Let’s chase away today’s rainy afternoon doldrums (that word always makes me think of The Phantom Tollbooth. just me?) with a teensy little exercise. Only a mental one, don’t worry no physical exertions necessary when you hang out with me! When in my company we’ll always be curled up on a couch in comfy sweatpants with chocolate on hand.
So, back to the exercise:
Quick, name 5 SERIES of books that first come to your mind…
Thought of ’em yet?
How bout now?
Like Stephanie Plum, Nancy Drew, Sookie Stackhouse, Anne of Green Gables, The Saddle Club, Anita Blake, and Harry Potter….Just a few that popped in my head.
Not too hard, right? There are a plethora out there…old ones, new ones, unfinished ones, young adults, sci fi, romances, mysteries…
Notice anything about my list? Those are all REALLY LOOOONG series.
Looking at my bookshelves recently I noticed that I have a habit (I actually wrote that as a typo as “hobbit” first and almost left it that way) of getting into really loooo0ong series. I think Harry Potter is the shortest and 7 really ain’t all that short!
So that is when I quizzed myself to think about series…and again those above are the first ones I thought of.
I didn’t think of any trilogies or even quartets.
Upon further research looking for “short” series I found Lord of the Rings (some seem to disagree if this counts as a series), Jason Bourne by Robert Ludlum (although apparently with the hollywood success he is now writing more?) North and South trilogy by John Jakes, or His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass series, which didn’t really come to a conclusive end) or The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (which I haven’t read) and Twilight I guess.
Why do I have to think so hard of trilogies or quartets? I mean I even had to google search for them. As a frequent, long-standing, and lusty reader book titles should have been springing to the forefront of my mind! Is it just me? Or are y’all having a hard time thinking of shorter series too? Is it because they’re not out there?
I would imagine for an author there are multiple reasons to write a long series, the characters keep developing in your imagination, new ideas come to you about conflicts in their world, and of course, if you have a cash cow, why not milk it?!
Marg at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader wrote a great post a little while back about the advantages and disadvantages of being a reader or fan of a book series. I whole heartedly agree with her that I like to revisit a “world” and characters I’ve come to know and grow fond of, that I know what to expect (in terms of writing style, type of characters, etc.) and I also MUST MUST read a series in order. There is no point of starting one unless I can start at the first book. And I prefer the series to have been published a while ago so at least a few books are already released.
The idea I’m getting stuck on is series that are elongated for the point of…well past the point of reason in my opinion! 15 book for Stephanie Plum where she still bumbles around like an idiot in both her job and her love life? 10 books for Sookie Stackhouse and she still hasn’t taken much direction or control over her place in the new supernatural world nor her love life? Even long time fans of JD Robb’s In Death series have found some of the books slightly repetitive now that there are 30+ of them!
I’m rarely a demanding, whiny reader. Not on my blog, not on twitter, not in the privacy of my own head. I have great respect for authors and don’t hold them to any expectations of book release timing, characters’ actions, or how they draw a series to conclusion. But for the love of God, PLEASE stop writing such long series! My bank account and bookshelves can’t handle it! I took a picture with a few of my series collections yesterday (when it was so warm and sunny, and not chilly-drizzly like today, looking at this picture makes me feel colder!)
Once I’ve bought one or a few books in a series I become a bit of a collector, not only do I want to see what happens to the characters, I want all the covers to match, or at least have the books be the same height.
But I’m getting to the point where it’s either just borrowing them from the library or giving them up all together. If I want to start a new series and see 7 books have been released and the author’s website indicates no end in sight? I will not start reading it because it’s too intimidating a backlist to buy, and too frustrating to invest that much time or money when I don’t know if/when there will ever be a happily ever after, or any type of conclusion!
While I know lots of book bloggers have written about the tipping point that made them give up a series, today I’m thinking more about series that not only jumped the shark, but are taking loyal readers for a ride. I have this weird feeling that some series are being written for the sake of the paycheck and are just jerking our chains a little bit. Am I totally off base? Even if that’s not exactly why authors are writing such long series, does anyone else at least feel like there are too many long series out there and not enough shorter ones where you can reach a conclusion in a reasonable amount of time?
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