I seem to be on a reading jag of what I’m calling Big Cultural Arcs, and I’d love suggestions of what else to read. My base criteria is that they had a significant impact upon our culture/society, enough to become part of our cultural narrative. I’m mostly not looking for stand-alone titles. I’m reading Big Series that make me think about ourselves and our world. I’m aware this is a very Western list, and would love to see some non-Western suggestions as well.
I’m also aware that below I’ve left out a lot of amazing series, but I’m not looking for merely great stories: Reacher, Nora, Stephanie Plum, Sherlock, Bond, Outlander, etc. I’m looking for those big, impactful arcs.
The list I have so far seems to fall into 3 main categories.
There have been some very impactful ones of these. Even though they’re mostly single book, I felt I needed to include them, though most are epically long, which counts, I suppose.
Roots, Lonesome Dove, The Thorn Birds, Clan of the Cave Bear, (please never mention Follet’s Pillars of Earth in my presence, just a cautionary warning)
Narnia, Hobbit/Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Twilight
Not as impactful, but too significant to ignore?
Planet Trilogy (CS Lewis), Dark Materials, Dark Tower, Wheel of Time, Earthsea Trilogy
Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Dune, McCaffrey’s dragons, Ender series (maybe)
(could only think of one…which I hated almost as much as Pillars of Earth)
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention at least a few in other media, but this isn’t the focus of what I’m after:
Star Wars, Star Trek, Downton Abbey, Upstairs/Downstairs, Firefly, The Expanse(?), MCU (Marvel), Jane Austen, Avatar the Last Airbender (doubt this one? just ask your kids), Friends & Big Bang,…
I’d love to hear your suggestions in the Comments below of what favorite Big Cultural Arc I should be reading next and why you loved it! Also feel free to message me directly if you prefer to not share publicly.
Thanks so much for playing along.
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