8 Completed Series for Fantasy Fans to Devour

by Hayley, January 29, 2018, first appearing on Goodreads Blog

Fantasy fans are patient—not by nature, but by necessity. Coming of age in libraries full of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ books left them hungry for more, greedy for magical adventure and emotionally satisfying conclusions. Many of them having been learning to live without the latter for a very long time.

Take George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book, A Game of Thrones, was published in 1996. Over two decades and one HBO show later, the final two books in the series are severely overdue with no confirmed release date in sight. Meanwhile, fans of Patrick Rothfuss’ 2007 fantasy bestseller, The Name of the Wind, waited four years for the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear, and have now been waiting seven years for the conclusion to the trilogy.

It’s rough. For those of you who want your epics without accompanying “sequel angst,” check out our roundup of highly rated, completed fantasy series. (It’s by no means an exhaustive list, so please recommend your favorites in the comments!)

 

The Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Start the series with The Eye of the World

Total books: 14

 

Farseer Trilogy

Robin Hobb

Start the series with Assassin’s Apprentice

Total books: 3 (plus additional series set in the same world)

 

The First Law

Joe Abercrombie

Start the series with The Blade Itself

Total book: 3

 

Mistborn

Brandon Sanderson

Start the series with The Final Empire

Total books: 3 (plus 4 additional books set 300 years later)

 

The Broken Earth

N.K. Jemisin

Start the series with The Fifth Season

Total books: 3

 

The Malazan Book of the Fallen

Steven Erikson

Start the series with Gardens of the Moon

Total books: 10

 

The Riyria Revelations

Michael J. Sullivan

Start the series with Theft of Swords

Total books: 3 (originally published as 6 books)

 

Powder Mage

Brian McClellan

Start the series with Promise of Blood

Total books: 3

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Our 25 Favorite Opening Lines in Literature

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

The opening line of a story is a tricky business. They are an author’s opportunity to introduce the reader to the world being crafted, but more importantly, a chance to invite the reader in. The opening line is the moment when a writer says to the reader, “Come a little closer. Listen. This is something you’re going to want to hear.” That’s a tough thing to get right, and while it isn’t the be-all, end-all of a great book, there’s just something to be said for a well-crafted opening line. We tend to remember the ones that speak to us.

For instance, I can still recall the moment I picked up Stephen King’s The Gunslinger in a small bookstore/coffee shop that sadly no longer exists on the sporadically reinvigorated main street of my hometown. I remember because of that opening line – simple, evocative, almost mythic. It seems to be the simple lines that speak to me; I still get a chuckle when I think of picking up Andy Weir’s The Martian to see what all the fuss was about and being greeted with, “I’m pretty much fucked.” That’s the beauty of a great first line. At times, the simple suffices (we’re looking at you, Mr. Melville). At others, a more meandering and circuitous form of prose sets the stage for what’s to come (hello, Messrs. Dickens and Chabon). Regardless, great opening lines are a rare creature. When you spot one in the wild, you’re not likely to forget where you found it. Here are some of our favorites.

 

The cover of the book One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”

 

The cover of the book Moby- DickMoby- Dick

Herman Melville

“Call me Ishmael.”

 

 

The cover of the book The GunslingerThe Gunslinger

Stephen King

“The Man in Black fled across the desert, the Gunslinger followed.”

 

 

The cover of the book The Name of the WindThe Name of the Wind

Patrick Rothfuss

“It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.”

 

The cover of the book Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

 

 

The cover of the book A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

 

The cover of the book Gravity's RainbowGravity’s Rainbow

Thomas Pynchon

“A Screaming comes across the sky.”

 

 

The cover of the book Anna KareninaAnna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 

The cover of the book SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVESLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE

Kurt Vonnegut

“All of this happened, more or less.”

 

 

The cover of the book The Voyage of the Dawn TreaderThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader

C.S. Lewis

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

 

The cover of the book Fear and Loathing in Las VegasFear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Hunter S. Thompson

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

 

The cover of the book The Color PurpleThe Color Purple

Alice Walker

“You better never tell nobody but God.”

