Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Confessions of a Book Series Addict

As I mentioned in my 2016 resolution list, it became apparent to me this year that I have a serious problem with series.  I love them an indecent amount and can't seem to resist starting new ones.  There is nothing wrong with reading series per se but with my advancing age + an ever-increasing list of series, I find it harder and harder to remember what happened from one book to the next unless I read the whole series back to back.

I decided it was time for a reckoning and that I needed to exert some discipline in 2016.  First however I need to confess my shame - lay out all the facts.  Just how bad is the problem.

First I looks through all the series books that I read in 2015 and all those that I a) finished or caught up with or b) started.  I counted Caught Up With in the pro column even though in reality a lot of these are series with many more installments to come so being caught up is perhaps only a small victory.

a) Finished or caught up with in 2015:
- Lunar Chronicles (Finished)
- Penryn and the End of Days (Finished)
- Dresden Files (Caught Up)
- The Raven Cycle (Caught Up)
- Shades of London (Caught Up)
- Eve Rossi (Caught Up)
- Seraphina (Finished)
- Locke and Key (Finished)
- Regency Reformers (Caught Up)
- Jackaby (Caught Up)
- The Grisha (Finished)
- Avatar The Last Airbender (Caught Up)

I FINISHED 5 Series - Yay Me!
I CAUGHT UP with 7 Series - Sort of Yay Me!

b) Started (but not finished or caught up with)
- Chronicles of Elantra  (May not continue) BY Michelle Sagara
- Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries BY Louise Penny
- A Manor House Mystery BY Julie Hyzy (Will NOT Continue)
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place BY Maryrose Wood
- Akata Witch BY Nnedi Okorafor
- The Brothers Sinister BY Courtney Milan
- Abarat BY Clive Barker
- Craft Sequence BY Max Gladstone
- Fairyland BY Cathrynne M. Valente
- The Company BY Kage Baker
- Love by Numbers BY Sarah MacLean
- Walt Longmire Mysteries BY Craig Johnson
- The Rules of Scoundrels BY Sarah MacLean
- Peter Diamond Mysteries BY Peter Lovesey
- Underland Chronicles BY Suzanne Collins
- Cynster BY Stephanie Laurens (Will NOT Continue)
- The Deed of Paksenarrion BY Elizabeth Moon (Will NOT Continue)
- Abhorsen BY Garth Nix
- The Eterna Files BY Leanna Renee Hieber (Will NOT Continue)
- Desperate Duchesses BY Eloisa James

I STARTED 19 series - Oh, Stephanie, Tsk Tsk Tsk.  At least I don't plan on continuing with 4 of those series so I really only started 15 series.  Yay me?

All in all on Goodreads I have 50 books tagged as "next in series" meaning that I am somewhere in the middle of a series.  I'm pretty sure that's not all of them as it doesn't include series that pre-date Goodreads like Game of Thrones.

So what to do?  Obviously,  I'd like to make some concerted effort in 2016 to reduce the number of series I am in the middle of but it's complicated.  Not only do I have to resolve to finish as many of the series of which I am in the middle but I also need to establish a (hopefully brief) moratorium on starting new series.

I think my strategy also needs to recognize that there are three different kinds of series.  1) There are those that are one story split among several books and these should probably take priority.  This is most common in my fantasy and science fiction reading.  2) Then there are series that tell a discrete story with each book but which have a recurring character or three who are developed over the course of the series.  These should be the next highest priority and are most often found in the mystery series I read.  3) Finally there are series that are only very loosely connected which can take a low priority.  Most of these are in the romance genre.  Unfortunately it's not as cut and dry as all that; for example I find that many of the Urban Fantasy series (like Dresden Files and the Kate Daniels series) I read are kind of hybrid between types 1 and 2 - mostly discrete stories in each book but also some longer story line carryover along with a recurring cast of characters.

It would also make sense to give priority to series that are complete so that I can get to the more satisfying "finished" rather than the lame "caught up".  This may be asking too much of a mood reader like myself however.  Quite frankly if I can focus on finishing/catching up with series that are in-progress and avoid starting new series for a couple-three months, I'll be pleased as punch but I'll try to keep the above priorities in mind.

To help hold my feet to the fire (or to give my lazy self a list to work from so thinking is at a minimum) here are ten series I want to be getting on with toot sweet:
  1. Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) by Naomi Novik - There are 6 books to go in this series and another coming out in 2016.
  2. The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastards #3) by Scott Lynch - This one is a tad dangerous as the series is currently meant to be 7 books total and Lynch is not always the fastest of writers.  That's totally fine of course - no pressure on him - but it means it's not great for someone with my feeble memory.  This maybe should go into the A Song of Ice and Fire pile of series I will not read anymore of until all books are published.
  3. Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga #13) by Lois McMaster Bujold- I thought I was mostly caught up with this series but apparently notI have 3 books to get through to prepare for the Cordelia focused book - Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen - which is being published very soon.
  4. Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews - One of my absolute favorite urban fantasy series.  This one is also still in progress and I have three books to catch up.  I won a copy of book 8, Magic Shifts, earlier this year and I want to get to it!!
  5. The Woman who Rides Like a Man (Song of Lionesse #3) by Tamora Pierce - Finally a series that is actually complete!  I stalled on this series and don't know why.  There are two more books in this series and then I need to resist, at least for a while starting any more books in the overall Tortall series books.  
  6. Two Serpents Rise (Craft Sequence #2) by Max Gladstone - This series should be completed in 2016 and I think I need to make a concerted effort to read it all this year.  I think it is complex enough that if I let it sit I'll be lost.
  7. Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #3) by Dan Simmons - I read book two of this fantastic series this year, roughly 6 years after reading the first book.  It ended up still being pretty great but I was mightily confused at times because I remembered very little from book 1.  After Endymion there is one more book in the series and I think it is complete (since that book was pubbed in 1997, lol).  
  8. The River of Souls (Matthew Corbett #5) by Robert McCammon - This is a historical mystery/thriller series that I'm pretty sure isn't complete  but I made some progress catching up with it in 2015 and want to get fully caught up this year.  This book should get me caught up and then book 6, Freedom of the Masks, is projected to be published in May 2016.
  9. The Unmapped Sea (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #5) - This middle-grade series is not yet finished but it will be a priority to keep up with because it's just so stinking delightful.
  10. The Chessman (Lewis Trilogy #3) by Peter May -  This is a mystery series (trilogy!) where the books within it are very tightly connected.  I'd like to finish it this year.
  11. *Cheating # 11* - here are ll the other series I would most like to catch up with in 2016: City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2) by Robert Jackson Bennett, A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2) by Soman Chainani, Little House on the Prairie (Little House #2) by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Clariel (Abhorsen #4) by Garth Nix, Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3) by Ben Aaronovitch, A Fatal Grace (Inspector Armand Gamache #2) by Louise Penny, Murder on Lenox Hill (Gaslight Mystery #7) by Victoria Thompson, One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie #2) by Kate Atkinson, The Warlock's Curse (Veneficas Americana #3) by M.K. Hobson, Rattle His Bones (Daisy Dalrymple #8) by Carola Dunn, The Case of the Left-handed Lady (Enola Holmes #2) by Nancy Springer, Honor's Knight (Paradox #2) by Rachel Bach, A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell #2) by Laurie R. King.
Phew!  So how about you?  What's your current series status?  Any resolutions or goals this year with series in mind?

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