Resolutions come, resolutions go… but one that I’ve been getting better and better about sticking to over the last few years has to do with reading book series.
Last year, one of my bookish resolutions was:
I resolve to (attempt to) read series as a whole — all books in a row — rather than reading them as they come out and then forgetting all the details in between volumes.
This was not meant to be an absolute, of course. I do have some ongoing series that I’m crazy about, and I’ll continue to read those whenever new installments become available. But the intent of the resolution is clear — whenever possible, I want to resist the urge to start new, incomplete series, and focus instead on series that are already published and complete, so I can enjoy them as a whole instead of in bits and pieces.
How did I do? Let’s take a look at the series I read in 2016:
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I had read the first book in the trilogy years ago, but had lost interest by the time the 2nd came out. This year, I listened to the audiobook of book #1, then continued in print with the 2nd and 3rd. (These books really must be read in hard copy in order to get the full experience, since the illustrations are really a part of the story.)
The Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow: I got involved in this excellent series in 2015, and finished up the 20th and most recent book (as well as the four books in the spin-off series) by mid-2016. Such a fantastic reading experience — and I’m thrilled that #21 will be out in 2017!
The Magicians by Lev Grossman: This is another series that I started years ago, and just came back to this year. Prompted by the TV adaptation, I decided to give The Magicians another chance, reread book 1 and then went through 2 and 3, and ended up loving the trilogy as a whole.
The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh: I didn’t love this duology nearly as much as everyone else did, but I’m still glad that I read them together.
The Giver by Lois Lowry: My son read The Giver for school last year, and I realized that I remembered almost nothing about it — so I went ahead and reread The Giver, then read the rest of the books in the quartet.
And now, looking ahead…
Series I plan to read in 2017:
This is partially a plan, partially a wish list. I really do want to read all of these, but we’ll just have to wait and see how many I can actually commit to while still reading everything else that grabs my attention. My priority series for 2017 are:
Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi: I love Scalzi’s writing, and now that I’ve read all of his stand-alones (I think), it’s time to finally dive into the series that’s supposed to be his masterpiece!
Wayward Pines trilogy by Blake Crouch: After reading and loving Dark Matter this year, I absolutely have to check out this trilogy!
Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King: I’ve had Mr. Mercedes on my shelf since it was published. At some point, it seemed to make more sense to wait for all three books to be available before starting. And now, I’m out of excuses!
I have a few series openers that I’m interested in — but not quite ready to commit to at this point.
Last but not least…
Let’s not forget two series I’m already committed to, and look forward to continuing in the New Year:
The Poldark series by Winston Graham: I’ve read the first five books so far. That’s five down, seven to go! I find that I need to space these out, and I don’t want to get too far ahead of the TV show, so perhaps I’ll just tackle another one or two in 2017.
And my very, very favorite:
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs! Silence Fallen, the 10th Mercy book, will be out in March, and I cannot wait. I hope Patricia Briggs continues to create adventures for Mercy (as well as her spin-off series, Alpha & Omega) for many, many years to come.
Anyone else read series as a whole, rather than as they come out? What’s your preferred approach to reading book series? And what series are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Whatever your series-reading style, here’s wishing us all a fantastic year of reading!
23 thoughts on “Serious series reading: A look behind and a look forward”
How are the rest of the books in the Giver series? For the longest time I thought it was a standalone and so did most of my friends so none of us have read them!
I thought that too! They’re all kind of loosely connected. Definitely worth reading. #2 is great, and I thought the final book was a really good wrap-up, with some interesting new directions too.
Such dedication! I jump all over the place. But the one series I did read all in a row was The Giver series (well, I had to wait until Son came out to finish up). I loved those books! I really like the covers of The Wrath & the Dawn and The Rose & the Dagger. Looking forward to see what’s on your shelf in 2017!
Maybe it’s just because I can’t trust my memory. 🙂 I think crazy bookworms (like all of us) read so many books in a year — and for me, the details start to slip away after a few months and so many other books in between. I find I end up enjoying continuing stories much more if I read them close together so I don’t lose the little bits.
I read one inspector Gamache out of order and lived it. Waited a year till I forgot enough and now I’m binge-listening. Love to binge series on my daily commute, which is long. Good post!
Thank you! I first got into the Kate Shugak books while commuting as well — they were just perfect for the daily drive. 🙂
I’ll take a look at them–thanks. I have 1.25 hours each way so I go thru a lot of audios and enjoy the drive because of them.
Wow! You’ve tackled some long series. Afraid I don’t have the attention span for 20 books in a series… In fact, I struggle with series full stop (although this year I have read three of the Ferrante series but not sure I’ll stretch to the final instalment!).
The 20 books were spread out over about a year and a half, and were a mix of audio and hard copy, so I was able to mix it up a bit and read other things too. (And it helps that most are under 300 pages). The Ferrante books have been on my radar for a while now, but I still haven’t gotten around to finally reading the first one.
I haven’t enjoyed the Ferrante books all that much. Perhaps ‘enjoyed’ isn’t the right word… I guess I haven’t seen what all the fuss is about (and if you’re wondering why I continued after the first one, it was simply because I had them in the TBR stack).
Hmm. “Fuss” is the right word — SO much buzz about these books. If you’re underwhelmed, maybe I want bother. 🙂
There are a couple series I’d like to complete and start as well. I like The Magicians TV show so I got the first book but haven’t started it yet. Loved the TV adaptation of Leviathan Wakes on Sci-fi so I’d like to read that too n I’ve heard so much about Scalzi’s books that I’d like to try them.
I just started watching The Expanse (only 3 episodes so far), which makes me really want to bump Leviathan Wakes up the priority list! Maybe I’ll wait until I finish watching the first season and see how I feel then.
To be honest, I got confused by the show about midway into the season, but I stuck with it because it is interesting and I loved the last episode. Can’t wait for season 2.
Oh, I’m already confused! I’m hoping the book helps. 🙂
I’m always very hesitant to commit myself to series, since the time I can commit to reading is very little. But I have to admit I’ve been intrigued by the Peregrine trilogy. I know that sooner or later I’ll give in 😉
They’re fun — maybe not essential to read them all, but the first one was pretty new and different when it came out, and it’s worth at least looking at. 🙂
I used to read all the first books in a series to see which I would continue with and then buy them in bulk and add to them as each new book was published in each series. But by the time I got back to a series to read book two I couldn’t remember what had previously happened! So now I’m trying to binge read a series until I’m up to date and then read each new one as it appears-but I have a lot of series still to catch up with…
Right, that was my problem too — binge reading is great to get the full effect!
Looks like you had a great series year! I really should try to read more series as a whole as well — perhaps I will try to do this more with some of the children’s/middle grade series I have on my shelves in 2017 — since that is where a lot of my reading has fallen lately anyway! 🙂 Good luck and happy reading next year 🙂
There are so many fabulous children’s series! How great that you can discover them all with your little one!
I was just recently eyeing Rosemary and Rue myself… I’ve got too many series I’d like to catch up on first before diving into a new one. 🙂
I picked up Rosemary and Rue ages ago, but now that I’ve read more by her, I’m itching to try earlier work.