11 Book Series and Collections to Binge Read

FSG Originals/Modern Library/Amazon
FSG Originals/Modern Library/Amazon

You already know that now’s the ideal time to put a serious dent in your Netflix queue, but there are still plenty of great stories out there to invest days, weeks, and months into that don’t involve a TV. Don't know where to start? Check out the book series and collections that the Mental Floss staff recommends below.

1. The Southern Reach Trilogy // Jeff VanderMeer; $21 (for the trilogy)

FSG Originals/Amazon

The inspiration for the 2018 film, Annihilation is the best-known novel in the Southern Reach Trilogy, but it's just the beginning of the story. While Annihilation mainly stays within the confines of the restricted Area X, the sequels, Authority and Acceptance, expand beyond the mysterious zone to examine the agency in charge of it and the other characters involved. Jeff VanderMeer's series is a must-read for sci-fi fans looking for something wholly original. —Michele Debczak, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

2. His Dark Materials // Philip Pullman; $25 (for the trilogy)

Everyman's Library/Amazon

If you skim the plot summary, His Dark Materials may sound like a typical children's fantasy series. There are witches, talking animals, and two kids with mysterious fates fighting the adults who get in their way. But the books venture into territory rarely dealt with in children's literature. In The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, author Philip Pullman explores deep philosophical themes, all while weaving a thrilling adventure story readers of any age can enjoy. —M.D.

Buy it: Amazon

3. The Neapolitan Novels // Elena Ferrante; $50 (for the boxed set)

Europa Editions/Amazon

This series, available in The Neapolitan Novels boxed set, focuses on two friends who grow up in post-war Naples and follows them throughout their lives. You’ll fall in love with the characters and the world they live in, and find yourself slowing down as you approach the end, afraid to leave them all behind. —Jon Mayer, Senior Video Producer

Buy it: Amazon

4. My Struggle // Karl Ove Knausgård; Prices vary

Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Amazon

The quotidian details of this Norwegian writer add up to so much more than the sum of their parts in this autobiographical series. You’ll find yourself unable to put the books down, wondering how a seemingly inconsequential high school party from 30 years ago turned out and why you care so much. —J.M.

Buy it: Amazon

5. The Parker Novels // Richard Stark; $14 (for the first book)

University of Chicago Press/Amazon

From 1962 to 2008, crime author Donald E. Westlake (writing as Richard Stark) wrote 24 novels featuring Parker, a blunt-force object of a protagonist who makes his living stealing and grifting. Formulaic in the best way possible, the novels invariably begin with the competent Parker teaming up with dubious associates, getting double-crossed, and then exacting his revenge. (He’s a poor judge of character, but a great crook.) Westlake’s prose is lean and mean, trimmed of any excess and easily devoured over a handful of evenings. And when you're done with the novels, you can always dive into artist Darwyn Cooke's excellent graphic novel adaptations. —Jake Rossen, Senior Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

6. The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes // Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; $36


This collection contains all four novels and 56 short stories starring the enigmatic sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson. Though written more than a century ago, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales have lost none of their suspense and mystery, and you'll be amazed at Holmes's unique ways of solving the cases. From the terrifying Hound of the Baskervilles to the showdown between Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty in "The Final Problem," Doyle's addictive detective stories are impossible to put down. —Kat Long, Science Editor

Buy it: Amazon

7. Collected Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe // Edgar Allan Poe; $25

Modern Library/Amazon

Edgar Allan Poe's tales of mystery seem especially apt for these weird times. Some of his most famous stories collected in this volume, like "The Black Cat," "The Cask of Amontillado," and "The Masque of the Red Death," examine the psychological breakdowns of characters trapped and/or menaced by unseen enemies. So, in other words, take comfort in the fact that those guys have it worse than you. Poems like "The Raven" and "The Bells," plus Poe's only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, will keep you company during the long hours of quarantine. —K.L.

