I don’t know about you, but I have a teeny-tiny problem with reading book series. Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “But Jancee!” you cry, “Reading a book series is the best! Fantastic and extensive world-building, you get to watch the characters grow, and you have plenty of time with a story you love!” And that would be correct, reader. I love all those things. So what’s the problem?
Well, it’s simple. I have a hard time finishing the series. I always start out with the best of intentions. I read the first book and love it. I go on to the second book. And then…life gets in the way. Maybe the library doesn’t have the next entry. I have to read something else for a challenge or book club. The next book isn’t even released yet. I start playing an amazing video game and all my free time gets devoted to that. Or I just have a lot going on and abandon my reading or seek easier fare. Whatever the reason, I promise myself that I’ll go back. Finish the series. Bring order to that chaos. And then I…don’t.
One day I just got overwhelmed and freaked out by all the unfinished business in my reading life. I realized that in the case where all the books in the series are out, I’m taking time away from reading more stuff by having to reread half the series again to pick up the story. So I decided to do something about it. I don’t know how you all organize your Goodreads shelves, but I decided to do something a little different. I don’t organize by genre or topic or keywords. Instead, I chose to create a series of practical TBR shelves, to help me choose what I should read next. Adult nonfiction, stand-alone, and series. Children/YA nonfiction, stand-alone, and series. Classics. Graphic novels. Picture books. And a lovely little shelf that I’ve called “series in progress”.
My thinking was this: if I read the first book in a series and love it, add the second book (or the rest of the series) to the series in progress shelf so I don’t forget about it. If the next book isn’t out yet, add it to the shelf. Theoretically I’ve set myself up for success in this area, right?
Well, kind of. Periodically I scroll through the list and remind myself that I need to get back to this or that series soon. And then I go read something else, or start a new series, and then my shelf just grows and grows instead of decreasing! It’s even worse now that I’m in a comics mood all the time, as I’m adding volume after volume of my favorite superhero comics that I’ve started. Currently, my series in progress shelf holds 39 books.
So I’ve decided on a course of action. Of course I’m finishing up Harry Potter for my roomie reading challenge. Then I have some review copies to bust through. And maybe a book club book or two. But then, I’m tackling my series. Starting with those in which all the installations have been published, I’m going to try to tie up some loose ends. Read the books I said I would read weeks, months, years ago. Finish those series. It’ll be hard. But I think I’m up to the challenge.
What about you, friends? Do you have trouble finishing a series? What do you do about it? Any advice for me?