Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Trouble with Series

I have this terrible problem with starting series or trilogies and then not getting around to finishing them! It is a terrible habit! It isn't even always intentional... I buy the next book as soon as it comes out and I am really excited about it, but then it just sits there. I thought discussing just why people can and cannot finish series would be fun, so I am going to start with admitting my problems.

1. Reading habits: I have several high fantasy series on the go. This is because fantasy is my first love and I really want to read it all the time! The last couple years, though, I have been relying too much on the library and the library lacks a lot of high fantasy authors that I love. So, really all I have to do is read my own books. I just can't seem to actually do so! This means that I haven't read the next book by Terry Goodkind, Robin Hobb, Sara Douglass, Raymond Feist, Jack Whyte, etc, etc. It is also a page thing... I find this year I am sticking to books in the 300 page range because I keep putting longer ones to the side. For example, the newest Robin Hobb and Sara Douglass... I started both of them and still haven't finished either of them! And, I was insanely excited about the new Sara Douglass!

2. Disappointment: I think one of the reasons I stall sometimes on reading the next book in series is because I am worried that it will ruin the series for me. Take Jack Whyte, for example. I have loved his series so far, but then I started seeing blog posts about how the series sort of slows down and isn't as good anymore. So, I keep looking at the next book and agonizing over what I want to do. I will finish the series one day, but I am really slow about it. This works other ways, too. I didn't love the newest Ariana Franklin this year as much as previous volumes in the series. When the new one comes out next year I will likely read it quickly because I am hoping the series will get better again.

3. It is the End: I should have thought this out more and came up with more creative ways to word my points, but anyways... Sometimes I put off reading a book because when it is done, the series is done. Next year the last book in Carrie Ryan's series is out. I think this is part of the reason why I haven't read the newest Sara Douglass and I still have to read the third book in the Robin Hobb trilogy I have on the go. I have other books to read by both authors, but still... I loved the story and characters and I really don't want to have to say good bye!

4. Fear: Okay, this is actually another part of point 2. The best example is Kelley Armstrong. I was loving her Women of the Otherworld series. Then, I read Dime Store Magic. Words cannot describe how much Paige drove me crazy in that book. I stopped reading the series because I was worried that I wouldn't like the next books... I got over it, though! I just need to put some distance between me and the annoying character. That being said, I still haven't read Industrial Magic (the next book after Dime Store Magic). I actually plan to, but I misplaced my copy so I have been reading the later books instead. Paige has grown on me, but I will never reread Dime Store Magic. I would like to pretend that book does not exist!

5. Spoiler-Alert: The best example of this is Mockingjay. I was seeing people talk about it everywhere and I wanted to read it on my own terms before anyone ruined anything for me. I don't love this trilogy as much as other people, so if it wasn't for twitter and blogger I probably would have waited to finish.

6. I Hate Waiting: Sometimes I wait to read books until it is closer to the next book coming out from the author. Especially if there is a really long wait involved. I just make it so there is a more even wait involved. Sometimes I can't do this, though, because I am too excited about the book.

Which brings me to the last one I can think of...

7. Excitement: There are some series that I can just barely wait to get in the mail before reading the next book. One good example is Fables. I started that series last January and I have read every single book in the series since. Now I have to wait for the new ones to comes out, but when they do I am really excited! There is also Patricia Briggs, Ariana Franklin (even though what I said above about the more recent book), Carrie Ryan, Kristen Cashore, Kelley Armstrong, and many other authors.

So, now that you know I am crazy... Why do you read or don't read all the series you have on the go?

18 comments:

  1. I'm the same way! I read the first book in the series by Megan Whalen Turner, The Thief, and have no idea why I haven't read the rest. Must, must read them :)

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  2. LOL--this post just cracked me up!!! I can so relate. I'd hate to even try to count how many series I'm in the middle of. Of course, for me, a good bit of the problem is simply that I don't get enough read period...even if just stuck solely with reading books in series I have started I still couldn't get caught up.

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  3. Oh dear - I hope it wasn't me that may have turned you off to Whyte's books... I don't read a lot of books that are in a series mostly because I'm afraid of the time commitment. I don't like to leave things "unfinished" (which is why I finished Whyte's Camulod Chronicles)and there are so many other books I want to read!

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  4. I usually read the next in the series IMMEDIATELY when it comes out because I just can't wait!

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  5. Series are always problematic to me. I want to read them because I like the depth they offer and I feel more connected to the characters *but* I am impatient to wait and then i forget until I remember and the cycle is done all over again. :) Talk about crazy.

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  6. I love series but sometimes I hate being all caught up as then I have to wait for the next book. I also get a bit irked when a series starts to fall apart for me and I've read several books. I feel like I'm invested in it and should continue! I'm getting out of that habit though so it is getting better :)

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  7. I'm SO with you here Kelly!! I can't tell you how many series I've started over the years...I must be in the middle of about 50 different series right now :/ I remember back in the day, I would get the first book in a series and then read them all in a row and catch up to wherever the series was or read the whole thing if it was all published....now I don't do that at all!! I'll read one book and then go on to something else and then eventually go back to that series at some later point :p There's just TOO MUCH to read!

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  8. One reason I hate to begin recently published "first in series" is because I hate to wait. It is more satisfying to begin a series after several books are out, and you can read on through at your own pace.

    Doesn't stop me from making that mistake over and over again. I'm waiting on the next installment on a couple of series.

    But, as you mention, it is also true that you can over-indulge and get get stalled in a series because of one book that doesn't measure up.

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  9. I don't read all the series I have going in one go, because I end up experiencing burnout. The only series I have going right now is Hunger Games and Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. I'll read Mockingjay as soon as the library sends me my copy (maybe).

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  10. I'm like you so much with series. I have so many I am in the middle of and yet I keep starting new ones. The only one I always get and start reading on release day is Anne Bishop and her Black Jewels series. Then I have to wait a whole year for the next installment argh! I've been putting off reading Obsidian Butterfly in the Anita Blake series. First it's reallyblong and second everyone says it's where the series goes downhill. Will eventually read it...

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  11. I end up only finding out about a series when the 4th book is out and I cant be bothered to go back and read or four. I did give up on the Sookie Stackhouse books at around book 6 because I found it began to get very samey which is also a problem with series

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  12. I do this all the time! Reading ADD on my part. I usually handle trilogies well enough, but series spanning 7-8 books? I tend to drop out...sometimes less than even half-way.

    I did manage to read all the Sookie books at one shot (except for the last one). I really did enjoy that series; also helped that it was for a reading challenge :)

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  13. A long time ago, if I got into a book and it was a series, I often just sat down and read the series, particularly if the series was complete. Now, though, I rarely read beyond the first book. I often just don't have the patience, and it doesn't fit into my schedule. Plus, many times it's just a single plot drawn out into a trilogy, because that's popular marketing these days...

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  14. Thanks for weighing in on your own 'series experiences' everyone! It was fun to read and see that I am not entirely crazy! lol

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  15. I like series, especially when the story is epic and exciting. I think the anticipation, waiting a year or two (or 10, though that's extreme) between books builds the joy for whenever the book is finally released. However, I have a problem when a series stalls or is just long to be long (i.e. The Wheel of Time). Overall, I'm a serial reader, but standalones are always welcome.

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  16. logankstewart: I read a lot of series, too... It doesn't mean I finish them, though! lol Some I don't even tackle...

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  17. I can relate to #5. I read the last Harry Potter book the weekend it came out mainly because I feared being spoiled. I like the HP books, but normally, I wouldn't have felt compelled to go out and buy it and read it right away.

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  18. I have the same problem. This last year I've read the first of series by Jordan, Goodkind, and Martin. There are just so many books I want to get to that series sometimes seem overwhelming and time-consuming.

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