24 March 2010


A Tenner!

No, not this sort of tenner . . . unfortunately.

If I had money with David Tennant on it,
I'd hoard it and never spend it.

John Maynard Keynes would hate me,
but I think I'd have the whole Austrian School on my side.

Now, I don't really do Top 10 Lists (unless I get to twist them a little, like I do with my Alphabet Assignments). Yet ten is such a popular number among list makers that I can't really consider myself one unless I become more comfortable with the ten-point form.

So when a blog friend who has started a new meme has called to ask for a tenner . . .

Top Ten Picks will be a weekly post here in this blog that talks about just that--my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given. I will then choose 10 of my favorites from that given category, create the list, and post them up here!

For week one, the topic will be 'Book Series.'

. . . I realised I had run out of excuses.

A Tenner: My Favourite Series


10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

In the course of seven non-chronological books, one gets to step into Narnia through a wardrobe, travel back in time to its very creation, and join the desperate last battle before its destruction. There are also two quests into the known neighbouring lands and a journey to the very end of the Narnian sea. The Chronicles are such deceptively simple tales that it's easy to miss Lewis' hugely ambitious world building.

9. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper

Is it too soon to number these five books among the "classics"? I sometimes wonder why they're not better loved among young Fantasy readers, especially since they get time travel so right. That, and Cooper's examination of things of power, are richly fascinating. Perhaps if the last book had ended a bit differently . . .

8. Little Women, et al. by Louisa May Alcott

Although I read Little Men first and keep the early Plumfield forever frozen in golden sunlight somewhere in my heart, I must admit that the real magic of the series comes from the first classic quartet of Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. (Little Men attempted a more intricate episodic balance with a whole school of new characters . . . but it doesn't work half so well.) In high school, I wrote a snooty, know-it-all essay about the development of Alcott's feminist ideas in this series, as a stifled Jo is redeemed by an emancipated Nan. My feminist English Lit teacher absolutely loved it.


7. The Roman Mysteries by Caroline Lawrence

There hasn't been a copycat series yet, and given the paucity of classical scholars who also write fiction for children, I don't think there ever will be. (Yay!) Our young detectives are the daughter of a Roman sea captain, her Nubian slave girl, their Jewish neighbour, and a Greek orphan who has had his tongue cut out (!!!). I enjoy wandering around the Mediterranean of Late Antiquity with them in spirit, and wish very much that I could do it in person.

6. Stormbreaker, et al by Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider is the best teenage super-spy ever! Similar series absolutely pale in comparison, and I don't see why other writers even bother trying. When I was in New Zealand, I didn't buy many books that I didn't need for uni, but I splurged on the first four in this series and ate everything up with a spoon. It's probably still the best forty dollars I ever spent!

5. Time Quintet Madeleine L'Engle

Do I really have to go over this again? =P Well, okay . . . Just for the record: L'Engle's books were my first real step into Science Fiction, and they certainly set a very high standard. Everything I understand about the time-space continuum, I understand the way I do because of these five novels.


4. Immortals after Dark by Kresley Cole

Paranormal Romance usually means that some Mary Sue gets to be swept off her feet by some vampire . . . or werewolf . . . or vampire/werewolf hunter . . . and you know, there's really nothing wrong with that! But Cole takes this fascination with "other" and lets it go both ways. In time for the great "Accession"--a war between all the factions in her supernatural world--she has a werewolf falling in love with a witch, a phantom falling in love with a vampire, a demon falling in love with a sorceress, and so on. When they all finally clash, it should be very interesting!

3. My Lady Notorious, et al by Jo Beverley

Before the eighth book finally came out, this was the only series I ever read backwards, because I found all the books in reverse order, one at a time. Interestingly, Beverley started this series with the youngest and ended with the eldest, so she sort of did it backwards, too. Of all the family series in Romance, this one stands out because its main objective turned out to be not simply the third person omniscient matchmaking for very different personalities in a single family, but the character development of the head of that family, who is like an overprotective father to his younger siblings and must learn to let each one go.

2. Seven Brides by Leigh Greenwood

This is a difficult series to complete because only used bookstores seem to stock Greenwood these days--but I like it when reading becomes a scavenger hunt, anyway, so it's not a big deal. I don't usually read Westerns (Romance or otherwise), but I make an exception for Greenwood because he always finds interesting bits of American history--and interesting spots of US geography--to work into his stories. With him, I never feel as if I'm reading the same book over and over again. (Oh yes, you might have noticed those pronouns. Greenwood is a man. Romance heroes are hardly the most credible characters in fiction, but I can trust Greenwood to write more realistically than the average woman would.)


