Series for the Summer 2014

Series for the Summer 2014

When did summer become the best season for entertainment?

Certainly, we can point to Jaws (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) in 1975 for redefining summer movies.

Television…in the summer?

You bet!

Some of the real “event TV” happens during the summer now…it’s no longer just re-runs while kids hypothetically play…what’s that called again? Oh, yeah, “outside”. 😉 This summer includes Under the Dome, Extant, True Blood, and…um…Sharknado 2!

What about books?

Well, there are traditionally the “beach reads”, but typically, you can run through one of those pretty quickly…that’s hardly a whole season’s worth.

What I thought I’d do in this post is propose some series you could read.

Our now adult kid always created their own “project” for the summer, and that makes some sense to me. Whether you are actually on a different schedule or not, summer (however you define it) does seem to feel different.

For many people, including movie theatres, summer starts with the Memorial Day weekend and ends with the Labor Day weekend.

Let’s make this easy and call it twelve weeks.

At first, I wanted to just include series here that were “finished”, so you could feel a sense of accomplishment…but “over” isn’t really over any more. Oh, you could try and define it as just by the original author, and that might work…but even ignoring fanfic (unauthorized fan written fiction) and Kindle Worlds (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), there can always be official books added to a series (until it falls into the public domain, where pretty much nothing is official).

I also won’t tell you that some of these series don’t get worse as you go along. 😉 For me, it’s more about spending the summer in a different world, with a different set of people to know…and hey, if you’ve ever spent a summer with a group, you know that doesn’t always go smoothly the whole time. 😉

I also debated a bit with myself over whether to favor omnibus editions (several books in one purchase) or individual titles. Certainly, omnibuses are easier to buy, and on a Kindle, no harder to carry with you than an individual book.  However, some people may balk at paying $50 at once, rather than, say, $8…and it’s a bit harder to navigate and annotate an omnibus. Another big advantage for the omnibus, as far as I’m concerned, is that they may not block text-to-speech access when at least some of the individual titles do. I suspect that’s because the individual e-book may be seen as a sales threat to the audiobook (although my guess has always been that that isn’t true)…and the omnibus typically doesn’t also have an audiobook edition (can you imagine the file size of a six book audiobook?).

What I decided to do is link to the omnibus, where available. One reason for that? Getting a sample of an omnibus gets you a lot more…in some cases, it might even get you the entire first book for free. From there, you might feel obligated to buy the book…but you’ll certainly have a better sense of whether or not you want to devote your summer to this series. Some of these books also have a “series page” at Amazon, and I may also link to that.

Oh, that’s a good point! There’s no reason you can’t be reading more than the series in the next few months, although I know a lot of you get very linear like that. I like to skip around, reading many books at the same time, although I did read three and a half novels of a single series in one day once (that’s my record). 🙂

Here are a few suggestions:

The Dresden Files
by Jim Butcher
2000 – Present
15 novels to date: other material includes a TV series, short stories, graphic novels, audiobooks (often read by James Marsters), and a role-playing game
First book: 4.2 out of five stars, 1,077 customer reviews
Most recent book: 4.9 stars, 195 reviews

The Dresden Files Book Series page at Amazon (at AmazonSmile)

The Dresden Files Collection 1-6 (at AmazonSmile)

Series novels (in order):

  1. Storm Front
  2. Fool Moon
  3. Grave Peril
  4. Summer Knight
  5. Death Masks
  6. Blood Rites
  7. Dead Beat
  8. Proven Guilty
  9. White Night
  10. Small Favor
  11. Turn Coat
  12. Changes
  13. Ghost Story
  14. Cold Days
  15. Skin Game

Harry Dresden is a wizard. Not the pointy-hatted, white horse riding kind, but the driving a beat-up Volkswagen, looking for the next paycheck, late on the rent in Chicago kind. Harry is charmingly self-deprecating…and the criticism isn’t all undeserved (although the magic is real, and can be impressive).The books are funny and well-written, and importantly (although you wouldn’t want to say it to Harry’s face) Harry is noble.

by Diana Gabaldon
1991 – Present
7 novels to date with another one due out in June: other material includes a Starz TV series set to debut on August 9
First book: 4.4 stars, 4,112 reviews
Most recent book: 4.1 stars, 1,316 reviews

Outlander Book Series page at Amazon (at AmazonSmile)

The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle (at AmazonSmile)

Series novels (in order):

  1. Outlander
  2. Dragonfly in Amber
  3. Voyager
  4. Drums of Autumn
  5. The Fiery Cross
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  7. An Echo in the Bone
  8. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (due June 10)

These are time travelling historical romances…after the success of these, I’m guessing that your local brick-and-mortar bookstore may have a shelf labeled that. 😉 This may be a buzzy TV series, so you might want to read them before that.

Tom Sawyer series
Mark Twain
1876 – 1896
Four books: other material includes myriad adaptations
First book: 4.2 stars, 507 reviews
Most recent book: 4.2 stars, 31 reviews

Tom Sawyer series page at Amazon (at AmazonSmile)

The Complete Series of Tom Sawyer: Classic Annotated and Illustrated Edition (at AmazonSmile)

Series books (in order):

  1. Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Tom Sawyer Abroad
  4. Tom Sawyer, Detective

While you certainly might have read two of these, I’m guessing most of you haven’t read all four of them recently.

I picked an omnibus that was inexpensive ($2.99), but seems decent…for one thing, it includes the original illustrations (at least, from what I’ve seen in the sample), and has additional materials. It’s worth noting that you can get each of these for free legally, but an omnibus can be convenient.

There are three possibilities…there are so many other possibilities, I think I’ll let you suggest them in your comments. 🙂

What do you think? Do you read different books in the summer? Have you ever set yourself a summer reading goal? What are your favorite book series? What’s the most books you’ve read in a series (for me, it’s the 181 original Doc Savage “adventures”…although I’ve read other Doc novels, too)? How do you define a “book series”? Do you always read them in order? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Additional note: I have a personal commitment going on that may slow down my response to your comments. It should not prevent me from posting, though.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


2 Responses to “Series for the Summer 2014”

  1. Amy Says:

    So many series to recommend. How about mysteries? John Harvey? A friend loves the Michael Connelly Harry Bosch series

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Amy!

      Sure, lots of great series! Mysteries particularly lend themselves to the series format, and I’ve read many. 🙂 Never any of those, though, although I watched the Amazon pilot…

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