Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

Thoughtful Thursday: How Do You Read a Series?

Hosted by Pamela @ Reading is Fun Again

This Thursday’s question:

How do you read a book series? (Do you read each book as it comes out? Do you wait for a few books to come out in a series before starting it? Do you wait until the entire series is out and marathon it? Do you reread all of the books that are currently out before you read the next one?)

Bookish confession: I am terrible at reading series and tend to avoid them.

Part of the problem is that I don’t binge read. I am someone who might put down any given book (even a good, enjoyable one) in favor of any other given book. The gaps between volumes in a series, even ones entirely finished and published, are just excellent opportunities for me to read something else for a while. Since I’m also a slow reader, it’s then tough for me to reread a series to get back into the world.

Series I Recall Finishing:
Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1)

  • Timothy Zahn’s The Thrawn Trilogy: Three books. Read them as they came out in the early 90s because there was NO STAR WARS at the time.
  • Raymond Feist’s The Riftwar Saga: Four books. Read them after they were all published, short enough that I read them over a few years. Yes, four books, a few years…
  • Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings: Three books. Obviously read them after they came out, a part of a structured read-through.

Series I Have Not Finished…Yet:

  • George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: 3/5+ books. I’m reading #4 right now as part of a structured read-through.
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune Chronicles: 3/6 books. By all accounts, God Emperor of Dune is where most people give up. I’ve been advised to the read the Cliff Notes and move on.
  • Warhammer 40K’s The Horus Heresy (various authors): 3/28+ books. Okay, at 28 books and counting, I’ll probably never finish this series, but I have every intention of reading more. Just don’t ask me how long I’ve owned book #4.
  • Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: 1.5/3 books. A series by a very fine writer, but I put down Stone of Farewell and never came back to it. I would have to start over.

Series I Will Never Finish:
The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1)

  • Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time: 10/14 books. Enjoyable for 9 books, #10 didn’t do it for me.
  • Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles & Lives of the Mayfair Witches: 4/11, 2/3 books. Stopped before much of the crossover.
  • Rachael Cain’s Weather Warden: 3/9 books. One of the few more “modern” series I’ve dipped into.
  • Other very popular YA vampire/dystopias that I read the first books of but did not catch on with me.


My habits may have been different when I was younger because I did binge read Sherlock Holmes in the 80s and had no problem reading the Thrawn books. But again, I loved Star Wars and, when Timothy Zhan’s triology came out, there was very little Star Wars to be had.

Structured read-throughs are the way to go for me. Basically, I read a couple chapters every week. No more, no less. Two chapters, put the door-stop books down, read something else for the rest of the week. It got me through Tolkien; it’ll get me through Martin.

Obviously, I feel no duty to finish a series. I don’t understand readers who’ll say, in the review of volume three, “I didn’t much care for books one and two, but I read number three anyway.” Sunk-cost fallacy, it never pays off.

Spoilers don’t bother me that much. Okay, I’d rather not know who bites it in A Feast for Crows, but I’m okay if someone lets that knowledge slip (*cough*Eric*cough*).