 

 

The cover of the book MiddlesexMiddlesex

Jeffrey Eugenides

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

 

The cover of the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

J.K. Rowling

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

 

The cover of the book ParadiseParadise

Toni Morrison

“They shoot the white girl first.”

 

 

The cover of the book The Year of Magical ThinkingThe Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion

“Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.”

 

The cover of the book The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect.”

 

The cover of the book The Bell JarThe Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

 

The cover of the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

“Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”

 

The cover of the book I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Maya Angelou

“When I was three and Bailey four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed – ‘To Whom It May Concern’ – that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.”

 

The cover of the book The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride

William Goldman

“This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.”

 

The cover of the book The MartianThe Martian

Andy Weir

“I’m pretty much fucked.”

 

 

The cover of the book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & ClayThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Michael Chabon

“In later years, holding forth to an interviewer or to an audience of aging fans at a comic book convention, Sam Clay liked to declare, apropos of his and Joe Kavalier’s greatest creation, that back when he was a boy, sealed and hog-tied inside the airtight vessel known as Brooklyn, New York, he had been haunted by dreams of Harry Houdini.”

 

The cover of the book Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

 

The cover of the book The RoadThe Road

Cormac McCarthy

“When he woke in the woods in the dark and cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.”

Beyond Baba Yaga: 8 Eastern European-Inspired Fantasies

Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

Eastern European mythology, literature, and history are a gold mine for fans of speculative fiction. From the rich depth of Slavic folklore to the drama of the region’s history, there’s a wealth of elements for unfamiliar readers to discover, especially as translations from countries such as Russia and Poland make their way across the pond.

Readers interested in exploring Eastern European speculative fiction can check out these works by authors currently or previously living in Eastern European countries, as well as titles by American authors that draw inspiration from the region.

 

The cover of the book UprootedUprooted

NAOMI NOVIK

Every ten years, a girl from Agniezka’s village is taken by the wizard known as the Dragon who protects them from harm, and none of them return, even after the Dragon sets them free. Agniezka believes her perfect best friend Kasia will be the one chosen – but the Dragon chooses Agniezka instead.

This award-winning standalone novel begins as a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast with decidedly Eastern European influences. Novik crafts a fantastic world in Uprooted, so much so that it’s worth a read just to see what she does with it. And if you’re really into it, Novik’s returning readers to the same universe with the upcoming Spinning Silver.

 

The cover of the book Blood of ElvesBlood of Elves

ANDRZEJ SAPKOWSKI

The first novel in Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher Saga was published in the U.S. in 2009, following the 2007 release of The Witcher video game. Blood of Elves follows the series’ eponymous witcher, Geralt of Rivia, an assassin working to protect a child being hunted for her extraordinary powers.

Possibly the most widely-known franchise on the list, the Witcher Saga comprises 5 novels (the final book, Season of Storms, will be released April 2018) as well as two short story collections, which are both available in English. You may want to pick this series up fast: it’s currently being adapted as a Netflix series.

 

The cover of the book DeathlessDeathless

CATHERYNNE M. VALENTE

Deathless marries the Slavic folklore figure Koschei the Deathless with the war-ravaged Russia of the early twentieth century. Its heroine, Marya Morevna, is whisked away from post-Russian Revolution Leningrad by Koschei, who intends to take her as his bride.

Valente explores an older Russian tale in the context of the wars taking place across Europe during the early twentieth century, from the Russian Revolution to the second world war and beyond.

 

The cover of the book There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's BabyThere Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby

LUDMILLA PETRUSHEVSKAYA

I have to admit that out of the Ludmilla Petrushevskaya books currently available in English, I picked this one because of the impressively long, impressively creepy title. And with the subtitle “Scary Fairy Tales,” there’s got to be something in this short story collection to enthrall you.

Petrushevskaya was born in 1938 Moscow, and her supernatural tales allude to the bleak realities of life under the Soviet Union. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby is a must-read introduction to one of Russia’s most prolific writers.

