Saving the Good Stuff

A post on George Kelley’s blog the other day about John Mortimer’s final Rumpole of the Bailey novel, Rumpole Misbehaves, garnered several responses, including mine, about reading a favorite series but stopping before the last book to “save” that one for later.

It’s not an uncommon practice, and I do it myself, perhaps more often than I should. Does it make any sense to not read something you know you’re going to like just because you know you’re going to like it? Put that way, no, probably not.

Yet I have done it with several series, and not just the final book, either. I have the last two Charlie Resnick novels by John Harvey in the “saved” category, and the last four Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters, and – though I don’t think the series has ended – the last couple Nameless books by Bill Pronzini. I’ve got one by Ted Wood, two by Edward Marsdon in his Domesday book series, and quite a few other saved books.

I even have a few Perry Mason, Mike Shayne and Shell Scott books that I’ve not gotten to because I don’t want there to be none left to read. It was all I could do to bring myself to read the final William Kent Krueger Cork O’Conner novel, Heaven’s Keep (reviewed here) but there are some things I can’t resist, and WKK novels, like fudge brownies or rhubarb pie, fall into that group. Besides, I found out there is going to be another O’Conner novel. Eventually.

It may not make sense to save a book to read another time, especially if there are a lot of other books in the To Be Read pile and lots more you’d like to reread at some point. But I’m not he only one who does it. No, others do it too. How about you? Is there an author or series you “save for later”?

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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9 Responses to Saving the Good Stuff

  1. Bill Crider says:

    One of my profs in grad school said, “Anthony Trollope wrote 47 novels, and I’ve read 45 of them. I’m saving two for my old age.”

  2. Richard says:

    I’m sure George Kelley could relate to that one, though I’m sure he’s read all 47.

  3. I get it, Richard. I saved The Maltese Falcon for a number of years just because it was the last Hammett novel I had to read. Now Spade and Archer sets perched on my TBR pile waiting for that “right” moment.

  4. Richard says:

    Yep, Randy, that’s it for certain. Thing is, I have so darn many books to read, I’m not sure if it makes sense to set any aside for later… what if later never comes?

  5. “What if later never comes?” is exactly the dilemma of postponing the reading of the final books in a beloved series. That’s why I took the plunge and read the final Rumpole. And I’m only 25 of Trollope’s 47 novels. But I’m working my way through his books, too. My goal is to complete reading all of Trollope’s work by 2014.

  6. Carl V. says:

    I’ve done that a few times. I remember putting off The Last Colony by John Scalzi because I wasn’t ready for the Old Man’s War series to end. And then it didn’t, because he released Zoe’s Tale. I’ve done this with television as well. I put off watching the final episode of Firefly on DVD and the final few episodes of DS9 when I watched it on DVD because I did not want the series to end.

  7. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Now that Harvey has brought back Charlie Resnick you can read the older ones, Rick.

    I saved the last Maigret for several years but eventually read it.

    And I have Crider’s porous memory so I’ve forgotten a lot of these things and can read them again if I want to.

  8. Richard says:

    Yes, I know he wrote another Resnick, though I saw a weak review or two. That is a case where I set them aside and just forgot about them. Every time I’d see mention of Harvey I’d think I need to get back to reading those and then, in the blizzard of other books swirling around this place, I’d forget again.

    I also have that porous memory, or maybe I should just say lousy memory in my case. I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast…wait, it was Cheerios. But I know that because it’s what I eat every day.

  9. Richard says:

    Carl – I never saw Firefly, one of those instances where I learned about it in the middle and didn’t want to try and catch up. I have it and the follow-up film in my Netflix queue.

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