Monday, August 24, 2009

Musing Mondays-- Love 'em and Leave 'em or Devoted Follower?

Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?

Although my fiction shelves really don't support this claim, it makes very little difference to me whether a book is a standalone or a part of a series. Either has an equal chance of being brilliant reading.

With that being said, I will admit to being a character-driven reader, and series are made for folks like me. Series allow for rich, in-depth character development. Standalones can do this, too, but with a series, a reader can almost feel like a member of the family as each new book is published and devoured.

I once quipped in a post that my epitaph would read something along the lines of "She started 2,937 series and only finished 94 of them." I have no qualms about not finishing a book if I don't like what I'm reading, so series books are not sacrosanct. The only thing I'm obsessive about in reading series books is reading them in order because of the character development. So if I pick up that first book in a series and it doesn't do anything for me, I'm finished with that particular series. I've also been known to stop reading a series when the characters stop growing or if the plots become stale. It doesn't matter if I've read two or twenty-two. There are just too many books out there for me to sample to waste time on ones that I don't enjoy!

I read a lot of mysteries, so the series I like are all in that genre. Rather than type out a long old list, if you'd like to read about some of my favorites, you're more than welcome to read my post on favorite mystery series. It's in dire need of updating but will give you an idea of what I like!

As an aside...if you're a fan of mystery series and you also like to read them in order, have you heard of Stop, You're Killing Me? It is a website that lists hundreds of mysteries, and the series are all listed in order. This is one website that I refer to almost daily.

A big Thank You to Rebecca of Just One More Page for hosting this fun meme. If you'd like to see other answers to this question, click on the Musing Mondays logo at the top of this post!


  1. May I just say that for readers of your blog who have been paying attention your response was exactly what would be expected (in a good way, of course)?
    Anyway, you did raise an interesting point about character development and how series can accomplish and give you what not a lot of standalones can. I never thought of it this way but it's true.
    I am also the same way when it comes to choosing one over another: I don't, it really makes no difference but I am as well obsessive about reading a series from book one, lol.

  2. The one saving grace of series, for me anyway, is the character development aspect.

    And the reward of getting to intimately know them after investing so much time into reading the series.

  3. I am another fan of mystery series...and another one who demands character development to keep me interested in and reading the series. The reoccurring characters can be the strength of a series or it's death if the writers doesn't let them grow and develop.

  4. I love what you say about being character-driven. I am the same way - both for books and movies - and it is definitely the reason I enjoy series.

  5. Add my name to the list of lovers of character driven stories. Series are great for that and I've picked up quite a few suggestions from you. Thanks.

  6. I'm with you, if a series runs out of steam I'll quit it. If I like it, it finds a home on my shelf. I also like when an author takes time to develop the characters. my musings

  7. Are there any particular series you enjoy?

    Yes! Around 80 % of the crime fiction series I have ever embarked upon. I am a real seriesaholic because when you have met some characters and an environment you like, there is no need to let them down, is there?

    It is not that I don´t read books that stand alone, but when I buy books online, it feels much safer to choose the beloved series rather than trying something you don´t quite know what is.

  8. Lilly-- After reading each other's blogs for long periods of time, I think we get to know each other rather well, don't you? :)

    Elena-- The really good characters can have you talking to yourself as you read: "Don't do that!" "I told you he was up to no good!" ;)

    Caite-- This is so very very true!

    Trisha-- Let's hear it for the characters! :)

    Margot-- You're very welcome!

    Susan-- LOL Spoken like a true bookaholic! And if I'm completely honest with myself, I'm the same way. Just give me BOOKS!

    Dorte-- This is very true. Once you've sampled a series and enjoyed it, you're not really "buying in the dark" anymore.


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