Before I conclude the Open-Ended Series, let me give you a few closed-ended (still awkward) series. These are series that have a beginning and an end and progress in a logical, chronological order.
John Jakes has 2 - The Kent Chronicles and North and South. The Kent Chronicles is an 8-book set, beginning with an young Englishman that comes over to America before it's America (in the 1760's, if memory serves) and ending in 1908. I loved this series. I recommended book 1, The Bastard, to Josh for his first book this year. He liked it okay. I made a mistake. He's probably not going to read the whole series, so it was silly to have him read just 1. These closed-ended series really only work if you read all of them (sorry, Josh). But if you like historical fiction, you will love this.
The second Jakes series is a trilogy - North and South. It's about 2 brothers in pre-civil war days. They end up on different sides during the war. It follows their progress through the Civil War and a little beyond. This is excellent stuff.
Another author who I really like is Joel Rosenberg. He wrote 5 books about America's involvement with the Middle East and the whole oil thing. It's called The Last Jihad. It has religious end-of-the-world overtones, but that will not affect your enjoyment of the books. He is an excellent writer. He's now written book 1 of a new series called The Twelfth Imam. The first book is of the same name. It is really good and very exciting.
Ken Follett wrote only 2 books about England in the early 20th century. Of course the first one was Pillars of the Earth, and the second one was World without End. I don't know if he's going to write a third or not. Because they were both so good, and because they (loosely) followed each other, and because I like to list these 2 books whenever I can, they're on the list. They're both not to be missed.
Follett has also just written book 1 of The Century Trilogy. The first book is Fall of Giants. I liked it a lot. It isn't Pillars, but then, what is? The second book will be in 2012 and the third in 2014. It goes from WW1 to WW11 to Vietnam.
Many of you may not know that Lonesome Dove (one of my all-time faves) is part of a 4-book series. After Lonesome Dove, he did the final book in the series, Streets of Laredo. Then it was a prequel, Dead Man's Walk. And, finally, he wrote Comanche Moon, which takes place between Dead Man's Walk and Lonesome Dove. I enjoyed all of them, with Lonesome dove being the best, by far.
J.K. Rowling wrote - anybody want to guess? - Harry Potter. I enjoyed those a lot. If you like fantasy, these are pretty darn good.
Finally, there's John Twelve Hawks (I didn't make the name up). He wrote a trilogy called The Fourth Realm. The books, in order, are The Traveler, The Dark River, and The Golden City. It's really about Big Brother and how some companies are trying to control the lives of all citizens (a la George Orwell, in 1984). There is a little bit of science fiction thrown in with the protagonist traveling to another realm, but it works in the context of the story. It's really well done. Be prepared for dark.
Jodi Picoult - 3/16 - Dominican College (The Book Passage) - 7:00
Keith Thomson - 3/18 - Kepler's - 7:00