Musing Mondays — Series

Today’s Musing Mondays question is actually something I’ve been thinking about lately: “Do you read books that are part of a series? Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?”

To the first question: Oh, heck yes, do I read series. Most recently I reported in on Flavia de Luce, but I’m also a sucker for a good Thursday Next, and I’ve mainlined series like the Codex Alera or the Bartimaeus trilogy or the Hitchhiker’s Guide “trilogy” after they were done or almost done and had a great time with them. And I often get tricked into reading series, like with the aforementioned Flavia, because I think they’ll stand alone but then they are totally series and I’m like, okay, sweet.

So, to the second: Yes. I’m generally not seeking out series to read, because I’m generally not planning my reading farther out than “Ooh shiny book,” so most of my series reading starts with the first book, or going back to the first book because the second one is shiny — but I do like to start at number one if I realize that that’s an option. If the series is finished and it’s reasonably short and I’ve heard good things, I’ll probably be interested in checking it out, but if it’s, say, fifteen or so 800-page books, it’s going to take some doing (see: my husband’s unending mission to get me to read the rest of the Wheel of Time series). Similarly, I re-read the then-entirety of Harry Potter before the fourth and fifth books came out, but for the last two I decided that there was just too much to go back for. So don’t ask me what happened in the last three books, because I’ve only read them once each!

The reason I’ve been thinking about series lately is that with the new job and all, I’m just not finding as much time to read as I did back in the days of grad school and unemployment, so I’m trying not to read things I’m not going to like. The problem with series, like, again, Flavia, is that sometimes one books is awesome and the next isn’t but then the next is awesome again and so I just don’t know what to do! I wasn’t thrilled with Tana French‘s third book, but I adored the first two… when the fourth comes out this summer, I know I’m going to read it but I don’t know if I’m going to like it. But I can’t not read it, because what if it’s amazing again? (See also: the third season of Coupling, which is absolutely terrible but I watched the whole dang thing.)

What about you guys? Do you get as anxious about series as I do? Are there any that I should give a chance?

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8 thoughts on “Musing Mondays — Series

  1. Tina says:

    I love Coupling! Even the not-so-good third season is some of my favorite television. Of course, I’m a bit of an Anglophile.

    As for the question, I like to read a whole series, but these days I’m not reading more than a book every week to ten days, so I’m more likely to crave variety. Back in high school, when I’d read five to 8 books a week, I got through things fast enough to read all of a set without needing a break from whatever type of book.

    • Alison says:

      I am forever in love with the first two seasons of Coupling. The end. 🙂

      And oh, man, when I was younger I ate series for breakfast. It took a lot of effort to read anything else! I think I prefer my varied books, though, much better for the brain.

    • Alison says:

      It’s so saddening! And then you’re like, should I read the third? What if it’s fantastic? But what if it’s even worse? Oh, the pain of the unknown!

  2. Tanya Patrice says:

    I like reading books in a series every now and again but not all the time, and I definitely don’t like ones where the series goes on for more than 6 books (with a few exceptions). A few that I’ve read recently and loved – if you like YA – Vampire Academy, Hunger Games. Adult – Millenium trilogy (Stieg Larsson).

    • Alison says:

      Yeah, I definitely shy away from super-long series, especially if there’s no end in sight — I like my stories to have some semblance of closure! I haven’t read the Vampire Academy series but I see it all the time. Perhaps I’ll check it out!

  3. Cari says:

    I may have to tackle this in a blog post too because I have so much to say! I enjoy series as well, but it can get very irritating when the second or third or fourth book is disappointing. I feel the same way in that I don’t have as much time to read anymore, or won’t after the baby comes, so I have to be more choosy. I have a friend who has weird requirements about series – like, they all have to be out before she starts them – but I would never have read many of the series I’m into if I followed that rule, because they are continuous, or take forever to come out.

    • Alison says:

      You definitely should! I heard you talking about series yesterday on your podcast, and I was like, coincidence! I already mostly don’t read super-long series, so I’d probably be okay with only starting ones that are done, although I feel like you miss a lot of pop-culture/current-event stuff if you wait too long.

      Off topic: Every time I hear you say “John Green” I’m like “lalalalala I’m not listening no spoilers no spoilers” because I bought the dang thing and therefore have no deadline by which to finish it but also my library STILL hasn’t bought it so I’d be in the same predicament even if I hadn’t gotten my fancy signed copy. Sigh. I just need to find an afternoon where I can devour it in one sitting!

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