Currently, I find myself in an extreme reading slump – but prior to this I started thinking about all the unfinished series on my shelves and wondered why I’ve left them that way.
I’ve mentioned before that Sweetbeeps is notorious for crapping out on the last book in a series (usually he reads trilogies) – and it’s not because he’s not enjoying the book or series. He, unlike myself, goes through phases where he reads a ton and then where he doesn’t read at all. When reading, he usually flies through a book or two, before forgetting that books exist and leaving me to wander around, reshelving the books he’s abandoned because I don’t like to leave them lying about. If you pick up the last book in a series from our shelves, there’s a good chance there’s a bookmark in it, crying out for Sweetbeeps to pick up where he left off. But that’s not likely, because he’s probably started something else and would have to restart the series in order to remember what happened.
I wonder to myself, how can he just abandon a book like that?
But here I am, with a TON of unfinished series on my self-aware TBR. “Pot and kettle,” I hear you say.
I can’t fathom stopping mid-book if I’m enjoying my read (well, ok, at this very moment I can because I’ve finally experienced a true slump, but that’s not what I’m talking about in this post, so let’s pretend I can’t!), but I can clearly stop before I’ve completed all the books in a series.
Why is that?
I don’t phase in and out of reading like Sweetbeeps. Hardly a day goes by where I don’t at least sneak in a few minutes of reading. Oftentimes I already own the next (or last, or whatever) book. Why don’t I just keep reading!?
My current example is Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series. I devoured Prince of Thorns and ran out to buy the two other books in the series about a week later. I dove right into King of Thorns and really enjoyed that. About a day later, I started Emperor of Thorns…and that was about 20 days ago. I can feel my eagerness to finish the series slipping away – and this has nothing to do with the quality of writing! I want to know more about the world, I want to know what happens to the characters, so why aren’t I continuing?
How about The Lies of Locke Lamora? I barely shut up about that book and I’ve read the sequel, but the third book in the series sits, literally gathering dust, on my shelves. I could make the argument that this far, there’s no date for the forthcoming books and I would be cliff-hanging myself (yes, going with that) if I finish book three. But that’s not really why I haven’t picked up the third book.
Why haven’t I?
Honestly, I’m not quite sure.
Sometimes the answer is that I don’t own the next book in the series. Maybe I’ll run right out and get it, or maybe I have to wait due to finances or the book not having been released yet. Sure – that’s a reasonable…reason, but there are ample examples (heh) on my shelves where I own completed series that I haven’t finished.
Maybe I’m worried about getting sick of the characters or world by reading so many books in a row. Or perhaps I’m afraid my experience in that world will end if I read all the books in a series. But those reasons don’t seem right either.
It could be, in part, because there’s a certain pressure to keep up with a series. You start a book, get invested in the characters and the world and the plot and then it ends, but the story continues in the next two, three, five, whatever books. If I like the book, I have to continue, don’t I? But I’m not one to stick to TBRs, even casual ones I attempt to set for myself, and starting a series feels like committing to a mini (or not-so-mini in the case of the 15-book Deverry series that I’ve still yet to complete) TBR.
I’m not really sure what my point is here – just rambling.
I do know though, that my failure to finish any given series in a timely manner often results in having to start back at the beginning in order to remember, well, anything. I don’t necessarily mind this, but it certainly eats into time that I could be using to read books I’ve never read before.
Tell me, if you have problems committing to series, do you know what they are? Why is it so hard to just finish a series!?