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I'm sure there are people who would disagree, but my favorite books featuring a heroine's journey are the Mistborn ones by Brandon Sanderson. The journey of a character named Vin is a fascinating one as she goes from being a common street urchin to discovering her "Allomantic" powers and strengthening them through intense training. I don't want to reveal any spoilers, but the position where she ends up after a few books is in stark contrast to where she started out and makes for a roller-coaster ride.
1. Something from the Nightside by Simon R. Green. Something from the Nightside, and indeed all of the books in the series like Agents of Lights and Darkness, Hex and the City, Hell to Pay, A Hard Day's Knight etc. features a protagonist like this. His name is John Taylor and has access to a number of abilities that make him very overpowered. His primary ability is to find things, which is a lot more useful than what you may think. For example, he can "find" the weak points of any opponent he faces and "find" shortcuts to anywhere he needs to go. Since he has werewolf blood, it is also almost impossible to kill him as he would simply regenerate. There are a couple of other things, but overall this character is just a total bad-ass.

2. Storm Front by Jim Butcher. Storm Front is the first book in The Dresden Files series and it was followed by a whole bunch of sequels. The protagonist is named Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden and he is not just a powerful wizard, but also a detective. Harry has access to a number of powerful spells like fire and wind along with lightning, ice and cold. To be fair, Harry doesn't start out as all powerful, but over the course of the fifteen or so books he has escaped death more times than what I can count.

3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. I would argue that Gandalf is the most powerful (and overpowered) character in The Lord of the Rings series. He is not just a very powerful wizard, but also able to use his scheming tactics to persuade those around him to do what he needs them to do. One thing that a lot of people who have watched the movies do not realize is that Gandalf is not just a mere mortal, but actually an angelic being of great power. This would explain why he isn't just incredibly long-lived, but also managed to come back from the dead even more powerful than before.
A "different cultural perspective" is obviously going to depend on where you are from, but since I am from the United States, I found Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt to be a fascinating book. It is a memoir by the author, so don't go expecting a novel, but honestly I laughed and cried just as much reading this book as I did with some of the best fictional stories. It is about the author's family who move to America from Ireland and have to deal with poverty as well as various social issues. They end up having to move back to Ireland after a few years, which results in the children being bullied due to their American accents. The family have to deal with a LOT of personal tragedies, including multiple deaths of children, and these parts of the story affected me the most. They also experienced poverty on a level that many of us today couldn't even begin to imagine. There is some humor in the book two and it is very uplifting to see what the author made of himself after having to deal with such harsh conditions, so don't let the depressing tone at the start put you off from finishing the story.
At this point I'm too scared to hope for any of my favorite books to become television shows because all the ones so far have been massive disappointments. Case in point the Legend of The Seeker series that turned the awesome fantasy epic of Terry Goodkind into a generic, watered down, young adult snoozefest that bears very little resemblance to the books. Then, wouldn't you know it, the same thing happened with the Shannara books by Terry Brooks, which got turned into the teen friendly Shannara Chronicles. Like Legend of the Seeker, the show barely limped to a second season before it was canceled. Now I've heard that Justin Cronin's vampire trilogy is being turned into a television show, but before filming has even begun they have started to butcher the source material by cutting out characters and gender swapping others. I guess that Fox has already proven that they don't know how to turn books into a good television series, just look at Wayward Pines for proof of this.
To me all books are meaningful in some way or another, although obviously some are more meaningful than others. One of my all time favorites is the Yann Martel book, Life of Pi. I think that most people have either read the book or at the very least watched the movie, but here is a summary just in case; It's about a young Indian boy who immigrated to America along with his family and the animals from the zoo that they operated. Unfortunately the boat sinks during the trip and Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with an assortment of wild animals, including a massive Bengal tiger that is named Richard Parker. On one level the book is about the journey Pi has to make to survive and inhabit the same space as a ferocious animal, but it also has a deeper meaning that only becomes clear towards the end of the book.
Gregory Dew - A Florida Whodunit, Unsavory Characters and Seedy Endeavors
FEATURED AUTHOR - Gregory Dew spends his time fishing the Ponce Inlet waters, sipping chilly beverages with his wife, and doing his best not to run aground. As our Author of the Day, he tells us all about his latest novel, Portside Screw, which was the Second Place Winner in the Florida Writer's Association Royal Palm Literary Awards and Runner up for the Mystery Fest Key West Whodunit award. Please give us a short introduction to what Portside Screw is about Retired PI Jack Cubera is enjoying the chill and… Read more