 

The cover of the book Blood Rose RebellionBlood Rose Rebellion

ROSALYN EVES

Unable to control her mysterious ability to break spells – and causing a disaster at her sister’s debut – British-born Anna Arden is banished to live with distant relatives in 1847 Hungary, where she’s drawn into the conspiracies simmering and about to boil over in the country.

The first book in Eves’ young adult fantasy trilogy is wonderfully researched and immersive, capturing the political unrest pervasive during the era. There are even some characters based on real people of 1840s Hungary, including one most readers might recognize: a young boy named Franz Ferdinand. Blood Rose Rebellion is an enthralling fantasy read, and it’s also one that can lead readers down new paths to learn about history they may not have encountered before.

 

The cover of the book Shadow and BoneShadow and Bone

LEIGH BARDUGO

Alina Starkov is an orphan and a soldier – at least until she accidentally unleashes magic she had no idea she even possessed. Drafted into the Grisha, the elite magical branch of the Ravka military, Alina struggles to learn how to manage her gift as the threat against Ravka grows.

Bardugo’s young adult Shadow and Bone trilogy is an absolute adventure and incorporates not only inspiration from Russian culture and history, but others as well. The trilogy is complete with Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising, for readers (like myself) who love binging the entire series at once.

 

The cover of the book The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale

KATHERINE ARDEN

Set at the edge of Russian wilderness, The Bear and the Nightingale is another novel that draws on the wealth of Eastern European folklore to craft a fantastical tale. Vasilisa and her siblings have always honored the spirits in their household – until their father comes home with a new wife, whose religious beliefs are at odds with the traditions Vasya has long held.

The Bear and the Nightingale is an excellent next-read for those who already read Uprooted, and as a story set in the icy Russian wilderness, it’s also a great book to cozy up with when snowed out of work or school.

 

The cover of the book Night WatchNight Watch

SERGEI LUKYANENKO

In Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series, supernatural beings known as Others swear allegiance to one of two factions: the Light and the Dark. Anton Gorodetsky is a Light magician who works for the Night Watch, which has helped to maintain peace for hundreds of years – but a cursed Other without an alliance may shatter that peace once and for all.

Night Watch is more of a thriller than a fairy tale, and the urban fantasy setting makes it a refreshing contrast to many of the titles on the list. Two films based on the series were released in Russia, and the complete six-book Night Watch series has been translated and published in the U.S.

Bark, Who Goes There?

10 Beloved Fictional Dogs

Image via Shutterstock

We have a long-standing literary love affair with dogs of all stripes. These four-legged friends have been constant companions, comic relief, endearing leads. That “man’s best friend” moniker was not given lightly. It seems that as readers, we are as enamored with fictitious representations of faithful canine pals as with the real thing. That’s not say that all pets aren’t wonderful, just that our literary hearts seem to lie more firmly those furry friends of the canine variety. That being the case, here are a few of our favorite lit-based hounds.

Who are some of your favorite literary canines? Let us know in the comments.

 

The cover of the book WatchersWatchers

Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is clearly a dog lover, they make appearances – often prominent ones – throughout his novels. For our money though, the super-intelligent golden retriever at the center of the action in Watchers is the one to beat. Einstein, a well-earned name if ever there was one, proves a shrewd protector, loyal companion, and as a bonus, delightfully witty. Not a bad package.

 

The cover of the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

J.K. Rowling

When you’re the size of Hagrid, the half-giant groundskeeper at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, you quite obviously need a dog who is equally immense, right? Of course you do. Enter everyone’s favorite boarhound, Fang. Sure, he might be a coward, but at least he’s an endearing one.

 

The cover of the book Meddling KidsMeddling Kids

Edgar Cantero

Every team of adolescent detectives needs a faithful canine sidekick, and if said sidekick happens to resemble a certain beloved cartoon dog-detective, then all the better. It should come as no surprise that the Blyton Summer Detective Club of Edgar Cantero’s aptly named Meddling Kids have their own four-legged companion in Tim, an excitable and particularly faithful Weimaraner.

