Sunday, November 7, 2010

[Twitter Talk] Series: Do you dive in OR do you wait?

I have a complicated relationship with series. Series tend to never ever end, unless we're talking about trilogies, which are predestined to come in three. I, on the other hand, tend to forget my own birthday. I know the date, but whenever it comes, it's a surprise for me. The other thing the series do is that it takes a while for the next installment to pop up, which does not mix well with my memory. You can sense where this is going...

Anyway, recently, I decided that I wanted to immerse myself into the FULL epic fantasy style of life aka mammoth series of individual books that can be used as weapons. But because of my memory I've always restricted myself and waited for a series to come to a conclusion before I dive in. This supposedly defies the very LAWS and CREEDS of being a bibliophile [yes, I like to think in extremes] so I wanted to see whether there was anyone else like me.

The question: Do you dive in a series or wait patiently for it to end?

Turns out that people are unanimous:

@ManOfLaBook: I dive into a series. It's exciting to wait for the next book. BUT - I must start from book 1 even if it's from 20 yrs ago

@Pallekenl: Depends, but usually I dive in. I always try to hold off, but I always give in too!

@murf61: I have a bad habit of reading the first in a series then losing interest. Usually buy 1st on release, which could be why

@chiddle84: Dive in, waiting is too tough...

@shadowflame1974: I have to read the latest and then IMPATIENTLY wait for the next one.

@Rhube: Dive in! Every time. Miss out too much, & how do you know it;s worth the wait? Plus, sometimes waiting heightens anticipation.

I dive in

I seem to have asked a very stupid question, but I wanted to find out whether I was not alone in my ways of restriction. The answer is more than obvious, but I welcome anybody else who would like to share his/hers view on the matter. Next week I promise to keep the questions a bit more controversial.


Anonymous said...

You're not alone. I love series because you know there'll be more than one book, and I love the savour of anticipation, but you're not the only person I know who says 'I wait until it's done'. I couldn't do it, and I know that at least one of my favourite series I wouldn't have gotten as much out of if I had waited for book 7 to be out, but different people like different things. If you know the waiting will drive you crazy, then hey, diving in probably isn't the best thing for you.

Harry Markov said...

The wait is driving me insane for one, then I forget what I've read in prior books and I forget which series I'm following. BAH. So I wait for the series to end. I mean, I do forget that I want to read it, so it is bearable.

Weirdmage said...

I usually buy the first book in a series and read that. If I like it I will buy the rest of the books. But I usually will wait until all the books are out if it's a new series before reading the rest of the books.

I think I waited seven years for Stephen Donaldson to finish his "Gap" series. Read first one when new, and bought the rest when new, and when the last book came I read them all.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

My reading style has changed over the years (as I became more serious about writing my own books). I'm a big fan of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, books which definitely qualify as meaty tomes worthy of being used as weapons in an emergency! Book 4 had just come out when a friend turned me on the series, and I dove right in. I used to live in anticipation of that next book, even though it took about two years between releases.

To get by those two years, I always re-read the entire series before the next book was released, sometimes MORE. Yes, that means I read the first book at least ten times. When book 6 came out, I read it straight thru in about 24 hours.

But then the books came further and further apart. Around book 7/8 the plot slowed. There just wasn't the same incentive to gobble the lastest as quickly as possible, let alone read all the prior books. I knew them by heart anyway, and I didn't care to reread books after #6.

I'm sad to say that I quit reading the series entirely. I still buy the hardcover faithfully and I sobbed when RJ passed away. But I haven't read since book 11 and I don't plan to again until the Last Battle is in my hands. Then I'll read the entire series one last time.

I made the same decision with George RR Martin's series. I've read the first three, but I'm not going to read any more until the entire series is done. I can't remember the characters, who's even still alive!

Since I've cut back on my all-time favorite series, I have to admit that I'm very very reluctant to allow myself to become attached to any new lengthy series.

benito said...

I have learned to wait; believe it or not, I've not read one word of the Wheel Of Time or Harry Potter because I can't start a series and have to wait literally years to find out what happens next! Its only now that the last Potter movie is being released that I'm watching the previous films and reading the books. I'd rather wait, then read the entire series in one big gulp!

Harry Markov said...

@Weirdmage: I think that this is a very smart thing to do. Determine, if the series is right for you, by doing a sample of it. I will keep that in mind.

Glad to see that I'm not the sole person, who does this.

Harry Markov said...

Joely: OUCH. I mean, seriously, I'd never ever re-read a huge series like that. I'm against re-reading in general, UNLESS it's a very special book and it has to be one book, not a series of bricks.

I can feel your pain.

Harry Markov said...

@Benito: It's way more intense, no? Then all the small details that you would forget in-between waiting for books to come would remain fresh and awesome. :)

Anonymous said...

the mammoth epic fantasy series of books that can be used as weapons?

would that be WoT?

when it comes to series, I dive right in. if i read the first book and like it, I buy the next one (or wait anxiously for it to come out), and the next one (or wait anxiously for it to come out), and on and on.

I've been rewarded with a bookshelf covered in series that haven't been completed by the author yet.

Harry Markov said...

WoT, SoF&I, the Erickson series. All of these can be used as weapons.

I then have to ask you, how do you manage to keep tabs with what has happened in earlier books?

Seak (Bryce L.) said...

I realize I'm a bit late to this one, but I'm chiming in anyway.

First, I understand the desire to wait. It's hard to argue especially in light of what happened with WoT or ASoIaF.

But, there's something to be said about giddily awaiting the next, or final, book in the series. The wait, the anticipation, the glee when you finally get your hands on it and devour it immediately. Plus, it's just fun to be sucked into something lots of people are excited about.

Then, there's the economic effects. My economics major makes me have to talk about this. :) It's much better for the publishing industry (and the reader as well) when you buy the books immediately. Usually this goes hand in hand with reading or else you probably wouldn't buy a whole series as it comes out.

Although I've been guilty of buying wholes series without reading anything from the author, but this is usually upon recommendations.

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