Look. I know you have a long list of books to read. I know you've been working through that Thomas Pynchon novel for about six months now. But it's 2017, and if the first month is any indication, this is going to be one hell of a stressful year. Let's all take a moment to dig out those addictive book series we used to love so much, because we're going to need books about plucky kids going on plucky adventures if we want to make it through the next eleven months with our sanity intact. Here are a few addictive book series to revisit in 2017.
After all, 2017 has reminded us just how much we all loved A Series of Unfortunate Events growing up (a "series of unfortunate events" is also a pretty good description of American politics in 2017 so far). And book nerds are always rereading the Harry Potter books like the Potterhead trash we are. So why not revisit some of your other childhood and teenage favorites? Remember when you used to stay up all night reading book after book about babysitters who had a club? Or boys who had dragons? Or cats who had elaborate political struggles?
Whether these are old favorites or books that you missed the first time around, here are a few great series to pick up this year:
1 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins
I'm pretty sure I ripped through all three Hunger Games books in one weekend back in high school. Katniss is still my favorite emotionally distant teen dystopia heroine by a long shot, and I would absolutely read several hundred pages of Suzanne Collins just describing various foods and fancy clothes. It might be a good idea to come back to these books now, before the current administration starts asking for two tributes from every state.
2 'The Bartimaeus Trilogy' by Jonathan Stroud
The Bartimaeus Trilogy is a little bit like if Faust was a buddy comedy. Or if Harry Potter was written by Jerry Seinfeld. If you read it (and re-read it, and re-re-read it) as a kid, then I don't need to tell you that Bartimaeus is one delightfully snarky demon, and the series is one twisted, hilarious adventure about magicians, revenge, and the nature of free will. And if you never read this one, do yourself a huge favor and check it out.
3 'Dear America' and 'The Royal Diaries' by Various
Those Dear America books messed me up as a child. I thought it was totally normal to get married at fourteen and then die of dysentery. Those books, along with the Royal Diaries spin-off series, taught us about how history is an unending nightmare and children were forced into all kinds of uncomfortable scenarios. Revisit your favorite historical time period with a Dear America or Royal Diaries book, and brush up on your history before we're all doomed to repeat it.
4 'Confessions of Georgia Nicolson' by Louise Rennison
These books frightened me as a child because they were full of unfamiliar words like "thongs" and "snogging" and "sex." But revisiting them now, Georgia Nicolson still packs a hilarious punch with her all-too-relatable teenaged confessions, like "I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years." Read these again, and be glad you only had to go through puberty once.
5 'The Song of the Lioness' by Tamora Pierce
Tamora Pierce has several addictive fantasy series under her belt, but her Alanna stories are probably her best-known work. Pierce knows that deep in every little girl's heart, she just wants to be a bad ass knight stabbing people with a sword from horseback. Pick up these books again, and treat yourself to fantasy adventure of intrigue, romance, and reversed gender roles.
6 'Warriors' by Erin Hunter
What were these books? Did I make them up, or was there really a popular children's series about the politically fraught tensions between cat nations? There were like four Hogwarts houses, but with cats? There was a prophecy about one of the cats being the cat messiah? Please re-read them and let me know if the Warriors series was a real thing.
7 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy' by Douglas Adams
The "increasingly misnamed" Hitchhiker's trilogy consists of at least five books (possibly more). If you haven't read this one since high school, I'd highly recommend picking it up again, because they really only get better, more hilarious, and more troubling each time you read them. And 2017 could really use a hefty dose of science fiction absurdity.
8 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials is another series that only becomes deeper and more resonant when you come back to it as an older reader. Sure, reading it today you might not identify as strongly with scrappy orphan Lyra Belacqua (for the record, I always identified more with her worrywart dæmon, Pan). But you might find the theology and critique of authority a lot more compelling as an adult.
9 'The Southern Vampire Mysteries' by Charlaine Harris
Look, it's not a list of addictive book series without at least one vampire romance. It's a tough call, but I have to go with The Southern Vampire Mysteries, because you've just got to love Sookie Stackhouse (sorry, Anne Rice). If you look back fondly on the Hot Topic phase of your adolescence, then you should give the Sookie Stackhouse books another read.
10 'A Song of Ice and Fire' by George R.R. Martin
I mean... what else are you going to do until The Winds of Winter comes out, if not re-read the rest of the series? I know that George R.R. Martin doesn't need any extra publicity, but I have to say that the power struggles of Westeros are feeling awfully relevant to America in the year 2017. Plus, there's just so much in these books, you're sure to hit on some details/characters/entire plot lines you missed the first time around.
11 'Discworld' by Terry Pratchett
There's never a bad time to take a trip to Discworld. And Terry Pratchett has so many Discworld books, there's one for any conceivable mood you might be in. From swashbuckling soldiers to smart young witches to Death himself, Discworld covers just about everything under the sun with Pratchett's signature wit. Pick up your favorite Discworld book again, and you might find that the satire has only gotten sharper with age.