 

The cover of the book The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum

Toto might just be one of the most famous dogs in all of literature, and certainly the most famous “little black dog.” Serving as an adorable and stolid companion to Dorothy on his tornado-induced adventure into the land of Oz. Toto proved just the support Dorothy needed on her trek to the Emerald City.

 

The cover of the book The Call of the WildThe Call of the Wild

Jack London

Buck certainly had it rough before stumbling across John Thornton in wilds of Canada. Stolen from his home and sold into a harsh life of brutality as a sled dog, Buck was certainly worse for wear before things finally turned around. Thankfully, Buck found a new home with John and the two found dependable companionship in one another.

 

The cover of the book The Phantom TollboothThe Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster; illustrated by Jules Feiffer

It’s hard not to love a solemn and thoughtful dog like Tock. The biomechanical watchdog not only saved Milo from the Doldrums, but also proved a reliable and unexpectedly wise companion throughout the rest of Milo’s adventures.

 

The cover of the book A Game of ThronesA Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin

Alright, technically Ghost is not a dog, but a direwolf, but really we’re just splitting hairs. This immense creature shares a powerful bond with Jon Snow, serving as a protector and companion. Ghost may be a somewhat mysterious creature, but at least he’s a faithful one.

 

The cover of the book Jim Butcher: The Dresden Files: Storm Front: Vol. 1: The Gathering StormThe Dresden Files: Storm Front: Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm

Jim Butcher; Illustrated by Ardian Syaf

Part of mystical breed of “Temple Dogs,” Mouse is highly intelligent, incredibly loyal, and virtually indestructible. That latter quality makes him a particularly good companion for the Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator renowned for his trouble-finding penchant. It certainly helps that Mouse has proven time and again to be a particularly durable member of the canine family.

 

The cover of the book Moving PicturesMoving Pictures

Terry Pratchett

Leave it to Terry Pratchett to create one of literature’s most endearingly comical four-legged friends. Gaspode is a talking dog by way of Dickensian street urchin – street smart, fast talking, and with gruff exterior concealing a heart of gold. Really, what’s not to like.

 

The cover of the book The StandThe Stand

Stephen King

Kojak made his first appearance fairly early on in Stephen King’s epic post-apocalyptic doorstop of a novel, but it wasn’t until around the mid-point that he really began to shine. From a fascinating recounting Kojak’s harrowing adventures from the dog’s point of view, to staying behind with an injured Stu Redman and essentially keeping the man alive, Kojak is certainly deserving of a spot on this list.

19 ‘Great American Read’ Picks That Have Been Made Into Classic Movies

“The Great American Read” is an eight-part television and online series designed to spark a national conversation about reading and the books they’ve selected. Hosted by Meredith Vieira, the series features 100 books that have inspired, moved, and shaped us. The goal is for viewers to read the books and vote from the list of 100, advocating for their favorite read.

“The Great American Read” premieres Tuesday, May 22 at 8/7c on PBS stations. Voting will be open through the summer and into the fall, when seven new episodes of the series will air as the quest to find America’s most beloved book moves into high gear.

We at Signature scavenged through the nominated books to find that many of them have been adapted into classic movies that you’ve probably seen. If you know us, you know we are big fans of reading the book first. Check out the list we’ve curated below, culled from the list of 100, note the movies you’ve seen and the books you’ve read, and be sure to tune in to “The Great American Read” on PBS.

 

The cover of the book A Prayer for Owen MeanyA Prayer for Owen Meany

John Irving

This classic John Irving novel explores what happens when unthinkable tragedy strikes two eleven-year-old boys in 1963, when the best friends are playing a little league game, and one of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. Owen Meany, the boy who hit the ball, happens to not believe in accidents, and so he thinks his action was God’s will. The Mark Steven Johnson-directed 1998 film “Simon Birch” was loosely based on Owen Meany, so much so that they don’t share the same name.

