Favorite Series: Reading, “Saving”, Re-reading

It’s something I’d bet almost all of us do. By “us” I mean readers, those of us who read a lot, whatever the genre. I know it’s something I didn’t do as a kid but started doing as an adult: saving a book or two in a favorite series for later. I guess it’s pretty much like saving anything; the best example I can come with off the top of my head is not watching the final episode of a favorite television show so it “won’t be over”. That’s something I know a few people did with Lost and The Sopranos. That’s not really common, though, and I think this is.

At some point I disliked that feeling of “it’s over” enough to not read the latest book in a series I liked a lot, just so I’d be able to read it later. I know, it may not make much sense, but there it is. I have books in several series, by various authors on the shelf unread, for just this reason. I probably began this behavior with fantasy trilogies, not wanting to read the first or second books until I had the third-the complete series- in hand. Then I started reserving the last book in a mystery series until I knew the next was written and would be published. The interval between books was the same, a year or two, but there was the assurance there would be another. This all went wrong when I had not one but several books in a series set aside.

One example: I have the complete Cadfael series on the shelf, but I have not read the final 4 or 5 books. I’m saving them. Sometime when I want a guaranteed good reading experience, a familiar, favorite author and character, I’ll take the next book off of the shelf and read it.

This is not, however, something I did with William Kent Krueger’s fine series of mysteries featuring Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor. I didn’t read the first one when it came out, though I meant to, but I did buy the paperback when it was published and after that read the rest of the series as they were published. This is a series and protagonist I like a lot, and it looked for a while as if the series might end with the last book,Heaven’s Keep. Now word is there will be one more book, and that’s good news, but I started thinking about the series, my reading of it over time, and wondering if I would enjoy the early books as much as I remembered, or whether the series and author had, for me, taken on a kind of halo that disguised the books in memory.

Only one way to find out: re-read the books.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve already started, I read the first one, Iron Lake, last week, and it will be my Friday Forgotten Book for tomorrow. I’ll compare my thoughts on the book this time around with the short review I wrote back in 2004.  See you there.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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6 Responses to Favorite Series: Reading, “Saving”, Re-reading

  1. Chris says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever saved books to read, mainly because I have so many on my TBR pile that I know I’ll love anyway. As for re-reads, I keep a select few on hand that I know I will at least WANT to return to again at some point.

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I don’t save books either. I did save the last Maigret for a while, but that was as much because of the way I read Simenon (several in a row, then skip a year) as saving the book. I can’t think of another series I’ve left the last book unread.

    Jackie has started collecting books for the first time in the last 5-6 years. She tends to keep favorite authors and series for possible rereading, though she rarely does reread. (For a while she was rereading the last J. D. Robb book when the new one came out; ditto Harry Potter.)

  3. Richard says:

    Okay, apparently what I thought was pretty common practice is just my own weirdness. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Regardless. there will be a FFB on Iron Lake tomorrow, if I get the damn thing written. Right now I need a nap.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    I never reread a book intentionally–though sometimes a short story. I feel obliged to move forward like a shark. Sampling a book from each writer these days, never reading a second. Many of the books I read are considered literary. That keeps me from reading as many crime fiction books as I might. It’s all sort of sad.

  5. Richard says:

    Patti – Goodness. Only one book per author? Perhaps I misunderstand. So if you read The Big Sleep, that would be it for Chandler? You wouldn’t read Farewell My Lovely or any of the other novels? You only read one of Parker’s Spenser books? Hillerman? Or to use a more current example, you read only one book by Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, etc? Interesting, i don’t believe I’ve heard of that approach before. How is it working?

    Like your “like a shark”.

  6. Like you, I wait until I have all the volumes in a trilogy before I read it. With series books, I buy them and read them as the mood strikes. There’s a certain sadness when you read the last book in a series knowing there won’t be any more written. The last 87th Precinct and the last Dortmunder caper novel had that effect on me.

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