I got out of the habit of reading later in high school and the first part of college, as I was just too busy to read for pleasure - I had enough text books to read in college during my Gen-Ed years that the last thing I wanted to do was pick up another book. It wasn't until I started working Projection at the movie theater that I started reading for fun again. While working projection back then when it was still 35mm they had a desk and chair set up there so you could read or do homework while keeping an eye on the projectors - so long as you did roller checks every so often and started the movies on time they didn't really care what you did up there. I started reading the Harry Potter series that summer, often taking the books into the box office with me when I was scheduled up front during the weeks that fall, as during the weekdays of the school year business was pretty slow and you could get in quite a bit of reading.
Anyways, I've mentioned it before, but right now I'd have to say my favorite series are the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris - also known as the books that the HBO series True Blood is based off of.
I got introduced to them almost a year ago, as I knew several people who really enjoyed the show and knowing it was based on a book series, I was intrigued.
I read the first book as I watched the first season, and to my surprise, the show followed the book pretty well, adding in subplots for some of the minor characters. I did the same thing with the second season, which was a looser adaption of the book than the first season was, expanding the whole Maenad storyline more than it needed to be.
Not wanting to wait a whole year to read the third book along with the third season, hubby got me the 1-7 boxset of the books (which is now sold as books 1-8). I worked my way through them last fall, not wanting to put some of them down, as the story was so good, and for Christmas hubby got me books 8 and 9. I finished those both quickly and promptly bought book 10 the day it came out, this past May. I made myself pace myself while reading it, as I didn't want to finish it in a day - I dragged it out for about 3 or 4 days!
I'm actually glad I didn't wait to read the rest of the series, as watching this season this summer, so far we have seen characters that don't appear until book 4 and book 9, and they're about to reveal what Sookie's true nature is and from the preview they showed last night, Eric forces Bill to tell Sookie "the truth", both of which aren't revealed until book 6. Considering how they changed a lot of the storylines this season, they did kind of need to speed up certain things so it makes more sense with what happens in the next book, but still... the third book was good enough on its own to not need all the changes they've made.
For those not familiar with the show or the books, it takes place mostly in small fictional Bon Temps, Louisiana and is told through the point of view of Sookie Stackhouse, a cute Southern blonde mid-20s waitress at the local bar hangout Merlotte's whom many of the townsfolk deem as crazy, but really she's just telepathic and tries her best to stay out of people's minds. Recently, after the Japanese have developed a type of synthetic blood, is revealed that vampires do exist and have been living amongst us for years, however not to worry - they can live off this synthetic blood, often sold and served in a bottle beverage called True Blood, so it is possible for both humans and vampires to peacefully coexist. Sookie's world suddenly changes when a vampire named Bill Compton walks into Merlotte's one night - he is the first vampire to visit Bon Temps and Sookie learns her telepathy does not work on him, which she greatly welcomes. After rescuing him from a couple of Drainers (people who drain the blood from vampires and sell it on the black market, as "V" is quite a profitable drug) the two begin a friendship turned relationship. Throughout the series, Sookie is introduced to a whole underworld of supernatural and eventually begins work on the side, using her telepathy to help solve various mysteries. She learns a lot about herself and her "ability" throughout the series, and grows as her morals and values are often tested.
While the series is dubbed as The Southern Vampire Mysteries, there's more than just vampires in the series - there's many different types of were creatures (not to give anything away to those only watching the show), as well as the shapeshifters, and other supernatural creatures (again, I won't list them as to not give anything away to those only watching the show). The books have a lot of mystery and action to them, as in every book it seems someone has gone missing or someone is killing people off. Sookie is a telepathic who at first hates her "gift" as she can't have a normal relationship, but over the course of the series she comes to use it for good, helping track down killers or those that are missing and helping solve whatever mystery is happening in that book. There's also a little bit of adult romance, as Sookie dates vampires as well a were, and she has several other suitors as well (seems most supernatural men she runs into are drawn to her). While on HBO they really up the "romance" aspect up a lot, the books don't have nearly as much as the show does - a lot of the readers of the books are actually annoyed with how much sex the characters have on the show.
While Sookie in the books is a lot stronger female role model than say Bella of the Twilight series (she actually thinks about others needs than her own and doesn't let the men in her life walk all over her), this definitely isn't a series for kids, as there's some language (not nearly to the degree of what you hear on the show though), and the occasional "romance" scene in each book, as well as quite a bit of violence, as like I said, there's always someone going missing or getting killed in the books.
Right now there are 10 books in the series, plus a book of short stories. It has been said that author Charlaine Harris is contracted to write a total of 13 books in this series.
If you like fiction about vampires and supernatural creatures with mystery, action and a bit of romance, be sure to check out these books (if you've watched the TV show, you would probably think the books are tame in comparison, although I find the books to be much better!).
Other favorite books include:"Catcher in the Rye" by JD Salinger, The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, and the works of Neil Gaiman