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)

A cover of a book in the 'Southern Reach 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)

The 'His Dark Materials' book cover.
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)

'The Neapolitan Novels' book covers.
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

A book in the 'My Struggle' series.
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)

A book from 'The Parker Novels.'
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

The 'Sherlock Holmes' series.

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

A collection of works by Edgar Allen Poe.
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)

A book that's part of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.'
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 Last Kingdom.

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)

Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars 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)

Transmetropolitan 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

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

13 Father's Day Gifts for Geeky Dads


When in doubt, you play the hits. Watches, flasks, and ties are all tried-and-true Father’s Day gifts—useful items bought en masse every June as the paternal holiday draws near. Here’s a list of goodies that put a geeky spin on those can’t-fail gifts. We’re talking Zelda flasks, wizard-shaped party mugs, and a timepiece inspired by BBC’s greatest sci-fi series, Doctor Who. Light the “dad” signal ‘cause it’s about to get nerdy!

1. Lord of the Rings Geeki Tikis (Set of Three); $76

'Lord of The Rings' themed tiki cups.

If your dad’s equally crazy about outdoor shindigs and Tolkien’s Middle-earth, help him throw his own Lothlórien luau with these Tiki-style ceramic mugs shaped like icons from the Lord of the Rings saga. Gollum and Frodo’s drinkware doppelgängers each hold 14 ounces of liquid, while Gandalf the Grey’s holds 18—but a wizard never brags, right? Star Wars editions are also available.

Buy it: Toynk

2. Space Invaders Cufflinks; $9

'Space Invaders' cufflinks on Amazon
Fifty 50/Amazon

Arcade games come and arcade games go, but Space Invaders has withstood the test of time. Now Pops can bring those pixelated aliens to the boardroom—and look darn stylish doing it.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Legend of Zelda Flask; $18

A 'Legend of Zelda' flask

Saving princesses is thirsty work. Shaped like an NES cartridge, this Zelda-themed flask boasts an 8-ounce holding capacity and comes with a reusable straw. Plus, it makes a fun little display item for gamer dads with man caves.

Buy it: Toynk

4. AT-AT Family Vacation Bag Tag; $12

An At-At baggage tag

Widely considered one of the greatest movie sequels ever made, The Empire Strikes Back throws a powerful new threat at Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion: the AT-AT a.k.a. Imperial Walkers. Now your dad can mark his luggage with a personalized tag bearing the war machine’s likeness.

Buy it: ShopDisney

5. Flash Skinny Tie; $17

A skinny Flash-themed tie

We’ll let you know if the Justice League starts selling new memberships, but here’s the next best thing. Available in a rainbow of super-heroic colors, this skinny necktie bears the Flash’s lightning bolt logo. Race on over to Amazon and pick one up today.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Captain America Shield Apron; $20

A Captain America themed apron

Why let DC fans have all the fun? Daddy-o can channel his inner Steve Rogers when he flips burgers at your family’s Fourth of July BBQ. Measuring 31.5 inches long by 27.5 inches wide, this apron’s guaranteed to keep the cookout Hydra-free.

Buy it: Toynk

7. Doctor Who Vortex Manipulator LCD Leather Wristwatch; $35

A Doctor Who-themed watch

At once classy and geeky, this digital timepiece lovingly recreates one of Doctor Who’s signature props. Unlike some of the gadgets worn on the long-running sci-fi series, it won’t require any fancy chronoplasm fuel.

Buy it: Toynk

8. Wonder Woman 3-Piece Grill Set; $21

Wonder Woman three-piece gill set

At one point in her decades-long comic book career, this Amazon Princess found herself working at a fast food restaurant called Taco Whiz. Now grill cooks can pay tribute to the heroine with these high-quality, stainless steel utensils. The set’s comprised of wide-tipped tongs, a BBQ fork, and a spatula, with the latter boasting Wonder Woman’s insignia.

Buy it: Toynk

9. Harry Potter Toon Tumbler; $10

Glassware that's Harry Potter themed
Entertainment Earth

You can never have too many pint glasses—and this Father’s Day, dad can knock one back for the boy who lived. This piece of Potter glassware from PopFun has whimsy to spare. Now who’s up for some butterbeer?

Buy it: EntertainmentEarth

10. House Stark Men’s Wallet; $16

A Game of Thrones themed watch

Winter’s no longer coming, but the Stark family's propensity for bold fashion choices can never die. Manufactured with both inside and outside pockets, this direwolf-inspired wallet is the perfect place to store your cards, cash, and ID.

Buy it: Toynk

11. Mr. Incredible “Incredible Dad” Mug, $15

An Incredibles themed mug

Cue the brass music. Grabbing some coffee with a Pixar superhero sounds like an awesome—or dare we say, incredible?—way for your dad to start his day. Mom can join in the fun, too: Disney also sells a Mrs. Incredible version of the mug.

Buy it: ShopDisney

12. Star Wars phone cases from Otterbox; $46-$56

Star Wars phone cases from OtterBox.

If your dad’s looking for a phone case to show off his love of all things Star Wars, head to Otterbox. Whether he’s into the Dark Side with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, the droids, Chewbacca, or Boba Fett, you’ll be able to find a phone case to fit his preference. The designs are available for both Samsung and Apple products, and you can check them all out here.

Buy it: Otterbox

13. 3D Puzzles; $50

3D Harry Potter puzzle from Amazon.
Wrebbit 3D

Help dad recreate some of his favorite fictional locations with these 3D puzzles from Wrebbit 3D. The real standouts are the 850-piece model of Hogwarts's Great Hall and the 910-piece version of Winterfell from Game of Thrones. If dad's tastes are more in line with public broadcasting, you could also pick him up an 890-piece Downton Abbey puzzle to bring a little upper-crust elegance to the homestead.

Buy it: Hogwarts (Amazon), Winterfell (Amazon), Downton Abbey (Amazon)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

This $30 Guide Will Help You Understand the Stock Market

Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Viktoriia Hnatiuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Demystify the stock market once and for all with this Wall Street Survival and Stock Trading Guide while it’s discounted to $30. With the help of these eight courses, you’ll learn to strategically grow the money you have in just 13 hours.

Long-term investing may take decades to see a steady return, but day trading can earn profits daily, even hourly. The guide's included Day Trading 101 course will teach you about technical analysis and chart indicators, helping you can analyze trading psychology and trends.

Some stocks are better to keep beyond a day as rumors ramp up about changes within a company. The Beginner’s Guide to Swing Trading will teach you the basics of swing trading (where you hold on to a stock for a few days or weeks) and how you can turn it into a part-time moneymaker. You’ll learn from a full-time trader and investor about the mistakes he made in his career, which can help you dodge them yourself.

To the uninitiated, stock charts might as well be in another language. Even if you understand the information it’s conveying, analyzing it into a story for investment is a challenge. This guide includes a course in technical analysis to teach you to see patterns in all time frames, so you can use them as a day trader, swing trader, and even long-term investor.

Once you understand strategies for investing, you may begin to wonder where to start your trading career. That’s why the bundle sets you up to start with a step-by-step guide to finding winning stocks, diversifying your portfolio, and minimizing risk across penny stocks and more. You can continue your education with guides in the Fibonacci method and tape reading.

Get a deeper understanding of the economy and learn how to cut your own sliver of the pie with the Wall Street Survival and Stock Trading Guide for just $30.

The Wall Street Survival & Stock Trading Guide Bundle - $29.99

See Deal

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.