Monday, February 27, 2012

Musing Monday...Off With Their Heads!

It's Monday once again, so let's check out the Monday Musing
question,  as always from the mind of Miz B at Should Be Reading.

This week’s musing asks…

• Do you read books that are part of a series?
• Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?

Yes, I have been known to read a series or two…or 20.
Ideally, I would read them in order, but if I get one as a review book and it is maybe 15th in the series..well, that is not going to happen. Especially if the author does not send me the previous 14. Then I might. OK, just a
But if it is a very good book, that should not be a deal we will discuss in a minute.

Do I collect them? No, not before starting to read one or after starting to read one.  No, at this point I really have to be very careful what books I decide to actually keep. See, I have just a few too many books around my house.A few hundred...maybe a thousand. If you find yourself in NJ, stop by with a box, maybe a hand truch, a wagon, fill it up and take some home!
So no, except for review books, I am really trying to stick to library books these days. Nice library books that go back there after I read it...or e-books, because while, yes, they too can ‘pile up’ you can’t see the piles, so they aren’t really there. Right?

If I start with a new series, do I reread the previous one before I start the newest? What, are you crazy? Are their people who actually have time for that? Well, no, I have lots of new books waiting for me and do not reread books these days. Each book is only getting one turn…then move on my little bookish friend. Next!

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with series.
Ideally they are great, but the reality is sometime different.
I love mysteries and a lot of mystery writers write series. And, yes, there are many that are very book, where I eagerly awit the next. One of my favorites, one that shows some of the finer points of a series, are the books of Karin Slaughter. As with any good series, any individual book can be read as a stand-alone, yet each also builds on the previous to keep the returning reader interested. It takes really skill as an author, I think, to be able to give the background information the new reader might need if they have not read the previous books and yet to do so concisely enough so as not to bore the reader who has read the others. Keeping that series reader in mind, the storyline, the characters, have to evolve. There has to be change, there has to be developments, new characters coming in and yes, some characters going away.

Sometimes that means someone must die!

I will not give any spoilers, but Slaughter takes the very brave step of killing off a very major character several books into the series. It is a real shocker when you read it, but it is the sort of step I think an author has to be willing to take if they want to keep things fresh and exciting and unexpected and have the readers buy the next one to see where things can possibly go now.

And that leads us to the ultimate brave step an author can take…finishing a series off.
If books are still selling and the publisher is happy, it may be very, very hard. But sometimes it is just time. Things have run their course.
Times to go out with a bang and start something new.
Off with their heads!!


  1. It is always a delight to read your answers each week. Your mind works in ways I never could think of. I love it. I also agree with all you've said today.

    Thanks for your visit today.

  2. My mind works in unusual ways? Well, ok..thank you.
    I think... :-)

  3. Love those answers! :)

    Here’s mine:

  4. Yeah, I can think of a few series that should just stop, they have run their course. When Elizabeth George had the audacity to kill off one of her major character's wife, some people were so distressed, they vowed not to read any more of the series. Sounds a little extreme to me but, hey, . . . . .chacun a son gout.

  5. I do enjoy a good mystery series, especially if the main character is a flawed, quirky


  6. I do read series. I try to start with book 1 .. sometimes that is possible .. twice now, with Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, I've gotten lucky and learned of them after the last (in the case of Thrones I am now waiting along with everyone else to learn the fate of the good, and bad, guys) books been released.

  7. I prefer to read mysteries and urban fantasy type books in order, but I don't mind reading romance out of order. Of course, romance is typically only a handful of books, not a shelful like some mystery series.

  8. Oh she got SO much shit for killing that person off! But I totally understand why she did it, and the series is better for it (not to speak ill of the dead or anything). I do like my thriller series, but I do get frustrated when I hear of great ones that are seven, ten, twenty books into it. There are a number of them that I am completely invested in, and have read them all. It is like a drug fix.

  9. Let's not talk about too many books. There are just too many books and too many series out there to keep up with them all. If a series is well written you should be able to pick up any book in it without reading the others.

  10. I had to stop by to get my weekly Caite's philosophy. And once again Caite has delivered. Bravo!!! Well said. I agree. Reread? As in take away time from a book that is screaming to be read because it has been on the shelf for a few months, years? Not this reader. See you next Monday. Have a great week.

  11. I am not much of a re-reader. But I do like a good series!

  12. Great answer! :) I try to take the time to sometimes re-read books, but usually the reality is that I don't have time to start even the new books :S Like you said, too many books, too little time..!! :/

    Thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by! :)

    Monaliz @ Mind Reading?

  13. I so agree with you -- to keep a series fresh and exciting, an author needs to take chances and keep things developing--even if it means killing someone. I really do need to try Karin Slaughter. Of course, I shall have to start from the beginning. : )

  14. Oh … and since I can swing by with a wagon to fill up with books, I shall! HAHA! : )

  15. You always have the best answers! I love reading your posts.


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