 

The cover of the book Charlotte's WebCharlotte’s Web

E.B. White

You are likely to have seen “Charlotte’s Web,” whether the 1973 animated version, or the 2006 live-action starring Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, and Oprah Winfrey. And it’s likely you’ve read the book as well, but a beloved children’s classic like this one always warrants a re-read. The story of Wilbur, Fern, and Charlotte’s friendship has withstood the test of time as a tale of bravery, sacrifice, and the power of love.

 

The cover of the book The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas’s classic story of Edmond Dantes’ wrongful imprisonment and subsequent escape to the Isle of Monte Cristo in search of buried treasure was inspired by a true case of wrongful imprisonment, and remains relevant to this day. It was most recently adapted in 2002 into a fairly well-liked film starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce, but we recommend returning to the source material.

 

The cover of the book Don QuixoteDon Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Now, this is one we should all see: Terry Gilliams’s “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” (when it comes out in late 2018, that is). Until then, we can sate ourselves with the 2000 TNT television adaptation starring John Lithgow, Bob Hoskins, and Isabella Rossellini. Oh, and we can read the book. Don Quixote tells the tale of the exploits of Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, after Quixote takes it upon himself to become chivalry embodied.

 

The cover of the book FrankensteinFrankenstein

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, about Victor Frankenstein and the monster he creates, has inspired countless adaptations. Our personal favorite is the 1935 film “Bride of Frankenstein” starring Elsa Lanchester, but to each their own. And we can’t wait for the upcoming historical biopic “Mary Shelley” starring Elle Fanning as Shelley, either. But again, in the meantime, let’s take to the books and read (or reread) the source material.

 

The cover of the book The GodfatherThe Godfather

Mario Puzo

Our guess is, you’ve seen “The Godfather,” but you haven’t read The Godfather. And we don’t blame you—that’s completely understandable. Clocking in at 448 pages, Mario Puzo’s classic saga of American crime family the Corleone’s is a daunting book to add to your TBR, and the 1972 adaptation starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, and James Caan is just so good. But go ahead, take a walk on the wild side and pick up this doorstopper from your local library (or maybe just download it on your e-reader). We promise you won’t regret it.

 

The cover of the book Gone with the WindGone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 classic may have been assigned to you in high school English, but if you read the Sparknotes or watched the Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh-starring 1939 film adaptation, we won’t judge you. That adaptation is pure gold—it’s actually even got a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes—but please, we beseech you, give the book a try. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time, there’s a reason why Mitchell’s novel has stood the test of time.

 

The cover of the book The Grapes of WrathThe Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

The 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s classic starring Henry Fonda is a masterpiece in its own right, to be sure. But Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning chronicle of the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s through the lens of the Joad family paints a compelling portrait of the struggle between those who have power and those who do not in America that persists to this day, and is worth a read of its own.

 

The cover of the book Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations

Charles Dickens

There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to adaptations of Charles Dickens’s 1861 classic, from the 1998 film starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Estella and Ethan Hawke as Pip to the more recent 2012 adaptation, memorably starring Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. But we at Signature are big fans of reading Dickens, and Great Expectations is a particular favorite of ours. Dickens’s sprawling tale of the life of a boy (and then man) transformed by a mysterious and enormous inheritance is a must-read.

 

The cover of the book The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Okay, you’ve probably read this one. And if not, please change that immediately. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tale of a man consumed by love (ahem, obsession) may be overplayed, but with good reason. Those of you divided between love for the Leo DiCaprio-starring 2013 adaptation and the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow-starring 1974 adaptation will find common ground in Fitzgerald’s expertly-weaved original text.

 

The cover of the book Heart of DarknessHeart of Darkness

Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness tells the thrilling tale of Marlow, a seaman who travels into the heart of Africa in search of the infamous ivory trader Kurtz, who has gained an unexplainable amount of power over the local people. We want to disclose something: the 1979 film we are recommending, “Apocalypse Now,” was inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but deviates extensively from the book. Don’t freak out without giving it a watch. Today, it’s considered to be one of the greatest films ever made.

