On Serialized Novels

In case you haven’t noticed, my “pile I’m reading” sidebar has two books that have links on them, Makers and Dracula. These are the two serialized novels I’m currently reading and the first ones I’ve ever read as they were serialized. I have, of course, read a few Victorian serials in my life as an English major, but those were already put together as books! So what’s with this return to the serial?

While I sit around and read books cover-to-cover all the time, I know that there are employed people out there with less time on their hands for whom reading a quick blog post is much easier than picking up a book. There are also people, of which I was one while employed, who have some downtime at work but can’t be seen reading a book. To the internet!

An interesting thing is that I’m reading these two novels in serialized form for entirely different reasons. Dracula is a book that I’ve always meant to read, but never wanted to enough to just sit down and read it. Makers is an entirely new book that will be published as a whole in October but is being serialized from now until January. I started reading it because it’s by Cory Doctorow and I enjoyed Little Brother, and now I’m reading it because I’m curious about Doctorow’s vision of the future even if I think the book kind of stinks. And I can do that, because a new installment only comes out every other day and there are lots of other things I’m reading in between installments.

On the reading experience: Makers is easier to follow along, because installments come out regularly and are a chapter long each time. Dracula, the original novel, is epistolary and the blog version has a new post for each letter, with dates matching up in “real time” as it were. So near the beginning there were lots of journal entries from Jonathan Harker; right about now I’ve been reading many shorter entries from other characters. I think the blog is a great conceit, but some of the entries are so far apart, and the topics so disparate, that I have no idea what’s going on!

What do you guys think? Are you interested in serialized novels? Can you keep track of the action? Is there a book you’ve put down that you might read as a serial? Is there a serial you’ve stopped reading that you would have preferred as a book? Is your RSS reader too clogged up already?

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