Interesting enough, I have read with the forums that a lot of people seem to pick up light novels because there is an anime related to it. In fact: I have never watched any anime related to a light novel. With a few exceptions I cannot see any anime out of a light novel would be fun - but that is probably also due the fact that those anime are behind a pay-wall for me.
I'm sort of like this. I got into this Otaku Culture through anime first. The first one I almost watched was Rosario x Vampire but ended up watching Kenichi: Worlds Strongest Disciple (I think I got that right), and I pay for it through Funimation. Then I watched... I believe it was Sekirei or Highschool DxD and I wanted to know more so I looked for the manga. That got me into the fan translations for manga but when that was slow or (as is often the case in the fan stuff) abandoned, I started looking for light novels. This was all before there were very many English manga to be had easily. Now, I'm more likely to go for the anime after reading a really good LN or manga -- which I guess is kind of how it goes for the native Otaku.
The World's Strongest Rearguard -- kind of a "reborn in a video game with a harem" series, but somehow manages to distinguish itself in a low-key way. I think this series works better if you like turn-based RPG's because the battles are structured in that way. In terms of comparisons perhaps it is something like a cross between Infinite Dendrogram (game mechanics -based) and Mixed Bathing (general tone).
I just read this and I enjoyed it. It also reminded me in a good way of Mixed Bathing and Dendro, though the MC is more relaxed than Ray Starling.
It's one of the rare LNs with an older MC, which I appreciate since I'm long past high school age myself.
Ok, my list.
First off, I know it's not coming out until 2020 (or possibly even later) but I gotta say I'm buying Highschool DxD when it comes out. I might even buy the print editions which I don't normally do. It's the first LN I read (fan translations, sadly) and the whole franchise is near and dear to my heart.
Arifureta and Zero - After you get past the dark beginning to the main series, I find the whole series rather light-hearted mixed with spurts of combat. I laugh a little when I read it and just enjoy immersing myself in the world.
A Sister Is All You Need - Because I find to be very funny and I want to laugh. I need to laugh.
Overlord - This whole franchise is SOOO well written. I love the anime. I love the LN. I even like the manga but find it going so slow.
Those are my 1, 2-3, 4, and 5 priority reads. Ones that I can put a reason to. I'm also reading
- How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord
- Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody
- Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World
- Demon Lord, Retry
- Altina the Sword Princess
- Mixed Bathing in Another Dimension
- A Holy Knight's Dark Road
Some books that I've started reading but kinda... lost interest or that I'm thinking about picking up but haven't taken the plunge yet:
- Amagi Brilliant Park
- DanMachi (and spin-offs)
- The Asterisk War
Finally, I plan on going a few volumes into many of the series recently started by JNC when they come out. In particular:
- Tearmoon Empire
- Kobald King
By the Grace of the Gods
How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom
The Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life
Welcome to Japan, Ms. Elf
Plan to read when released:
I’m Only a Stepmother, but My Daughter is Just so Cute!
Middle-Aged Businessman, Arise in Another World!
Release that Witch
Banner of the Stars
Full Metal Panic
In Another World With My Smartphone
Spice and Wolf
Stalled because of lack of translation:
Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero
Alderamin on the Sky
Boogiepop and Others
Lord Marksman and Vanadis
I am giving up giving updates here of what I am reading... seeing how quick the light novels are consumed it is easy to say "everything".
Currently I am almost finished on FUNA after starting last week, and already looking forward on the fresh titles JNC has to offer, while - almost as a matter of course - continuing the series I already started one way or another.