Why I Gravitate Towards Series

Posted March 17, 2016 by Emily in Uncategorized / 7 Comments

Recently, I was rearranging my bookshelves when I came to a realization. I was struggling to find a way to make all my books fit on the shelf. There was one major problem: the vast majority of my book collection was made up of series. Eventually, I found a way to make all my books fit on the shelf…without having to separate my beloved series from one another. However, I continued thinking after the fact about the amount of series I owned. I still think about it now. Why do I own so many series? By extension, why do I always seem to be drawn towards book series instead of standalones?

Over time, I came up with a list as to why I gravitate towards series.

we have a history

Some of my most vivid childhood memories revolve around curling up before bedtime with my mom to read the Little House on the Prairie series. It started with just my mother reading to me, then me gradually reading as well. Basically, I was introduced to the world of chapter books through Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then, there were the Magic Tree House books, Judy Moody, The Chronicles of Narnia. Finally, of course, I branched into Harry Potter. Growing up reading series most definitely has made an impact on me continuing to read series today.

attachment issues

I’ll be straightforward with this one: I fall in love with characters. Particularly flawed ones. No, particularly flawed ones who need to prove themselves. Whether that be by reinstating themselves as ruler of their land or righting a wrong, I don’t care. I adore books with interesting characters. And, I adore series that allow me to continue on a journey with characters that I’ve grown to love and admire. I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes find my mind drifting off to wonder what my favorite characters are doing or how their journey will end. Being able to journey with characters as they grow and learn and love and mess-up and, yes, sometimes perish is one of my favorite things. And another reason I love series. It’s just too hard to let go.

suspense/casual emotional torture

Oh, I just finished this wonderful book but it ended on a cliffhanger! Wait, what was that? The sequel hasn’t been released yet? OH, it won’t be released until next year? GREAT. YES. THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS. I LOVE WAITING. Okay, maybe not. But, I do love a good cliffhanger. I don’t know what it is, but I’m not a fan of clean breaks. Ambiguity and curiosity toward the future are what keep me (in)sane. I get a thrill out of finishing a book and just…NEEDING MORE. It’s a bit strange, but I love it. I admire authors who use cliffhangers and use them well. Bravo for making sure that I will definitely purchase the next book in your series, wonderfully cruel author.

it’s the lay of the land

Nowadays, it seems like almost every new book you hear about it part of a series. They’re everywhere. Maybe it’s the first book that then becomes a piece in a bigger stories. Or maybe it’s the second or third book in a series. Either way, series are all the rage at the moment. They’re easier to find, and therefore, I stumble across them more often. Sometimes, I won’t even realize I’m reading a series, like I did when I read the preview for A Gathering of Shadows without realizing another book came first (I did figure it out).

to be clear…

I don’t hate standalones. In fact, some of my favorite books are standalones. However, there’s just something about series that draws me in. Something that holds my attention. And something that will probably keep taking all my spending money until the day I die. Thanks, book series, you’re pretty great.

what do you think?

Do you read standalones or series more? Why do you think that is? Is there a particular genre you’re drawn to more than others?


7 responses to “Why I Gravitate Towards Series

  1. This is a great discussion post, Emily! I’m the same way, I tend to be drawn to series. Don’t ask me how many series I have on my shelves, cause my shelves aren’t done yet. So I couldn’t tell you. But I also have a love-hate relationship with series as well. As much as I love series, I hate finishing them. Most of the series I have started, I haven’t finished because when I read the last book I know it’s over! I need to get over that though, and I am slowly working on it! 🙂

    But I do like to read standalones, too. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you! Thanks for a wonderful discussion post! 🙂 xo
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    • Emily

      I have the same problem! It usually takes me FOREVER to actually sit down and finish a series. It’s probably from the emotional attachment. I never want it to end!

  2. Debbie

    This is really interesting and I’m actually kind of the opposite towards series. While I do love and enjoy many series because like you mentioned I get attached to the characters and their story and sometimes fantasise about what they’re up to, but there are reasons why I think I enjoy standalones better. Series can be a pain for me because I hate, HATE waiting for the next book after falling in love with the first one and it usually takes at least 6+ months for the new one to be published which by then of course I’ve forgotten most of the details of the previous book (I have really bad memory). Standalones are great for me because I don’t always have time for the re-reads and they are quick also I’ll have the neding of the book and I won’t be disappointed in an ending after investing 3+ years in a series.

    • Emily

      Great points, Debbie! The waiting can definitely be a pain, but somehow I find that it’s usually worth it. Endings can be a major problem though, which is often why I rarely enjoy the final book in a series as much as the previous books.

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