Buy it: Amazon

8. The Millennium Series // Stieg Larsson; $9 (for the first book)

Vintage Books/Amazon

Steig Larsson’s expertly crafted psychological thrillers spawned a franchise that now includes a couple films and additional novels in the series that were written after the author passed away, but his original Millennium trilogy—The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ($9), The Girl Who Played With Fire ($9), and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest ($9)—is truly binge-worthy content at its finest. If you end up pulling an all-nighter (or more) to find out what wild thing Lisbeth Salander, the haunted genius at the center of the stories, does next, you won’t have been the first one. To get an idea of what themes you'll encounter, Larsson's original Swedish title for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was Men Who Hate Women. —Ellen Gutoskey, Staff Writer

Buy it: Amazon

9. The Last Kingdom Series // Bernard Cornwell; $17 (for the first book)


The basis for Netflix’s The Last Kingdom, this series from author Bernard Cornwell tells the (lovingly embellished) real-world history of the Danes and the Saxons in the late 9th century through the lens of the fictional Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon of noble blood who is kidnapped and raised as a Dane. During the course of the series, Uhtred must make peace with his conflicting identities, while also dealing with a constant barrage of battles and the political maneuvering of his newfound frenemy, Alfred the Great. There are currently 12 books in the series, and the first two—The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman—are the basis for the first season of the TV series. —Jay Serafino, Special Projects Editor

Buy it: Amazon

10. The Mars Trilogy // Kim Stanley Robinson; $35 (For the trilogy)

Bantam Spectra/Amazon

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy imagines what humanity’s inevitable presence on the Red Planet would look like, warts and all. The series begins in Red Mars, which details the growing pains and cultural difficulties of adjusting to life on a new planet. The next two books in the series continue to look at how humans terraform the once-dead Martian landscape into something more habitable for the long-term, while escalating the drama with conflicts between rival factions vying for control. —J.S.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Transmetropolitan // Warren Ellis & Darick Robertson; $12 (For book one)

DC Comics/Amazon

Meet Spider Jerusalem, a gonzo journalist in a cyberpunk future where corporate interests have hijacked the political system and the disenfranchised are spilling out onto the streets. Since no one can combat this totalitarian government by force, Jerusalem decides to wage his war through his investigative reporting, gaining the ire of every member of the establishment along the way. Writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson’s long-running sci-fi comic is as relevant (if not more so) than ever, but despite digging into real issues like prejudice and xenophobia, it does so with a biting humor that will make it nearly impossible to put down. —J.S.

Buy it: Amazon

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Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals: Tech, Video Games, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, and More


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Black Friday is finally here, and Amazon is offering great deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.


Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40)

- Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition; $190 (save $30)

- Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer; $125 (save $75)

- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville; $120 (save $60)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75)

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $80 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10)

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $16 (save $11)

- HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances


- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

- Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31)

- TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

- Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

- Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30)

Video games


- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; $40 (save $20)

- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; $50 (save $10)

- Marvel's Avengers; $25 (save $33)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

- The Sims 4; $24 (save $20)

- God of Warfor PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

- Days Gonefor PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

- Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets


- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250)

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $335 (save $64)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs


- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $120 (save $79)

- Seneo Wireless Charger, 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station; $16 (save $10)

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

- DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Headphones and speakers


- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones; $120 (Save $80)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $175 (save $75)

- JBL Boombox; $280 (save $120)

Movies and TV


- Game of Thrones: The Complete Series; $115 (save $89)

- Jurassic World 5-Movie Set; $23 (save $37)

- Deadwood: The Complete Series; $42 (save $28)

- Back to the Future Trilogy; $15 (save $21)

Toys and Games


- Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits; $15 (save $10)

- Exploding Kittens Card Game; $10 (save $10)

- Cards Against Humanity: Hidden Gems Bundle; $14 (save $5)

- LOL Surprise OMG Remix Pop B.B. Fashion Doll; $29 (save $6)

- LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle 92177 Expert Building Kit; $56 (save $14)



- Casper Sleep Element Queen Mattress; $476 (save $119)

- ZINUS Alexis Deluxe Wood Platform Bed Frame; $135 (save $24)

- ROMOON Dresser Organizer with 5 Drawers; $59 (save $11) 

- AmazonBasics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains; $26 (save $5)

