I'm curious...
#11  maddz 10-16-2020, 05:31 PM

If I purchased the series as they were published, I'd re-read the earlier volumes before starting the new one to refresh my mind on the story arc.

If it's a completed series, then I usually get the lot and read at least the first book. Some I will leave it at that and not worry because I have got the complete series for the price of a single volume. Others I'll read some more into the series, and not be in any hurry to complete it, and others I'll finish the lot.

These days I'm usually picking up titles at 99p in various Kindle Deals (usually the monthly deal), and I am prepared to wait until I have the series completed before starting it.

#12  Ripplinger 10-16-2020, 05:36 PM
I'll binge read through them all if it's a series I really like, and it doesn't matter if it's 3 books or 33 books in the series. I might stop to read another book in between when there's a new release of a series I've already read to stay current, but only when it's a series I really love. Otherwise I'll wait until I finish the entire series I'm on for a new release in another series.

#13  issybird 10-16-2020, 05:42 PM
I let a lot of time go between the books of a series. Much time elapses when it’s a series I love so I can stretch it out; a lot of time will also elapse for the obvious reason when I don’t much care for it but it provides a mindless read when I’m in the mood. Middle ground is for series that are good enough, not great, not meh. But even so, reading one book after another would bore me and definitely lessen my appreciation for the series as a whole, no matter where on my personal spectrum it fell.

I never try to get back up to speed by rereading series books when a new one comes out. I admit that most series I read are done, but not quite all. What happened in earlier books comes back to mind well enough once I start a book; in any case, it doesn’t much matter.

#14  hobnail 10-16-2020, 06:11 PM
There can be a problem with having too much time go by between books in a series when there are connections and dependencies and various characters; it can be hard to remember who is who and what they did in the previous books. This happened to me with the last book that was just released in the Queen's Thief series.

So in that sense I'd rather read them all straight through, but I tend to read a book or two between the books in the series.

#15  fjtorres 10-16-2020, 06:19 PM
Quote JSWolf
Can you come up with an example of a series with standalone books? And can you prove they really are standalone?
Do you read SF&F?
It is common for writers to maintain a unified universe were a bunch of books are standalones scattered along a single timelone, usually with different protagonists for different eras.
Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle, Zimmer-Bradley, Asimov, Drake, Bujold, are just a few.

In older historical fiction there's the Aubrey-Maturin and Hornblower series, though those do feature the same protagonists. Each is a standalone episode.

The way you can tell is that the books can be read in any order or even individually without reading any "earlier" book in the timeline. Each book has a distinct focus with a beginning, middle, and end.

Bujold's Vorkossigan saga is a good example where the book publishing order is not the series' chronological order.

Zimmer-Bradley's Darkover is another example, where the earliest written books (from the early 60's) take place near the end of the timeline, the earliest in the late 70's, and the last published ones take place fairly early. None requires reading the others. It helps but that's a reader choice.

Even older book series were built off totally standalone stories. Perry Mason, Tarzan, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, etc.

The advantage is that readers can jump in at any point in the timeline with no need to dig up earlier books. This was a lot more valuable in the olden days when most books received only one print run or went out of print for years on end.

Today, with ebooks and POD enabling an "eternal" backlist it isn't mandatory but it's still useful. It isn't uncommon for a successful series to spawn independent prequels, sequels, and side-quels.

David Weber's HONORVERSE series has spawned collateral series that can be read independently but do contribute to the main series narrative and two fully independent prequel trilogies that don't.

Similarly, the shared universe 163x/Grantville Saga includes multiple parallel sub-series that share the same setting but can be read independently of rsch other. You don't have to read the stories set in Rusdia to enjoy the stories of the BARBIE CONSORTIUM or the MISSION TO THE MUGHALS.

Finally, readers have a choice.
They can read the series in publishing order to see how the author's skill evolves, in internal chronology order, or only the favorites.

Rereaders can do all three.

