Series Attraction

book_seriesJust browsing over which titles I have read over the past year or so, and I’ve noticed that I’ve had a slight craze on reading series of books – books written by the same author who publish numerous volumes focusing on various different adventures of a core group of characters. I’ll list the Sherlock Holmes series, the Mapp and Lucia series, the Little House on the Prairie series, and the (never-ending but endlessly entertaining) Thirkell Barsetshire series as examples.

In my past reading trends, I have always made a point of staying away from any books in a series, whether it’s a long list of titles or not. I think my thinking was that I didn’t want to feel beholden to any author or his/her work. Thus, if I started the first title (and I would have a difficult time starting somewhere apart from that first title), then I would feel as if I had an obligation to read all the remainder of the series, regardless of how good it was. (Thus, the “beholden” word choice.) It just seemed a pretty stressy way to read your TBR and would, I thought, limit what I could choose, title-wise.

During childhood, I was sucked into the world of Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers and the non-fiction animal collecting adventures of Gerald Durrell, but apart from those (and they were read out of order – rebel that I am), I was a series-free reader.

Then, I started to read Sherlock Holmes last year, and the stories were really well written and interesting so I just kept going with those titles over time.

Then, I ventured into the world of The Hunger Games. (Still  haven’t read the third one but will do this summer on the beach.)

Then, I heard a lot about Mapp and Lucia and once I’d finished with the Sherlock books and stories, I turned to the village of Tilling and its characters.

And thus started the Thirkell Barsetshire series… (The Thirkell series looks a bit overwhelming to me if I look at it as a to-do list as there are so many books), but ordering it a title at a time through ILL makes it manageable as I don’t order the next title until I’ve finished the Thirkell I am reading right then. Not that I’m a stress monkey or anything. Nope. Not me.)

So – it’s funny, isn’t it, how tastes change over time. Five years ago, I would not have ever thought about following a series (in order,  bien sur) through to the end. (The pressure!) But now, taking the reading projects “Bird by Bird” (re: the project management view from writer Annie Lamott), I am really enjoying the process of getting to know the characters as we follow them through the series. And it’s not half as stressy as I thought it would be.

Thirkell’s Barsetshire series is not thought-provoking, but does have a sly sense of humor and is addictive in the same way that potato chips and French fries are. You know it’s not real food, but wow – don’t they taste delicious!


1 thought on “Series Attraction

  1. It’s difficult – there are series and series! I’ve abandoned e.g. crime series in the past because they’ve got repetetive and not so good. However, something like Anthony Powell’s “Dance to the Music of Time” series is excellent and actually gets better as it goes along. I guess it just depends who or what you’re reading!

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