 

The cover of the book The Hunt for Red OctoberThe Hunt for Red October

Tom Clancy

If you haven’t taken the time to dive into Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan thrillers, this is the perfect time to start. The Hunt for Red October introduced the world to Clancy’s unforgettable hero, Jack Ryan, and follows him as he races to find a highly advanced nuclear submarine before the Russians get their hands on it. The 1984 film was the first of several films based on the novels, and stars Alec Baldwin as CIA analyst Ryan and Sean Connery as Soviet submarine commander Marko Ramius.

 

The cover of the book Little WomenLittle Women

Louisa May Alcott

Little Women famously follows the lives of the four March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy — who couldn’t be more different from one another. But when their father is sent to fight in the war, their mother works to support the family, and the girls must learn to rely on one another. Though the 1933 film is the third screen adaptation of the book, it’s the first one with sound. That’s why we advise starting your “Little Women” journey with the 1933 film, and then moving on to the 1949 version, with June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Lawford, and finally the 1994 adaptation, starring the talented Winona Ryder.

 

The cover of the book Moby-DickMoby-Dick (or, The Whale)

Herman Melville

“Call me Ishmael” — this famous line begins one of the most renowned journeys in literature. Moby Dick centers on a whaling ship named the Pequod and its Captain, Ahab, as he sails for revenge against Moby Dick, a sperm whale that destroyed Ahab’s former vessel and left him crippled. John Huston’s 1956 film adaptation remains faithful to the book, unlike previous versions that included romantic subplots and happy endings. So if you want to watch the story unfold on the screen, be sure to check out John Huston’s adaptation.

 

The cover of the book The Outsiders 50th Anniversary EditionThe Outsiders

S.E. Hinton

First published in 1967, S. E. Hinton’s novel was an immediate phenomenon, and continues to resonate with readers more than fifty years later. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows Ponyboy’s experiences in a world divided into two groups: the Socs (rich kids who can get away with anything), and the greasers, who aren’t so lucky. Basically, if you haven’t read it yet, get yourself a copy and do so immediately. Then, be sure to watch the 1983 film, which is noted for its cast of up-and-coming stars, including C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, and Diane Lane.

 

The cover of the book The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic read, and though it was published in 1890, it still resonates with readers today. The story centers around Dorian, who is an extremely wealthy and good-looking young man living in London. Dorian has a portrait of himself done by the great artist Basil and becomes obsessed with his own handsome, youthful appearance – so much so that he sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. The book was originally attacked for exposing the dark side of Victorian society, and for evoking ideas of homosexuality. Released in March 1945 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film, shot mostly in black and white, was directed by Albert Lewin and stars George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton, and Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray.

 

The cover of the book Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well-known novels in the United States and around the world. With the most compelling of stories and the most memorable of characters, it has remained unparalleled for two hundred years. Readers will find themselves immersed in the Bennet family, comprising a quiet father, a dutiful mother, and five beautiful daughters. Grand country estates, beautiful young men and women, and unwavering courtship all comprise this endearing story of heartache and romance. The film was released on July 26, 1940, and was critically well-received. It’s definitely a story that’s worth reading and watching, if you haven’t already done so.

 

The cover of the book To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a compelling coming-of-age tale set in the south. It’s told from the point of view of a young girl who watches as her father, a local lawyer, risks everything to defend an innocent black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime. We insist that you watch the highly-ranked 1962 film — directed by Robert Mulligan, it was a box-office success and won three Academy Awards.

 

The cover of the book War and PeaceWar and Peace

Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace takes place during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. We recommend the 1956 film directed by King Vidor which stars big names like Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Mel Ferrer, and Anita Ekberg, in one of her first breakthrough roles. It had several Academy Awards nominations, and should definitely be on your list of must-watch classic movies.

PBS Presents…

Great American Read

Read the 100 List

Below is the list of America’s 100 most-loved books brought to you by The Great American Read. You can also print a checklist of the books.

