sales they went quickly.

    Let me just say, garage sales are a great way to enhance your reading list. I used to ride my no-speed bike around and always wore a backpack. If I stopped at a garage sale or an estate sale they invariably have books for sale. Expect to pay a buck for a hardcover and a half a dollar for a paperback...except on the last day of the sale, half price or sometimes less. Just know most of the good books will be gone by then.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  14. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    We dragged a lot of unnecessary "might use it someday" stuff across the country in a 19 foot van. It is still a sore spot. I could have clicked a small U-Haul onto the back of my car with all my stuff, put the critters in the back seat, and that would have been it.

    What I am going to do with two old outboard motors when I don't even own a boat anymore? Some of those Mafia books made their way here too. I have an entire hall closet filled with hunting/fishing jackets. And another hall filled with old albums, model car kits that were halfway completed, men's jackets that haven't been worn since 1985, and bowling trophies from 1979.

    I like garage and estate sales, but don't go to as many as I did last year. I am more inclined to stop at open houses now.
     
  15. aggie

    aggie Member

    After a relative of a friend of ours passed away I was given the huge paperback collection of books by Lee Child, Jonathan Kellerman and Harlen Corben. The deceased apparently belonged to a Book of the Month Club and had hundreds of unread/unopened books. I take a few paperbacks on vacations and then give them away. This way I don't have to worry about losing a valuable hardcover or library book. Works out great. One of the places we stay has a lending library at the resort and they really appreciate the donations.
     
  16. pegmih

    pegmih Active Member

    I just finished Baeve Binchy's last book (c 2014).
    Don't waste your time.
    This is a collection of different stories (c 2006 thru 2010).
     
  17. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Love Lee Childs and for anyone that hasn't read the Jack Reacher series, it's an absolute must. Ignore the fact that Tom Cruise played the Reacher part in the last movie; Jack in the books is 6 ft 4 and 220-240 lbs and Tom is just a tad less :tongue-new:. The movie wasn't bad, but like most conversions from book to movie...it falls far short.

    There's another name aggie brought up that even I was stunned I liked/loved. Harlan Coben did a 12 book series on a sports agent named Myron Bolitar. I thought the premise was nonsense. I read the first book in the series, more because my book list was slight and I'll be darned if it didn't draw me straight in. I immediately found the other 11 and have given the series to a number of friends who found them every bit as entertaining as I did.

    I can't pass this comment up either aggie: If we (the RCSC) had bought the Lakes Club, I had envisioned a reading room next to the coffee shop where we could bring our used books for other residents to enjoy. But alas, we know how that turned out eh?

    Someday Emily we need start a thread on how dumb we are when we move here and all the junk we haul down. Anybody need winter coats? How about 50 really awesome ties? Geez!
     
  18. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Another author who caught be by surprise was Steve Martini. His character, Paul Madriani was an attorney practicing out of Southern CA and there were a dozen books in the series that provided countless hours of enjoyable reading. Much to my delight, he just came out with his latest The Enemy Inside after a 4 year absence> Haven't cracked it yet but I'm looking forward to hooking up with my old friend Paul.

    Is that sick or what?
     
  19. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Just finished off the last of the Burke/Robicheaux series (dang they were good). I have in hand the 6 P.J. Tracy books aggie recommended, but i had to take a break from the series and read perhaps my favorite author of all time's latest.

    Nelson DeMille just released Radiant Angel, where he returns with John Corey to battle Russian terrorists. I love his work, absolutely love it. His books are steeped in history yet takes literaray license to weave his stoies into it.

    Anyon else out there who's read DeMille? If not, pick one up and you'll be searching for more.
     
  20. pegmih

    pegmih Active Member

    If you read a lot of library books, you might consider joining the Book Reading Club sponsored by Bell Library & other Maricopa County libraries.

    I read 3 books for a total of 4 hours which equaled 240 hours each.
    Yesterday I got a gift card for Chipotle for buy one get one free.

    Now I have to find a Chiptole near Sun City. Where is one?
     

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