Discussion: How Do You Read Series?



It’s discussion time again! One of the side effects of blogging is that I’m becoming more and more aware that other people have vastly different reading habits from myself.  What a weird concept.  One thing I’ve realised is the fact that everyone reads series in a different way.  

Me?  I have a tendency to start a series and never finish it.  In fact, I used to never finish series as a rule.  Why?  I’m not really sure.  I think I unknowingly had the attitude that each book was a contained story and a contained world — I didn’t get sucked in with cliffhangers and my attention tends to wander when I finish a book (I’m actually often the same way with episodes of TV shows).  These days I am much better about finishing series (kind of), however I can only think of a very small number that I’ve actually completed.  

So. Many. Series.

One of the reasons for this is that I just have too many books to read!  I really struggle with the idea of binge reading one series of books from one author, particularly if I don’t already own or have immediate access to the next installment.  What about all the other glorious books I have on my shelf that are gathering dust?  When will I get to them?  I can’t just neglect them, books have feelings too.


I was also an extremely dedicated adult fantasy reader for years.  Adult fantasy is leaning more toward trilogies these days, but the epically long series is a staple of the genre.  Wheel of Time (14 books plus a prequel), A Song of Ice and Fire (7 books, if the series is ever complete), the Shannarah books (over 30 books in total, but divided into trilogies and duologies), the Sword of Truth books (15 books) — I think you get the picture.  Finishing a series was just never really something I focused on when I was younger because reading 10,000+ pages was so daunting.

I’ve been reading Wheel of Time since 2011.

However, I think the main reason I don’t tend to finish series is that I just cannot read them back to back.  Story time:

When I was in high school, I saw Fellowship of the Ring in theaters and became completely obsessed.  Naturally I turned to the book and I devoured it.  I’m not kidding — I read it in a single evening.  I immediately hopped into The Two Towers and then The Return on the King, and I basically destroyed my brain.  I remember absolutely nothing from Two Towers — it was like reading a brand new book when I returned to the series years later — and I put Return of the King down after 20 pages.  Now, you guys may know that Lord of the Rings is my all-time favourite series.  Knowing that fact, this is pretty shocking!  But I burnt out on the series and the world so quickly by reading them back to back.  I must space out a series with other books or I really struggle.

I’ve tested this out a couple of times since the Epic LotR Burnout of 2001.  Most recently, I tried to read Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology back to back.  I nearly put Crooked Kingdom down because I had finished Six of Crows only a few days prior.  Despite the fact that I loved these two books, the burnout nearly made me quit.

Of course, the problem with not reading series back to back is I’ll read start another book, which is inevitably the first book in another series.  Then another.  And another. And I get to where I am today: having started many series and finished almost none of them.


I know that not many people are like this, so tell me: how do you read series?  Can you marathon the books or do you need to take breaks in between?  Do you switch up genres?  Let me know!

13 thoughts on “Discussion: How Do You Read Series?

  1. I tend to read one book in a series a month. I do this because I need a bit of a break in-between books. But, it also gives me a time frame to finish it so it keeps me from never finishing a series. I used to never finish them, but doing this has really helped me “stay on track”.

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  2. I will happily binge on an author and read everything of theirs as I can get my hands on it, but since becoming a blogger I have found this more difficult. It’s hard to dedicate the time to just one author and series of books.
    I do get daunted sometimes by the size of the series too; I’m thinking in particular of the Malazan book of the fallen. I’ve started that series two or three times (started once, then needed more books… But by the time I’d bought more books I couldn’t remember what had happened so needed to re-read). And I still don’t have the complete series! I almost cried when I discovered there was a second author whose books contributed to the same series D:

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  3. I like to start reading after a series has at least three books. That way I am more likely to read future books because I have invested a decent amount of time in the series. Of course, it will take 2 – 3 years to pick up the next book 😉 But eventually I’ll circle back when I see book four on sale.

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  4. I very rarely binge series – like you, I always want to read all the other shiny new books on my shelf and they end up taking priority. Having said that, I try not to wait *too* long before continuing with a series, because I hate it when it’s been so long I feel like I have to go through the whole series synopsis to get myself back up to speed. Basically, series are a struggle for me!

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  5. I struggle attempting to binge most series because I can relate to needing a break in between. The series that I tend to take the most breaks from is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I love the series but the books are so big and I need some time to process in between. Impatiently waiting for the latest in the series to come out though I am currently two books behind and might be caught up by the time it releases.
    Having gotten more into blogging, reading ARCs, seriously binge buying, getting some books from publishers and having a generous Library to borrow books from, I am easily distracted by other books and my options have very much increased. I am trying to be better about finishing series that have all their books published and attempting to catch up on series that aren’t completed but have several books out.

    Overall, I can really relate to your struggles and I admire those who can binge read through series as well as get their TBR piles down significantly!

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