Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Musings: Commitment Issues with Book Series

I've come to realize I have serious commitment issues when it comes to book series. I have a really hard time reading a complete series. Even series that I like! One that comes to mind is Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books. I adored the first installment in the series -- I think I even gave it a 5 star -- but I've never read any of the others in the series. My list of unfinished series grows by the day.

I think there are serveral reasons for my bad habit.

1) I am a slow reader. This may sound crazy, especially considering I was an English major, but I have always been a slow reader. During college, I always tried to get the syllabus as soon as possible so I could start chunking away on the required reading. If I didn't start early, I couldn't get everything read.

2) There is just so much good stuff out there. Once I read the first book in a series, I'm anxious to get onto something else new. Every day when I read book blogs, there's almost always a review that makes me go WOW, I want to read THAT! There's no way to read everything that looks good, but at least by reading the first book in a series I get a wider sampling.

3) I love to learn. This ties into #2 in a way. Since I am always learning and improving my own writing skills when I read, I like to expose myself to as many different books and writers as possible. I don't feel like I am learning as much when I get to Book 6 of a series. A lot of the techniques found in the first book of a series can be found in the rest.

4) There are very few series that I love to the point where I feel compelled to finish a series. In the past 2 years, I can only think of 3 series that I loved this much: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, As the World Dies by Rhiannon Frater, and Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. (I would like to add Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee, but she only has 1 book out in her series so far.)

Maybe this all boils down to me having a short attention span and being super picky? Am I alone in this? Generally speaking, do you guys finish an entire series when you start it?


  1. I have the exact same issues! Point number 2 resonates with me bigtime. I read so many blogs and they're all raving about the latest craze that the books I know I've enjoyed get pushed to the side. Also, like you there aren't many books that I love so much I just have to read the next book. Sometimes even the books I love are dismissed for something new. This happens when the author takes their sweet time writing the next installment. We readers are really difficult to please aren't we?

  2. The only time I've powered through an entire series was with George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice & Fire series (better known these days as the Game of Thrones series). I started reading the books after watching and loving the television show. I read through all five books one after another in the span of a most of a year. I loved them to death, but I felt very weary afterward, and I'm reasonably certain that if there had been a sixth book out already, I wouldn't have been able to pick it up.

    That's the double edged sword of those long, epic series. The freedom they give the author to weave an intricate tale in a deep, crafted world is fantastic, but they take real commitment from the reader! It's no wonder writers like Martin and Patrick Rothfuss are regularly cursed by their readers for taking long periods between each book release.

  3. It is hard to say what makes me pick up Book 2 OR what makes me complete a series. I think it must be characters. For the Lord of the Rings it was Aragorn and Gandalf, for Harry Potter is was probably Snape and Dumbledore, I think Bella's father in Twilight...Alice Hoffman doesn't write series, but I read many of her books. Yes, it's the same style, and almost always a magnificently whole female character who breaks into a million pieces, often enough on the rocks of her own self-destruction, but there is always that grace note of hope.

    Great topic!

  4. I hear ya. I just tend to lose interest between books. That's why I love starting a series that has several books out.

    Great post!

  5. Andrea makes an excellent point! It's the same reason I love watching TV shows on don't have to wait another week for the next episode, lol!

  6. I think I have this problem, sort of. I totally know what you mean about being a slow reader. I don't even think that's what it is. I'm a savorer. Does that make sense? I read slower to savor the writing, the story, the everything being thrown at me all at once. I read for deeper meaning, thus I read slower. Although, when deeper meaning isn't there, I can read fast, or if the writing is written to be read fast.

    Anyway, it does make it harder for me to move on to Book 2, or Book 3 sometimes, but not when I'm so in love with a book series that I must know the rest of the story. If I'm crazed or obsessed enough, I'll keep reading until the books stop being good, or I run out of books to read in the series.

    Now I want to see how many series I have followed through with, so far. I start quite a few, like you, but I bet I don't follow up on getting to Book 2 as much as I think I do. I must find out! You've made me so curious now!

  7. My biggest problem is that there's just too many series. I can't read them all let alone keep track of them!

  8. I thought it was just me that felt this way. I sometimes don't finish series, because it also takes the author ages to put out the second, and then you forget what happened in the last book. I'm with you on number two though too. There's just too much good stuff.

    Thanks for stopping by
    @ Livin' Life Through Books

  9. Yep a lot of series I just take forever to get through bc there are so many and so many other series I wanna read, >.< I also often forget when I don't read them all together and it makes me lose interest faster.

  10. Thanks for all your responses, guys! This really has me thinking. If there are so many readers who don't read complete series, should authors be focusing their efforts on producing more fully contained novels? Hmmm...