- Writing Desk by Caffoz; $119 (save $21)

- SPACE Seating Office Support Managers Chair; $112 (save $116)

- Rivet Globe Stick Table Lamp; $53 (save $17)

- Christopher Knight Home Merel Mid-Century Modern Club Chair; $188 (save $10)

- Walker Edison Furniture Industrial Rectangular Coffee Table; $121 (save $48)



- MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light; $21 (save $12) 

- Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balms Set of Six; $6 (save $4)

- HAUS LABORATORIES By Lady Gaga: LE RIOT LIP GLOSS; $7 (save $11)

- Native Deodorant for Men and Women Set of Three; $25 (save $11) 

- BAIMEI Rose Quartz Jade Roller & Gua Sha; $14 (save $3)

- Honest Beauty Clearing Night Serum with Pure Retinol and Salicylic Acid; $20 (save $8)

- WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Hair Conditioner Set; $30 (save $5) 

- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser; $15 (save $5)

- wet n wild Bretman Rock Shadow Palette; $9 (save $6)

- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid; $25 (save $6)



- Ganni Women's Crispy Jacquard Dress; $200 (save $86) 

- The Drop Women's Maya Silky Slip Skirt; $36 (save $9)

- Steve Madden Women's Editor Boot; $80 (save $30)

- adidas Women's Roguera Cross Trainer; $40 (save $25)

- Line & Dot Women's Elizabeth Sweater; $74 (save $18)

- Levi's Men's Sherpa Trucker Jacket; $57 (save $41)

- Adidas Men's Essentials 3-Stripes Tapered Training Joggers Sweatpants; $28 (save $12)

- Timex Men's Weekender XL 43mm Watch; $32 (save $20)

- Ray-Ban Unisex-Adult Hexagonal Flat Lenses Sunglasses; $108 (save $46) 

- Reebok Men's Flashfilm Train Cross Trainer; $64 (save $16)

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13 Black Friday Deals You Can Take Advantage of Right Now


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For a limited time, you can save an additional 20 percent on tons of amazing products you’ve had your eye on over at The Mental Floss Shop with the coupon code BFSAVE20.

1. Probase Gen2 Usb-C 3.1 Laptop Stand; $116 (37 Percent Off W/ Code Bfsave20)


Toss all those adaptors and swap them for this single laptop stand that connects with just one USB-C port and is equipped with three USB3.1 Gen2 ports and two memory card readers.

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2. Apple Ipad 4 9.7-Inch 16GB (Certified Refurbished) Bundle; $120 (40 Percent Off)


Get the 9.7-inch retina display and Wi-Fi connectivity you’ve been dreaming of with this certified refurbished iPad 4. It scored a B-rating which means it only has some aesthetic markings.

*Apple iPad 4 excluded from code

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This portable, pocket-sized sensor can read the color of any material or surface you point it at and pick a paint brand that matches the exact tone.

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If your workstation is indefinitely at home these days, you may be considering investing in your desktop setup. This touchscreen monitor has a 1080p resolution and is small enough to travel with you anywhere.

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6. Docking Station For Iphone/Apple Watch; $110 (25 Percent Off W/ Code Bfsave20)


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7. Apple Imac 21.5-Inch Core I5, 8GB Ram 1TB Hdd (Refurbished); $680 (47 Percent Off)


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*Apple iMac excluded from coupon code

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*Apple MacBook excluded from coupon code

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This pen can help you organize your notes, scribbles, and calendar. Everything you write with it gets digitized and stored so you can access every little note wherever you are.

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10. Magnetic Power Tiles // Four-In-One Wireless Charging Station; $32 (68 Percent Off W/ Code Bfsave20)


These Magnetic Power Tiles can be arranged however you'd like and can charge three devices wirelessly at the same time.

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11. High Definition Monocular Telescope; $35 (35 PERCENT OFF)


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*Monoscope excluded from coupon code

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12. Innotech Bluetooth 4.0 Smart Scale, Bmi Analyzer, And Health Monitor; $43 (37 PERCENT OFF W/ CODE BFSAVE20)


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Prices subject to change.

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