1. The Baby-sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

Yes, this series beats all the Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley and Goosebumps books that were the literary candy that rotted my brain as I was growing up. It's partly because I'm reading the books for the first time rather than relying on memory--and there is more to love when one has been trained in reading by two intensive years of English Lit papers. I've already reviewed the first three books in the series (and am hunting for #4, so that I may review it, too). All the stories are just so innocent and optimistic--a reminder of when the world was a little bit younger. Or maybe just a reminder of when the reader was a little bit younger. I can deal with either. =)

Image Sources: a) Tennant Tenner, b) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, c) The Thieves of Ostia by Caroline Lawrence, d) A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole, e) BSC #1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M. Martin


Holly said...

I love the Babysitters Club! Are you a member of Paperbackswap? They have 168 copies of Mary Anne saves the day in the system there.

Enbrethiliel said...


I'd like to be a member of PaperBack Swap, but I'd need a mailing address in the US to take part. =(

Jillian said...

Yay, thanks for joining! I actually got the idea for the meme from you when you suggested it on my 'Favorite Couple' post, so thanks!

I also love that The Babysitter's Club is here. As a 13-year-old awkward girl, Kristy used to be my role model. LOL.

r said...

The ultimate hoarding-money for the true Austrian economist would be Habsburg gold coins.

Cozy Book Nook said...

Adding a synopsis of each one was a great idea. The Roman Mysteries and Dark is Rising series sound like something I would enjoy. I think I may have read some of the Jo Beverly series--- sounds familiar.

Yay, you included Little Women! I forgot about it and, as you know, I can't bear to leave a good series unmentioned.

Enbrethiliel said...


Jillian: You're welcome! It's a fun meme and maybe someday we can have an original badge for it, too. =)

r: Since I don't have that, I hoard what I can and hope the good intentions translate across currencies.

Lesa: Oh, I wholeheartedly recommend The Roman Mysteries! I just love the little details . . . For instance, did you know that when all books were written in scrolls, people used pebbles as bookmarks? Fascinating, aye? =D

Enbrethiliel said...


PS--Lesa, if the name "Rothgar" rings a bell for you, then you definitely have read some of the Jo Beverley series. =) If not, then I'd be very interested to know which series you were reminded of when you read my description!

MarthaE said...

Enbethiliel (I bet you get that misspelled a lot!) -
You were another person who managed to stay with only 10. Well done and what a variety!
I too like Jo Beverly but haven't really honed in on a series with her books.

Enbrethiliel said...


Hi, Martha! =) Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

My "blogonym" gets misspelled so often that sometimes the only Google alerts I get are for my own posts! =P (I chose it after entering my name into a Middle-earth name generator, so I think I got the "pretty" factor, at least . . . but I sometimes wonder if it's more trouble than it's worth.)

As I told Lesa, my favourite numbers for lists are 3 and 5, so 10 was more of a challenge. =P Still, I think I obviously lean heavily towards YA and Romance.

Cozy Book Nook said...

Yes, I do know the name Rothgar! I was a regency and historical romance addict for 20 yrs before I finally OD. I was reading on average 3-8 per week--- so bound to happen sometime.

Beautiful elvish name--- I think it is wonderful. From which branch of the elves do you descend? ;)

Enbrethiliel said...


Twenty years, aye? Impressive! I slowed down after about three years, and I was only doing one to two new books per week. Cole and Greenwood (and well, Lisa Kleypas) are the only Romance authors I still bother to read--for very different reasons! I've since become very disappointed in Beverley, but I can't deny that her Malloren series was quite the achievement.

Hey, if you ever do a Romance retrospective on your blog, I'll show up with bells on!

PS--I don't know which branch of the elves would be willing to claim me as kin! Perhaps it's better that way. ;)

Cozy Book Nook said...

Yeah, give or take a yr or two. Can't remember what age I started and stopped. Apparently I read too many as my mind is now mush. Can't remember much of anything!

I've tried to read historicals 2-3 times the last 8 yrs or so but just couldn't get 1/3 of the way through.

Lately, I've wondered if my thrillers are losing their thrill--maybe I need to try romance again. Seeing all the regencies listed on Martha's list makes me want to read one again. I used to love Patricia Veryan's thriller type regency series. Have you heard of her?

Enbrethiliel said...


No, I haven't read any Patricia Veryan, I'm afraid! =(

Are they Regency Romance or Historical Thrillers?

Cozy Book Nook said...

The series I'm thinking of is regency or georgian-- but maybe they are intrigue not thrillers (spies and secret societies). I liked the charm, humor and quirky characters. She writes in the various UK dialects (which I love since I'm an anglophile). I'd laugh out loud at times just as if I were watching a britcom.

twowaysofrenouncingthedevil said...

That's fine, but I'm of the Baker's dozen school. . . .

Enbrethiliel said...


I tried thinking in bakers' dozens once, and everything just kept splitting off into fives . . .

Jillian said...

I love the new header!! :)

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks! =D

And now for the grateful plug . . .

See more of Parajunkee's great work at her design blog!