#16  sakura-panda 10-16-2020, 06:21 PM
I like to put a book in between the books of a series so that the books are separate in my mind and don't all run together when I look back on them. Sometimes I'll read just two series, and go back and forth between them, but I usually have one series that I'm working on that I alternate with standalone books.

#17  maddz 10-16-2020, 07:45 PM
Well, I've just read the first 2 books in the Magdalene la B√Ętarde series by the late Roberta Gellis back-to-back. I'll probably finish the rest of the series (3 books) over the weekend as I'm enjoying them. (How much reading I'll get done, I don't know - it depends on the weather as I need to clear things out of the kitchen garden.)

#18  DrNefario 10-17-2020, 05:52 AM
I pretty much never binge-read. My feeling is that they wouldn't be separate books if they were meant to be read straight through.

First of all, I like to keep things varied by trying read different genres with every book, so at the very least I will alternate a series with something completely different.

In addition, I just like to space things out. It's quite rare for me to read two books in a series within six months of each other. (When you're in the middle of a hundred series - which is kind of a consequence of this - it takes that long to cycle through them all to the next book.) At the moment, I am taking part in a read along with one book a month, and I'm finding it a bit too fast for my liking, which might be why I'm already falling behind, on book three.

Reading straight through a series feels a bit like eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for days, and then moving on to the next foodstuff.

Maybe it is a natural consequence of the change in technology and ease of access, and I'm too old and set in my ways, but that's how I am. If I've got something nice, I want to make it last.

#19  Quoth 10-17-2020, 10:27 AM
Quote JSWolf
Can you come up with an example of a series with standalone books? And can you prove they really are standalone?
Many Discworld books, though many are roughly sequential.
Some Niven Known space
Some Pern stories
Some Shanarra books
Dune first book works standalone, arguably best place to stop.
Famous Five
Hardy Boys
Nancy Drew
The so called Noel Stretfeld Shoe books are not a series at all, and some didn't originally have shoe in the title.
Maybe many Sherlock Holmes.

Book Series at opposite end, that are really serial volumes:
Wheel of Time.
Harry Harrison's To The Stars Trilogy.

Some book series are not so serial:
The Recluse books by Modsett. They jump about in time anyway.
The Narnia books now have a different reading order to the original, which was possibly Lewis's order. I read Prince Caspian first, which isn't first in any order.
The Chalet School series hardly needs to be read in order even though it's fairly chronological and was near contemporary. It's very historical now. About 62 books.
The Harrison Stainless Steel Rat books work fine standalone.

There are books best read in order:
The Enid Blyton school stories, two series.

A series may have ANY of:
1) The same characters. If they have an endless supply of holidays and hardly age, it's a floating timeline. Hardy Boys, Famous Five, Bobbsey Twins seem to stop ageing.
2) The same fantasy / SF world universe etc. Some Ursula Le Guin, Asimov (before 1970s and later retcon), Niven.
3) There are the same characters but they and the world change. There can be some overall story arcs resolved in later books, but are not important.
4) There are the same characters and they develop. There is a strong overall story arc, but each volume has some sort of decent ending. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Though the 2nd series didn't seem so good and I've never finished the third series. The Harry Potter series is partly like this.

A serial, OTH doesn't have a complete story per book and typically has a cliff hanger. Notorious being the Wheel of Time. I have all of it but gave up in book twelve. I don't think it's Sanderson's fault. It should have been a 5 or 6 book serial / Series.

Harry Potter Series is more a Serial than Narnia because there is the unresolved tension of Snape and Voldemort etc. It's got a stronger overall story arc than Babylon 5. Likely Babylon 5 would have had a stronger overall arc and a better later season only for cowardice of Holywood.

Some Series have serial books within them.

#20  Quoth 10-17-2020, 10:29 AM
Quote DNSB
I ran into David Edding's Castle of Wizardry (book 4 in the Belgariad series) and decided to kill a few minutes though the only book of his that I had previously read (High Hunt) had struck me as cold pancakes and no honey. A half hour or so later, I left Chapters the proud owner of the first 4 books in the Belgariad.
Maybe that's the only book of his I don't have. Sad there will be no more.

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