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Musing Monday: Serials anyone?

Today’s Musing Monday asks:
Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?

I have been “musing” on this topic for quite sometime. My youngest daughter, until recently, almost exclusively reads serials. She always starts with the first book and reads each one in chronological order. I, on the other hand, almost exclusively read stand-alone novels. While I pride myself on the ability to stay focused, I think my attention span is only good enough for one novel. Once I finish reading that story, I am ready to move on to something different.

In analyzing this from an English teacher’s perspective, I wonder if perhaps I am missing out. I now think it would be fascinating to see how an author develops major characters over time. I also think it would be instructive to see how an author reiterates pertinent information in each sequel in order to bring new readers up to speed, while at the same time not boring loyal fans.

The only real series I have read in my lifetime, and I certainly did not read all in the series, was Nancy Drew. That was the start of my love affair with mysteries which unfortunately I allowed to lay dormant until last October. I have since purchased the first in a series of several mystery authors: Laura Child, Anne Perry, Elizabeth George, Julie Kaewert, Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, Stephanie Barron, Jacqueline Winspeare, Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson, and Hailey Lind. My game plan is simple: read the first in the series and if it grabs my attention then continue with that series. I have enjoyed several of the authors enough to continue reading the series, but I have not yet had time to read all these “firsts”

I have also started listening to the audiobooks of Harry Potter. Yes, I am one of the last human beings on the face of the earth that have not read this fantastical series, but I must admit that I have absolutely loved the Jim Dale narration. In fact, I have enjoyed myself so much that I joined Galleysmith’s Harry Potter Challenge so that I would have an excuse to actually read the books. I understand that JK Rowling does an amazing job of tying together all loose ends and keeping various plots and subplots in constant motion. I am really looking forward to this serial experience and I am hopeful that it will lead me to a greater appreciation for the authors and their works.

I would love to hear your opinion of stand alone vs serials, and if you are interested in reading others’ responses to this meme, please visit the Musing Monday blog of Just One More Page.

17 Comments

  • ♥ Kathy♥

    I used to read a lot of cozies. I would read the whole series. I haven't read one of them though in a long time. Harry Potter I've read all of them and also the Twilight series. I'm like you for the most part I stick with the stand alone books.

  • DesLily

    First of all it's not easy finding a stand alone book!.. that aside, I am a character driven reader, so if the author has written characters I really like, then they cannot write enough books using the same characters to suit me! On the other hand, we all need "breaks" and I totally enjoy a stand alone book. For those I find I have to resort to Biographies, Autobiographies and books that tell me about "the old days" of movie making.

  • Kaye

    I think it depends on the author and the series. Laura Childs keeps me coming back time and again with her tea shop cozies. No, I wouldn't want to read them one after another but I do enjoy keeping up with the characters. Have you read the Winspear one yet? That is really a good series. I enjoyed the time frame more than I thought I would at first. Have a good week, Molly.

  • Debbie's World of Books

    I enjoy both series and standalone books but I'll admit if the entire series isn't available already I have a love/hate relationship. I enjoy series if I get into them because it prolongs enjoying the story and characters. But if I have to wait for the next book I hate it because I'm really impatient and have to know what will happen. LOL. My answer is up Debbie's World of Books

  • Novice Writer Anonymous

    Pretty much everything I've been able to get into is either a combination of serial and stand-alone (i.e. where the characters recur throughout but the storylines are self-contained) or series. If I love the characters I want to stay with them. Only one time have I ever started a series and not finished it– David Eddings' Dreamers quadrilogy. But I always try to start with the earliest to see the author's vision and enjoy the journey he wanted me to take. Which is probably why I never got into the Shannara series because there were so many.

  • Melody

    I prefer stand-alones but that doesn't mean I'll shun away series either. I guess there's a balance between these two.

    I haven't read HP series too! I'm hoping to finish reading the whole series before the next final movie is out!

  • Matt

    I was Harry Potter-out because of the deluge of details that pack in the books. While I enjoyed reading HP's adventures, I have the difficulty of remembering all the little details. So I resort to the movies, maybe I shall do audiobook for the final installment. 🙂

  • Trish

    Oh I LOVED Nancy Drew when I was younger! That and The Babysitter's Club. 🙂 Nowadays I don't read many series, but I did love Harry Potter and am currently working through Twilight Saga. Gald you're enjoying the HP on audio–maybe I'll do that as a refresher!

  • Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks

    I haven't read any series in the past several years, but I do enjoy reading other books by the same author (not the same thing as series, I know!)

    I think I read every Nancy Drew book multiple times when I was younger, and was very excited when my kids started reading them 🙂

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