Lists are one of the Internet’s great gifts to mankind. From to-do lists to top 10 lists, if there are numbered value rankings, I’m sold. So, it shouldn’t surprise you at all to find out that at the end of the year I inevitably stuff myself with the glut of lists that ranks the best books of the past year; and then, at the dawn of the new year, I wake up after a little too much indulgence for the holidays with lists of books to look forward to for the new year.
Despite the fact that hardly anyone had time to read all of those “best” books from the previous year, January, February, and March flood readers with a barrage of lists featuring the newest and most notable, but This does not mean that you should completely forget about the past. Sometimes the most relevant novels are the ones we’ve read before, and approaching a work of literary genius in a new context can completely change the meaning of the text. So, for all the lovers on the list looking for a little something different, here are seven serious literary fiction series you absolutely must re-read in 2016.
1. The rabbit tetralogy by John Updike
Pulitzer Prize-winning John Updike’s Rabbit novels dwell on the daily triumphs and tragedies of an ordinary middle-class man reaching adulthood during the Eisenhower administration. As we go through an election season fraught with blatant flattery towards the middle class, there has never been a better time to settle down with a story that epitomizes the struggle to claim the American Dream.
2. Gilead’s trilogy by Marilyn Robinson
Gilead, Home,and Lilac blend into a bygone era and place, delicately settling on a new protagonist with each novel and working on the big questions that sting human consciousness with a poetic grace that defies expectations. The Gilead Trilogy expands exponentially with each rereading, offering a literary meditation of extraordinary power and mystery.
3. The Neapolitan tetralogy by Elena Ferrante
The Neapolitan tetralogy approaches the subject of female friendships with grace, dignity and, above all, honesty. There are far too few novels that navigate the perilous waters of female relationships with integrity, and Neapolitan novels are among the best. This is a series that ages with you and reads very differently depending on your own place in the world, so do yourself a favor and settle in to see exactly what the Neapolitan novels will mean to you this year.
4. The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
Explore the lush, near-apocalyptic Wonderland of Zone X in a delicious, series-sized bite with the reissue of all three Southern Reach novels in one tempting and beautifully crafted book. There’s nothing quite like reliving a favorite epic genre in a new guise to drive off the winter blues.
5. The Shadow Country Trilogy by Peter Matthiessen
Peter Matthiessen’s epic three-part series is another work of literary genius that has recently been reissued in one volume, only on this occasion has the trilogy been altered to function as a single novel. With the advent of a masterful rework of the original source – a monumental American saga immersed in the elemental wonder of the Florida border at the turn of the century and driven by the sparkling force of a ruthless sugar planter of the Everglades – there has never been a better time to revisit The land of the shadows.
6. The New York trilogy by Paul Auster
We all need a little bit of mystery in our lives, but let’s face it: we’re in the 21st century, so you might as well do meta with Paul Auster’s wonderfully weird crime series. These are not the kind of stories that go wrong after discovering the thriller, so there is no reason why you should not give in to your literary urges and return to the mythical town of Auster with The New York trilogy.
7. The Forsyte saga by John Galsworthy
Thanks to Bernie Sanders, The big court, and the Downton Abbey series finale, exploring the upstairs and downstairs division has never been so popular. If you’re looking to continue your march through the twisted heart of inequality, why not step back in time to The Forsyte Saga, a series that addresses the question of money, class, status and power as unique British early 20th century. can epic.