Stuck in the Middle

I started reading The Right Attitude to Rain last night, the 3rd in the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith, and started thinking about series reading and how I always seem to be dipping in and out of one.

Are you the kind of reader that needs to read an entire series one after another? There are definitely some series that demand to be read that way: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey come to mind.

If I had all the time in the universe I would re-read Harry Potter in order one after another but the universe conspires against me.

I’ve come to the sudden realization that I’m in the middle of a lot of series right now.

I’m three books into the Outlander series because those books are so long that after I finish one I want to read anything else to change up my reading material. But I know when I start the fourth one (waiting to borrow it, Audrey), it will be like drinking a glass of cold water on a hot day: incredibly refreshing.

I haven’t finished the Game of Thrones books because George hasn’t written the next instalment. But let’s not go down that road…

Jo Nesbo has written a ridiculous number of books and I’ve read 5 or 6 of them. I love them – they are dark and creepy and smart and well-paced but if I only read those I suspect my worldview would begin to change. And again, variety is the spice of life.

I’ve read everything available in English that Camilla Lackberg has written and constantly check the bookstore to see if anything new has come out. My Swedish friend would just tell me to learn Swedish and she might be onto something. (Update: walked into the bookstore on Valentine’s Day and what should be sitting on the shelf? The Ice Child, the 9th in the “Patrik Hedstrom” series [in quotations because they are just as much about his wife, Erica Falck as they are about Patrik!])

Alexander McCall Smith is the master of the series. I haven’t started on the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books yet but I’m in the middle of The 44 Scotland Street series (love) and as previously mentioned, the Isabel Dalhousie series. I love McCall Smith’s tendency to mix philosophy and the every day. They are really so clever and totally underrated.

I read all of Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Court Novels (The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen’s Fool etc) and although the middle of the Cousin’s War books were so-so for me,The King’s Curse was so strong that I have high hopes for the latest one (the last one?) The Taming of the Queen. And of course years ago, I devoured the Wideacre books.

When I started reading Ian Rankin I didn’t know that Inspector Rebus was a thing. So I’ve read the final two or three and then went back to the beginning. Those are an ongoing project.

Finally, I was recently turned onto Mo Hayder. Her books are fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked. I get clammy hands, my heart rate goes up and sometimes I straight up have to walk away. I’ve only read two of them, the third one is currently sitting on a table in my living room and I need to read it because the second one ended a little…let’s say openly but in the most distressing way possible. I’d love some closure Hayder!

wanderlust-graphic_buried in books

That’s a lot of unfinished business! Do you tend to get stuck in series’ like this? Or do you dive in and get them all done at once? Any series that I missed that I have to read ASAP?

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22 thoughts on “Stuck in the Middle

  1. Bookwork problems!!

    I’m in the middle of a few series as well. The Throne of Glass, the Mistborn spinoff series, The Stormlight Archives (another Sanderson epic), The Farseer Trilogy, Miss Peregrine’s and a few others.

    Some of them I haven’t finished because the series itself is not finished, but others I’ve simply abandoned or am getting close to that. I prefer reading a variety of stories, so I often take breaks from series, even if they demand to be read one after. They’ll just have to wait. Shrug.

    • I think that’s probably a good attitude to take. It’s not good to be a slave to one series but I know some people *have* to read them all at once.
      I always quite like it when a series isn’t finished – still something to look forward to without any idea what that something is!

  2. Some series are easier to dip in and out of…and I sometimes like knowing I have a good book or two from a favorite series still waiting for me to read. It’s like my own bookish rainy-day savings account. 🙂

  3. Now, see, this is exactly the reason why I avoid series. I don’t like the thought of being stuck in the middle of all those books. I like to start something and then finish it. For that reason I also don’t like to have more than 2 books on the go at once (although sometimes I do anyway). You have me curious about the Mo Hayder books now, though… No, I better not.
    Have you ever read a Ted Dekker book? I’m reading The Bride Collector right now for my book club. I think it would be classified as crime fiction, am I right?

  4. I love Alexander McCall Smith, and although I’m usually a person who reads the whole series in a row (if it is written), I like that I can come back and forth to his books. I tend to read the Isabel Dalhousie series when I can, when I need a refreshing, delightful, and smart story that doesn’t take too much effort. His books are just perfect. All of them!

  5. When I read Hunger Games, I did read them all in a row….I think?! But, they were such quick reads. I purposely try to avoid series now (too much commitment), but I think if I read them, I’d probably want a break in between books. Even when I’m reading standalone novels now, I like to not read books that are too similar back to back.

    • Such quick reads! And so fast-paced, you almost needed the next book to breathe again.
      I’m totally with you on similar reading material – I always try to think about what I’ve read recently before I pick my next book. Did I just read non-fiction? When was the last time I read crime fiction? How long has it been since I’ve read anything by this author? I find that if I don’t, I get a bit of tunnel vision and start getting antsy for new material.

  6. I enjoy reading series books one right after the other and I almost always do. But with Outlander the books are so long that I get nothing else read, reviewed, etc. So, I take a break to read and review other things in between. Eventually I get a hankering for more Jamie Fraser and head back to the next Outlander book. Lol.

    • I know what you mean about getting a hankering for Jamie Fraser. I think I’m just about there. It’s been almost a year since I’ve spent any time with Jamie and Claire and it might be about time to remedy that.
      But as you say, they are sooooooooooo long. Part of their charm at the time but definitely makes it hard to justify reading them all at the expense of everything else out there.

  7. I am completely a series binge reader. I struggle with this particularly with library books because having to wait for my holds makes me crazy. That’s part of the reason I haven’t tried Outlander – I can’t imagine having to binge through so many pages! Clearly I have to look up Mo Hayder books now – and some day I’m going to try a McCall Smith too. So many books!

    • I have a book in my possession right now that I know someone is waiting for. I’m bringing it back today for that reason hahahaha.
      I think the difference with most crime fiction series is that they do wrap up in the one book but the character carries over, and those developments move through the series. But by the end, you do feel quite comfortable leaving them for a little while. Mo Hayder…from The Treatment to Ritual (where I’m living right now) less so and yet? I’ve read like 15 books since The Treatment with Ritual sitting at home.

  8. It totally depends on the series for me. Some are so good I have to devour them all at once. Others I can easily take a break from in between. I binged the first four Outlanders years ago, and now just read each as they come out.

  9. I tend to dip in and out as well, mostly because I’m easily distracted. I have many unfinished series, which I’ll make a list of since you’ve reminded me. I used to stick with series but these days I’ll read the first book and get distracted by a different book of another series and hop to that.

  10. Pingback: The Tsundoku Chronicles: Moving Edition | The Paperback Princess

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