TTT: 10 Series I Can’t Wait to Finish and/or Start

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Are you the type of person that can finish a series? I am….not generally that person. There are a few series that I love–that I’ve read multiple times, but to be honest those are mostly books that I started as a kid or young adult. And even then, some series I didn’t finish until I was older like A Series of Unfortunate Events. And by the time I did, well the window where I was going to love that book had sort of passed me by. Although I really enjoyed the Netflix show.

I was obsessed with the Harry Potter books and read them all multiple (multiple) times, but there’s not a lot of other series I can say that about. I’m a serial series starter. I have a really hard time when not all the books are published or published in a reasonable timeframe (ahem GoT and The Kingkiller Chronicles) because I hate waiting for a new book to come out. I also don’t have a lot of patience for series of more than 10 books. I do okay with trilogies (especially when I’m reading them for a book club or something), but on the whole I mostly read standalone books.

But like all (arbitrary) rules, there’s always exceptions. Most of the series are ones I’d like to finish, and just two I’d like to start. But of course, I start series all the time so this list is always changing.

Series I’d Like to Finish:

Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde (finished 2/7 books)

Do you like books about books? How about saving the world through a combination of bureaucracy and butt-kicking? If you answered yes to both these questions, you’ll probably enjoy Thursday Next, who lives in an alternate world where books are of great importance–in fact they might even save the day. The first book, The Eyre Affair, follows Thursday, a veteran from the never-ending war, in her job in Special Ops, and her division deals with book crimes. She gets pulled into a plot that involves evil corporations, evil geniuses, and lots of literary references. If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, I think you’ll probably enjoy these books a lot.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (finished 4/8 books, first 3 and the prequel)

My friend recommended these books to me and they are so much fun. Who doesn’t love an assassin protagonist with a love of fancy clothes who is secretly… but we won’t go there. And love triangles? That’s so simple. We deal with complexity. Why not love pentagons? love octagons? I would have had 5 of them read, but I had to turn the book in when we moved and I haven’t gotten it out at the library again. I wish the library had the whole series as audiobooks.

Flavia de Luce by Alan Bradley (finished 2/11 and counting)

Okay so I read the first two of the Flavia de Luce series featuring a precocious preteen detective with a love of all things grisly and a knack for chemistry. It’s like someone shook up A Series of Unfortunate Events and We Have Always Lived in the Castle with a whole lot of mystery. The reason I’ve held off is that the series isn’t finished yet. But maybe this will be less of a problem once I get a few more books under my belt.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (finished 1/5 books)

I really, really enjoyed the first one, and I’d like to just get them all out from the library at the same time, including the first one, and binge read them all the way through.

Great Cities by N.K. Jemisin (finished 1/2?)

I loved The World We Make, and honestly I think the first book stood on its own, but it was also so good that I think it’s worth reading the sequel. I don’t know if this series will have more than two books, but the fact that the second one came out so quickly (Jemisin seems like an author who actually finishes her series) makes me feel a little more confident about picking this one up.

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab (1/3 books)

There’s only 3 books. The first one was really good. Series should really not be this hard to finish–that’s what I keep telling myself.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (1/3 books)

How have I only read one of these? I honestly don’t know.

The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss (1/3? books)

I refuse to read the second one until the final one comes out. This is silly. I have principles. The first one was so good, but it was clearly not meant as a standalone experience and they are dense so I only want to reread the first one.

Series I’d Like to Start:

Discworld by Terry Pratchett (41(ish?) books. Gulp.)

My first introduction to Terry Pratchett was through Good Omens, and I know deep, deep in my bones that I’m going to love these books. But–there are so many! I think I will read them in sub-series order because then I can break up the larger world into smaller, more manageable series. That seems more doable.

The Wilderwood by Hannah Whitten (2 books, so far?)

These look like some good, dark fairy tale adaptions, which are generally my preferred reading material.

Have you read any of these series? Do you have a favorite book series? Let me know in the comments!

My Top 10 Reads of 2020

This year I read 150 books, and though it was a bit of a mixed bag with plenty of books I didn’t finish and lots of reading for classes, there were still a number of great books. In fact there were well over 30 books this year that I unreservedly loved, and narrowing it down to 10 was a bit of a challenge, but (somehow) I managed to do it because a top 30 favorite books of the year list is a little too much, even for me.

