Since it looks like the nationwide lockdown won't be ending for a while now, it could be the perfect opportunity to get stuck into some truly excellent book series. After all just one book isn't going to be enough while we have all of this time on your hands! From mystery thrillers to short story collections, check out our top picks for novel series to add to your must-read list...
A great way to get through lockdown is to stick your head in a series of books
The Lewis Trilogy - Peter May
- The Blackhouse
- The Lewis Man
- The Chessmen
For the perfect murder/mystery/thriller, look no further than the gripping, mesmeric trio of books set on the outstandingly beautiful Isle of Lewis, written by Peter May. Not only are they compulsive page turners, but May's vivid descriptions of the wild landscape are breathtaking. Follow Detective Inspector Fin Macleod as he returns to the island of his birth, and reunites with former friends and foes alike, as he attempts to solve three very dark, but different crimes.
The Blackhouse, Amazon
Don Camillo series - Giovanni Guareschi
- The Little World of Don Camillo
- Don Camillo and His Flock
- Don Camillo and Peppone
- Comrade Don Camillo
- Don Camillo and Company
- Don Camillo’s Dilemma
Set in the Emilia-Romagna region, a hidden, unspoilt corner of Northern Italy, where it appears that time has stood still, the Don Camillo stories are as funny, poignant and as relevant today as they were when first published. Featuring the hot-headed, confrontational village priest and his main adversary, the communist mayor, the stories concern the minutiae and drama of day to day life, inevitably ending in conflict between the two, but resolved due to the wisdom of the third main character, who takes them to task from a crucifix above the altar of the village church. These new editions include many previously unpublished stories and will appeal to readers from 10 to 100. In these self isolation times, a great family book-club contender.
The Complete Little World of Don Camillo, Amazon
EBOOK: The Complete Little World of Don Camillo, Amazon
The Olive Kitteridge series - Elizabeth Strout
- Olive Kitteridge
- Olive Again
Olive Kitteridge is a retired school teacher in a small town in Maine, USA. The reader will immediately become immersed in Olive's day to day life as she interacts with her family and her neighbours, often criticising, sometimes agreeing, sometimes laughing, it is almost impossible not to identify with her on one level or another. Strout's gentle, but incisive, depiction of life in small town America is second to none. There's only two in this series, but if you love the Kitteridge duo, you can rest assured her other books Abide With Me, My Name is Lucy Barton, The Burgess Boys and Amy and Isabelle are just as good!
Olive Kitteridge, Amazon
The Shetland Series - Ann Cleeves
- Raven Black
- White Nights
- Red Bones
- Blue Lightning
- Dead Water
- Thin Air
- Cold Earth
- Wild Fire
There are eight books in the Shetland series, all stand-alone first class murder mysteries, and all featuring Detective Jimmy Perez, whose complicated and sometime tragic love life plays as large a part in the books and the reader's interest, as the crimes he has to investigate. Cleeves' wonderful descriptions of the beautiful Shetland Isles read like a travelogue, so it feels like you are getting two for the price of one! Cleeves is also the author of the hugely popular Vera series. Both the Shetland series and the Vera books have been made into major TV dramas. But even if you've seen them, don't let that put you off reading the books - there's so much more to enjoy than what you saw on the box!
Raven Black, Amazon
The Maeve Binchy Series - Maeve Binchy
- Light a Penny Candle and 16 other books
What better books to raise the spirits in this time of uncertainty and lockdown, than the gentle, insightful Irish tales of Maeve Binchy. A consummate story teller, start, if you can, with Light a Penny Candle, which follows the friendship of two young women through two decades, with all the joy, heartbreak and laughter that entails. Echoes is her second book, which tells the story of a young woman's struggle to escape a narrow-minded resort town, but there are 16 to choose from (plus four short story collections) really giving something for everyone. Although not strictly a series, many of the characters pop up in more than one book giving continuity.
Light a Penny Candle, Amazon
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
- The Northern Lights
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass
There is no better time to read this classic series to your kids (or settle down with a cup of tea to read yourself)! The series follows Lyra, a young girl who grows up as an orphan at Jordan college in Oxford, living a happy and wild life with her daemon (her soul in animal form), Pantalaimon. However, when the mysterious 'Gobblers' kidnap her best friend Roger, Lyra will do whatever it takes to find him.
Northern Lights, Amazon
A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin
- A Game of Thrones
- A Clash of Kings
- A Storm of Swords
- A Feast for Crows
- A Dance with Dragons
What better time than to finally pick up this epic fantasy series? Following a group of powerful families who live in Westeros, the first novel focuses on Ned Stark, a family man who is honour-bound to serve as the Hand of the King to his old friend King Robert Baratheon after the previous Hand Jon Arryn's untimely death. Arriving in the Capital, he realises there is more to his death than he realised, and begins to uncover just why Jon was killed. There are approximately 200 other storylines happening at the same time, so be sure to pay attention!
Game of Thrones, Amazon
Tudor Court series - Philippa Gregory
- The White Princess and 14 other books
These fascinating historical novels follow the Tudor period in history from a refreshing personal point of view, with each novel focusing on a particularly interesting historical figure. If you finish all 15 novels, several books from the series including The White Queen, The White Princess and The Spanish Princess have already been adapted in TV shows.
The White Princess, Amazon
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