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.
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?