The Dave Robicheaux Series by James Lee Burke (Start with The Neon Rain)
He’s an ex-officer for the New Orleans Police Department, a Vietnam vet and recovering alcoholic, and the deputy sheriff in New Iberia, Louisiana. His town is overrun with amoral lowlifes, who he will stop by almost any means necessary. How do you keep order in an amoral universe? Dave Robicheaux succeeds—sometimes. He fails, sometimes. Throughout, Burke’s storytelling keeps you enthralled.
The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante (Start with My Brilliant Friend)
It’s a coming-of-age saga, an archeological dig of time and place, and an exploration of friendship all at once. Follow the course of the childhood friendship between Elena Greco and Rafaella Cerullo as they navigate the rocky shoals of post–WWII European unrest, Italian poverty, and the challenges of growing up female in the mid twentieth century. This series defies glib characterizations and easy conclusions, instead challenging the reader to explore the ambiguities of the human condition at every age.
The 44 Scotland Street Series by Alexander McCall Smith (Start with 44 Scotland Street)
Alexander McCall Smith writes like a demon—a clever, tongue-in-cheek demon who has authored at least 12 series for adults, a few series for children, and a number of stand-alone books, all infused with mischievous humor and endless goodwill. This series lightheartedly skewers the pretensions of contemporary parenting while also exploring the tensions and rewards of community. As a bonus, it invites a sort of bounteous gratitude for the people and places you know and sometimes love.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Series by Douglas Adams (Start with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
This absurd comedy-science fiction series chronicles the adventures of Arthur Dent, the only Earthling to survive after Earth is demolished to make way for a sort of intergalactic highway bypass. It began as a BBC radio series, then became a stage show, a series of novels, a comic book series, a television series, a video game, and a feature film. It’s a delightful example of English humor at it’s best, and an answer to the meaning of life, the universe . . . and everything.
The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood (Start with Oryx and Crake)
Do you like to go dark? This trilogy by the master of socio-political dystopia is set in a world scarred by plagues, floods, and genetic engineering. Only a few humans remain on Earth, and they are struggling to survive.
Bollywood Series by Sonali Dev (Start with A Bollywood Affair)
This loosely connected series (you can read any one title as a stand-alone volume), tells a series of witty, honest, and entertaining stories about the challenges and rewards of modern Indian-American life.