- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - I first read The Hobbit and attempted LOTR in fifth grade. I read it about every 3-4 years since...although I haven't had much desire since the movies came out (although I read them right before their release). I just don't think I would get as much enjoyment since I will now always be reminded of Rudy being Samwise, Huck Finn being Frodo, etc... Or it might be that the movies were so pervasive throughout culture for several years that I am still feeling a little burnt out. And no, the 13 hour movie marathon on opening day of Return of the King - where I sat in a theater from 11am till 2am did not help things...although it was neat seeing the extended versions of the first two films on the big screen.
- The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King - I've always liked Stephen King but after reading for several years during middle school was slowly growing tired of horror books. I first read the initial book (The Gunslinger) in 1989 when I bought it with a gift certificate that I got for Christmas. I was in Eighth Grade and already starting to tire of Stephen King. This book however, drew me back with the amazing artwork in the first trade paperback edition. After just glancing at the cover, I knew I was going to buy it. Since then I would eagerly await each installment pre-ordering and starting to read it the first day it was available. Roland is the badass Jack Bauer of cowboys, just trying to save the multi-dimensional universe (or is he?). Yes, I was totally freaked out when Stephen King was hit by a car and I didn't know if he would be able to finish the series. I am still a little disappointed that the books took on a different tone after the accident, but at least there is some closure.
- DragonLance - Chronicles & Legends Trilogies by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Being a geeky, slightly built kid who was relatively intelligent but liked things like knights and dragons (definitely a social outcast) and was definitely not very physical; I really identified with the character Raistlin Majere(beside who doesn't want to challenge the Gods to take their place?). Although I also identified strongly Sturm Brightblade and his honor code. These are a quick read and not as deep in details and histories as LOTR, but still more in depth with a feeling of history than most fiction. They always make me wonder what I would sacrifice for family, friends, and ambition. BTW - besides these 6 books (there are now like hundreds) most the books with the Dragonlance name are pretty much terrible.
4. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (the Five book Trilogy) by Douglas Adams - These books always make me laugh out loud when I read them. They are consistently hilarious even after having read them 4 or 5 times. If I am feeling down and having trouble getting into any new books, HGTTG is always there to make me happy, smile, and remind me why I like reading.