19841984
George Orwell

A Confederacy of Dunces 
John Kennedy Toole

A Prayer for Owen Meany 
John Irving

A Separate Peace
John Knowles

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Betty Smith

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho

Alex Cross Mysteries (Series)
James Patterson

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll

Americanah
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie

Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Another Country
James Baldwin

Atlas Shrugged
Ayn Rand

Beloved
Toni Morrison

Bless Me, Ultima
Rudolfo Anaya

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz

The Call of the Wild
Jack London

Catch-22
Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger

Charlotte’s Web
E. B. White

The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)
C.S. Lewis

1295The Clan of the Cave Bear
Jean M. Auel

The Coldest Winter Ever
Sister Souljah

The Color Purple
Alice Walker

The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

Crime and Punishment
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon

The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown

Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes

Doña Bárbára
Rómulo Gallegos

Dune
Frank Herbert

Fifty Shades of Grey (Series)
E.L. James

Flowers in the Attic
V.C. Andrews

Foundation (Series)
Isaac Asimov

Frankenstein
Mary Shelley

Game of Thrones (Series)
George R. R. Martin

Ghost
Jason Reynolds

Gilead
Marilynne Robinson

The Giver
Lois Lowry

The Godfather
Mario Puzo

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell

The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

Great Expectations
Charles Dickens

4671The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Gulliver’s Travels
Jonathan Swift

The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood

Harry Potter (Series)
J.K. Rowling

Hatchet (Series)
Gary Paulsen

Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

The Help
Kathryn Stockett

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy
Douglas Adams

The Hunger Games (Series)
Suzanne Collins

The Hunt for Red October
Tom Clancy

The Intuitionist
Colson Whitehead

Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

Jane Eyre
Charlotte Brontë

The Joy Luck Club
Amy Tan

Jurassic Park
Michael Crichton

Left Behind (Series)
Tim LaHaye / Jerry B. Jenkins

The Little Prince
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Little Women
Louisa May Alcott

Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurtry

Looking for Alaska
John Green

The Lord of the Rings (Series)
J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold

The Martian
Andy Weir

Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden

Mind Invaders
Dave Hunt

Moby-Dick
Herman Melville

The Notebook
Nicholas Sparks

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez

Outlander (Series)
Diana Gabaldon

The Outsiders
S. E. Hinton

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

The Pilgrim’s Progress
John Bunyan

The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline

Rebecca
Daphne du Maurier

The Shack
William P. Young

Siddhartha
Hermann Hesse

The Sirens of Titan
Kurt Vonnegut

The Stand
Stephen King

The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway

Swan Song
Robert R. McCammon

Tales of the City (Series)
Armistead Maupin

Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston

Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe

This Present Darkness
Frank E. Peretti

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird
Harper Lee

The Twilight Saga (Series)
Stephenie Meyer

War and Peace
Leo Tolstoy

Watchers
Dean Koontz

The Wheel of Time (Series)
Robert Jordan / Brandon Sanderson

Where the Red Fern Grows
Wilson Rawls

White Teeth
Zadie Smith

Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë

Attention Mystery Lovers!

Looking for your next great read? You’re in luck!

The Mystery Writers of America has announced the Winners of the 2018 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television, published or produced in 2017.

Bluebird, BluebirdBEST NOVEL

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL

The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola

BEST FACT CRIME

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

BEST CRITICAL/BIOGRAPHICAL

Chester B. Himes: A Biography by Lawrence P. Jackson

BEST SHORT STORY

“Spring Break”New Haven Noir by John Crowley

BEST JUVENILE

Vanished! By James Ponti

BEST YOUNG ADULT

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY

“Somebody to Love”Fargo, Teleplay by Noah Hawley

ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD (Best First Short Story)

“The Queen of Secrets”New Haven Noir by Lisa D. Gray

GRAND MASTER (Lifetime Achievement)

Jane Langton

William Link

Peter Lovesey

RAVEN AWARD (Outstanding achievement in Mystery outside the realm of creative writing)

Kristopher Zgorski, BOLO Books

The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence Kansas

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD (Writing Teams & People in Mystery Publishing)

Robert Pépin

THE SIMON & SCHUSTER MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD (Book Written in the Mary Higgins Clark Tradition)

The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman