Discussion Post: My Complicated Relationship with Book Series

I’ve had book series on my mind a lot lately. I think it stems from the Top Ten Tuesday topic a few weeks ago where we had to list ten series we want to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. I did my list of 10, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could have easily listed 2 or 3 times that many series. That of course got my wheels turning and thinking about not only the series I haven’t gotten to yet but also all of the ones I’ve but have yet to finish. Again, the list is endless. All of this really got me thinking about my overall relationship with book series. Why I put off starting series forever and why even once I start one do I take so long to actually read all of the books?

And here’s what I came up with…IT’S COMPLICATED!

 

 

I seem to have a lot of random quirks when it comes to series, so I thought I’d share and see if I have any kindred spirits out there.

 

1. Series are amazing in the sense that they give me more time to get to know my favorite characters. I especially love all of the added opportunities to get more backstory on them. Lucien from ACOTAR and Holland from the Shades of Magic series immediately come to mind with respect to the backstories.

As much as I love this though, there’s a downside as well. The more I get to know characters, the more attached I get, which means when it’s finally time to say goodbye to them, I’m left with a broken heart. The Harry Potter series is a prime example here. I cried like a baby when I finished that last book.

via GIPHY

So yeah, series can be a very emotional experience for me.

 

2. I’m not really a fan of series where the books can all work as standalones. There are a few I’ll make an exception for, like the Stephanie Plum series just because it’s so hilarious, but otherwise I tend to avoid these. What I don’t like is that each book in a series like this tends to spend a lot of time rehashing and summarizing who all of the characters are and their basic relationships to each other. I always get bored and find myself skipping a lot of pages because it’s like deja vu: “Wait, didn’t I read all of this, almost verbatim, in the last three books in this series?”

via quickmeme.net

My definite preference here is a series where you have to read all of the books in the correct order and where one book picks up right where the last book left off.

 

3. I’m quirky when it comes to series length as well. I enjoy duologies and trilogies, but once I get past the 3 book mark, I start to get a little testy and nitpicky. I find myself more critical of the books the longer a series get, almost editing them in my mind as I’m reading, questioning whether certain passages or, in some cases, whole chapters were even necessary because they felt like filler. I did this quite a bit this week actually as I was reading A Court of Wings and Ruin. I think it’s my brain’s way of trying to shorten the series for me because I’ve about reached my limit.

via memegenerator.net

Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia are probably the only exceptions to my series length preference.

 

4. I typically won’t start a series until at least two books have been published. Why?  Because if there’s a cliffhanger ending in the first book, I want to have the option to keep reading immediately rather than waiting a year to get the next book.  That’s not to say I actually will continue with the series immediately (see # 5)..  I just want to know the possibility is there.  Having that second book at the ready is like a security blanket for me, I guess, haha.

via movieboozer.com

5. I don’t usually like to binge read series. I think this goes back to the whole saying goodbye to the characters issue (see # 1).  In my mind, the faster I read a series, the sooner I have to say goodbye so binging is a big no.

via fyireblue.com

 

So there you have it, all of my bookish quirks when it comes to reading series.  Do we share any quirks?  Do you have quirks of your own when it comes to series?

 

30 replies
  1. Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger
    Jordan @ The Heart of a Book Blogger says:

    I’m the opposite of you because I LOVE to binge series! I like to do this since I’m already deep in the world after finishing the first book. If I wait a year+ to read a sequel, I tend to forget a lot, even if I loved the first book. I hardly have time to read a book nowadays, let alone reread multiple books, so this way stops the frustration and confusion I feel if I don’t remember something important.
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  2. Corina Paris
    Corina Paris says:

    Love this post!! Every time I try to find standalone I realize that 90% of my books are all series. I don’t know why authors have to always add on to books. Anyway, I have some series that I hope they’ll never end like Ilona Andrews, JD Robb, Anne Bishop, John Sanford – but others, they could have easily stopped after three books. Some series even made me stop reading because it went on too long. It’s like a good TV show, stop when you are on the top, don’t prolong it just to milk the audience for money. 😀

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  3. Elise @ Roaming Reader
    Elise @ Roaming Reader says:

    It’s always sad to say goodbye to characters, but I rather a series end after a few books rather than draw it out until I don’t care anymore. I probably binge read series more than anything because if I don’t I often don’t go back to finish the series. I recently binged all of Sarah J Maas’s books (yeah that took about a month XD). I loved them at first (I read ACOTAR first) but the further I got into her books the more I noticed some of her tropes and started to get annoyed. Idk I still like her books but I never liked Throne of Glass (except maybe Heir of Fire) as much as I wanted to.
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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, I really don’t like it when a series goes on longer than it probably should have. It starts to feel like a chore to continue reading it. I just finished ACOWAR and can’t decide if I want to go back and read Throne of Glass or not. Seems like people either love that series or hate it.
      Suzanne recently posted…Weekly Recap #9: Week of 7/9 – 7/15My Profile

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  4. Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons
    Sarah @ Reviews and Readathons says:

    I agree with so many of these! I wish I could wait until the next book was out in a series to start it, but I get impatient…and then frustrated when I have to wait a year. 🙂 I sometimes binge read, but it does usually leave me with an empty feeling (case in point: The Six of Crows duology–I need more!). One of my biggest compulsions with series is that even if I start to dislike it…I really feel the need to finish them, even if it takes me years. Usually I don’t need to finish them if I really dislike the first book, but once I’ve read more than one, I’m in it for the long haul. Great post!

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  5. Angela
    Angela says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with series. I’m reading a couple of very long series right now, and although I like the books, it feels overwhelming sometimes, like that’s all I’m reading. I prefer shorter series, I think. They just seem more manageable and the stories seem tighter, not too much wandering or extraneous plotlines or characters.

    I too like to wait until at least two books are out before starting a series, although I don’t always – waiting who knows how long for the next book to be released is hard!

    I do like to binge-read, though, because then everything is fresh in my mind and I don’t have to wrack my brain trying to remember things.

    Great discussion!
    Angela recently posted…Review: Sisters One, Two, ThreeMy Profile

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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Shorter series are much better for me too. Like you say, more manageable and less of what feels like filler material. It always bums me out when I start out loving a series but then it starts to just drag on, like maybe the author was contracted to write 6 books but ran out of ideas by book 4. Those last couple of books become a chore to read.
      Suzanne recently posted…Weekly Recap #9: Week of 7/9 – 7/15My Profile

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  6. Lauren Becker
    Lauren Becker says:

    My biggest problem with series is that I’ll read the first book and then by the time the next one comes out, I don’t really have time to read it and I tend to forget things, but I don’t have time to re-read. So yeah, maybe if I read less than I do now, they would be easier, but it’s nice when all or most of the books are already out so I know I can fit them in more easily instead of waiting for them to be released.

    -Lauren
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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m the same way. That’s why I usually won’t start a series until the second book has come out. That way, even though I don’t binge read much, I can still pick up that second book before I forget what I’ve read in the first one, lol.

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  7. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    I have such a difficult relationship with series. I like them but have a hard time keeping up with them. I actually love a series that can be read as stand alones. Those are mostly in contemporaries though. I don’t normally binge read series although I did binge listen to Harry Potter and it was great. Fun discussion!
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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I have a hard time keeping up with them too. It was a little easier to keep up before I started blogging but series have still just always been my reading downfall.

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  8. Vijayalakshmi
    Vijayalakshmi says:

    I prefer series to stand alone books, honestly, because like you I get attached to characters. That said, I hate it when series do cliff hangers, so I prefer series made up of books that can stand alone. The Amelia Peabody series for example.
    But a lot of series now do end on cliff hangers and poor me has to wait for them 😊
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  9. Greg Hill
    Greg Hill says:

    It IS complicated with series, I agree! And while I had not thought about it, I think I like series more too when they’re not standalones necessarily. Great point! And it’s a great feeling when you start a series and the next book or two are already out- that way if you like it you can just move right along. 🙂 Unless you don’t like binging ha ha!
    Greg Hill recently posted…Sunday Post #203My Profile

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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, I’m not much for binging but I do like knowing the next book is out, just in case the mood to binge hits me or at least so that I can pick it up and start reading before I forget what I read in the prior book.

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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Haha, I get distracted a lot too! There’s so much great stuff out there to read so I get torn between continuing on with a series and characters I already know or starting a new book and meeting new characters and seeing a different world.

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  10. Jasmine
    Jasmine says:

    Love your reasons! haha.. I agree with that cliffhanger and saying goodbye to characters hehe.. but you know, there’s always a re-read? 🙂 I also like duology and series that are 3 books. Long ones are intimidating to me 🙂

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  11. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I definitely feel the same about series…especially when it comes to the fact that the more books are in a series, the better you get to know (and love) the characters, like you pointed out with Harry Potter. I really loved that series and I too cried when I finished the last book.

    As far as series go, I usually find myself only reading one or two every now and again…I’m really picky and sometimes I just get tired of reading about the same stuff. Don’t get me wrong, some books I absolutely love and wish the series would never end (such as Colleen Oakes’s Blood of Wonderland series), but others (like The Maze Runner series) I just can’t find myself able to keep interest in.

    This was a really awesome and thoughtful post to read. Thanks for sharing!
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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about trying to keep up with series. I definitely tend to get bored if I spend too much time reading about the same stuff. Probably another reason why I don’t typically binge read them. I’ve not read the Blood of Wonderland series though so will have to check out that one.

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  12. Jorie
    Jorie says:

    Hallo, Hallo Suzanne!

    I was reading through your List here about Serial Fiction – the good bits and the anguish of awaiting new installments whilst fearing the time when we have to ‘let go’ of the series, too!? I totally could relate to you – which is why this post inspired me to talk about my own grief in resolving how to read serial fiction or rather, just admit I’ll have a lot of emotional ties going through them and even though it breaks my bookish heart to ‘let go’, I must! It’s the moments we have with the series I cherish the most – therefore, I’ve updated my Sunday Post to reflect you inspired this section of my digest weekly journal (it’s a new meme I’m contributing too!) — as it just went live round 2am this morning — I was trying to remember *everything!* I wanted to link too and mention – sorry I had forgotten to link to this post, however, Sarah @ Reviews & Readathons had mentioned your post and *bam!* I remembered I wanted to link to this myself! Ergo, my post is updated!

    Despite all the ups/downs serial fiction gives me — I truly am a serial fiction girl at heart! I just love the continuation of the characters’ lives and I love being able to ‘revisit’ with my dearly loved bookish worlds!
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  13. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    I actually like binge reading… I’ll get through all of the books really quickly but when it gets to the last book and I only have one chapter left. I put the book down and leave it for days, sometimes weeks because I don’t want to say goodbye 🙂

    If I have to wait for books to come out, most of the time I forget and the next thing I know i’m like 5 books behind and by then i’ve moved on. I also complete agree with every book being a standalone!

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