2020 was a strange year for reading. Although I read more than I have done in many years, it came in strange bursts and droughts. I found a lot of great comfort reading, in the form of romances and magical books. The great thing about fantasy and historical fiction is that it takes you somewhere else, but I think the best of these books are imbued not just with escapism but with a mindfulness that’s as full of the real issues of the world as it is with the otherworldly. For me, reading is a journey into empathy, imagination, and hope rather than an escape. My 10 favorite books differ quite a bit in terms of genre, but they all explore how we come to be where we are and who we are and they don’t hide the fact that this process is a struggle whether against society, the self, or the supernatural.

My 10 favorites, in reverse order of reading (most recent first):

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab This book has everything: deals with the devil, a feisty protagonist, twists and turns…I couldn’t stop reading it. Recommended for: Anyone who needs to be reminded to seize the day. In other words, everyone. I think this is a widely enjoyable book.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks Historical fiction at its finest–the kind that connects you to the past and shows you that the past is still with us, even when it’s hard to see. Recommended for: Anyone who likes historical fiction or books.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett More great historical fiction. This book tells the story of two sisters who make very different choices and lead very different lives. Recommended for: Anyone who’s looking for a family saga.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik I have read quite a bit of Novik’s work at this point, and really enjoy her writing. Her characters are really strong and have believable voices. Although I still prefer Uprooted, this book has even more strong female voices in it, and I love how she spins together threads from so many different fairytales and folklore. Recommended for: Anyone who’s tired of how many fantasy books are about dudes.

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi Even though the title gives away the fate of the main character, this book doesn’t get less heartbreaking, poignant, or beautiful. Recommended for: Anyone who needs to be reminded of the power of community (for both good and bad).

Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood I couldn’t put this short story collection down. I really like Atwood’s command over her sentences and structures and the worlds she spins. One of these stories does relate to her novel The Robber Bride, but I don’t think you need to have read that to enjoy the stories. That said, that book is well worth reading as well. Recommended for: Anyone who wants their narrative in rapid, witty bursts.

This is How it Always Is by Laurie Frankel Over the holiday, my brother and I had an interesting conversation about the ethical dilemma of parenting a transgender child and what that would mean, which is what this book explores in a humanizing and life-affirming way. Recommended for: Anyone intrigued by this conversation.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston Okay so this one is pure escapist fantasy. But it’s the pure escapist fantasy I needed. The gay romance is hot, romantic, and so sweet, and I love the exploration of this alternate universe. Recommended for: Anyone who needs a reminder about the joys and sorrows of first love. And some escapist romance.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow Speaking of alternate universes, what if there were doors hanging around, waiting to be discovered that could take you to other worlds? Recommended for: Anyone who would open the door.

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter A short, image-packed, coming-of-age novel that is the stuff of my dark fairy tale dreams. Recommended for: Anyone who likes their stories a little darker.

Have you read any of these or are you interested in reading any of these? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Multi-Week Roundup: November 8 – December 5

Welcome to the weekly roundup on Ink in the Archives! Every week (or so) I will share what I’ve been up to and interested in and ask you to fill me in on your week too.

Eventful Events and Happening Happenings

No idea where November went. It was a blur of cold weather and writing assignments. Luckily, I have finished the semester and have time for what really matters this month: making winter-y cocktails, reading, watching sappy movies, reading, baking delicious treats, reading, and wrapping all the presents I bought last month.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Making pasties every week. I use the dough from my pumpkin pasty recipe (which is still delightfully crisp and flaky) and have been making pasties of all kinds including a BBQ pizza themed one with chicken, sautéed red onion, BBQ sauce, and mozzarella and a Tex-Mex version with beans, salsa, corn, and chicken. I do something new almost every week, but the pumpkin pasty version is probably still my favorite. I’ve also gotten better at rolling them out (thinner is better) and sealing them (so they actually look like a pasty).
  • Schooool stuff. Paper and projects and posts, oh my! This semester I was much less productive than usual but had more to do, which meant very long school days.
  • I have an internship for next semester at an actual archive! It’ll be mostly virtual I have a feeling, but I’m very excited about it.

Books Read

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab Easily one of my favorite books of the year. To get out of an arranged marriage, Addie sells her soul to, well not quite the devil, but not-not the devil either, in exchange for her freedom. In exchange for immortality and youth, the bargain ensures that no one remembers Addie–she can’t even say her name. The book winds through history and features a heroine determined to live and make her mark on history. The writing is just right and the story is gripping. An excellent read for the end of the year or the beginning of the next one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ten Restaurants that Changed America by Paul Freedman Freedman has written a lot about food in America, and his writing is more than usually entertaining for this style of book. This is easily one of the most readable nonfiction books I have seen on this topic. Freedman picks 10 restaurants that have changed the way Americans eat and view food including the famous Delmonico’s, one of its first restaurants and Howard Johnsons, which ushered in franchising and national brands. Through these restaurants he tells the stories of people and places. If you’re interested in reading food history, Freedman’s books are a great place to start, since they are well researched and highly engaging.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Tasting Food, Tasting Freedom: Excursions into Eating, Power, and the Past by Sidney W. Mintz This short book builds off of Mintz’s important work on the history of sugar and its relation of power, but this book is more intimately tied to the United States.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

How America Eats: A Social History of U.S. Food and Culture by Jennifer Jensen Wallach Another concise look at the history of American food, but this one is a good summary of the field of food studies.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine by Andrew F. Smith I like the way this book is organized into short chapters largely focused on innovations that continue to have an impact on American food. Unlike many of the other books I read for my project, this one is more focused on technological innovations and trends rather than social ones.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The United States of Arugula by David Kamp If you’re interested in the gourmet food movement, you might be interested in this book which follows the many characters that have influenced the trend towards food to table cuisine. This book is more biographical in nature.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time by Adrian Miller Told one dish at a time, Miller traces soul food’s origins and current trajectories. This book made me very hungry.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider I really related to this graphic novel. It’s as much about writing as it is about reading, but the cartoons are really endearing. This book would make a great gift for a bibliophile, especially if they have an interest in writing!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger Sexy Scottish werewolf? Check. Fiesty, preternatural heroine? Check. A subtle Steampunk aesthetic? Check. All of this adds up to a romantic romp through a supernatural Victorian England with plenty of humor. It’s exactly the light, fun series I needed right now and was recommended to me by one of my friends in my library program.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Movies Watched

The week before we came to visit my parents, I watched a bunch of documentaries. I haven’t watched very many movies since I’ve been here.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020) I am not normally a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen’s shock and awe comedy style–I think he’s funny, but it’s not my preferred comedy style. However, this film was so timely and political and had so much great satire in it. I really enjoyed watching it and even saw it twice, once with my parents and once with Paul.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Holidate (2020) I love how ridiculous Christmas movies often are, and this one is no different. It does however have the requisite amount of hopeless romance and silliness that is sure to take your mind off of the current state of reality.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Jingle Jangle (2020) The costumes, the music, and the premise of this film were really fun and actually feature a diverse cast in terms of both gender and race. This was really refreshing. It’s silly, but it has lots of imagination and style.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rebecca (2020) The book may be better, but you can’t deny that this movie hits the right tone at least. And I really liked the costumes (even if they were more modern than may be realistic). A fun romantic thriller.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Over the Moon (2020) This movie ultimately fell flat for me. I loved the protagonist’s mix of scientific and mythical interests and enjoyed her interactions with her new step brother. The film is ultimately about grief and letting go, which is an important message. However everything that happened on the moon was a little bizarre.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


Please know that I’m not paid for my opinions about anything. I just like to share things that strike me as interesting, useful, or engaging.

I found this Barnes & Noble diverse middle reader book list to be really helpful in choosing a book for part of my cousin’s birthday present.

Need some holiday cheer? The Bay area annual Dickens fair may be cancelled for the year, but you can still see some of their online content to add to your yuletide festivities. You can find Victorian recipes, a holiday address from the Queen, and Dickens reading A Christmas Story among many other things.

I am totally discovering how amazing metallic gelly pens are for the first time. These were really popular when I was younger, but they were too mainstream, and I never got the point. However, as an adult I can joyfully say that they make coloring a joy because you can color with them in any direction, they don’t bleed through, and they are pretty sparkly. You can find sets and individual pens from Blick.

How was your November? Have you started decking the halls yet? Read anything good lately? Let me know in the comments!