I was browsing through my shelves today and remembered some good book series that I need to get back into (like The Morland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles). That got me thinking about the series I continue to read and why I choose to do so. There are the series I started with, then dropped off my must read list. What make you continue to read a series, and at what point do you let it go?
I used to be really devoted to reading a series in order. If I received a book and it was the second or later in a series, I made sure that I read the previous ones first. Because, you know, context and that. These days, if it’s not essential to world building, I don’t care too much. In fact, if I like the middle book, I’ll go back and read more in the series.
But there are some long running series out there – at what point do you stop? The first series I stopped was Baby-Sitters Little Sister, mainly because I was getting too old for them. Reading about a 7 year old when you’re 9 or 10 isn’t that cool, even if Karen was the little sister of Kristy of The Baby-Sitters Club, which I was mad about until about 13. I had all the books and read them multiple times, especially the Super Specials. (I thought the mysteries were a bit lame though). Then I realised it was probably not that cool (maybe slightly influenced by Stacey, who was trying to be too cool for the other babysitters at the time). At the same time, I got into Sweet Valley University, which was just plain odd and got weirder. I think I quite around book 7. Jess and Liz had had so many adventures during Sweet Valley High and I don’t think that could be topped.
The came a flirtation with Gossip Girl and I gradually stopped reading series. I tried Lord of the Rings and couldn’t finish the first one. It was easy to leave that behind (as was Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey). The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency was a bit more difficult to leave behind, as I enjoyed the books but parting with money for such a short read eventually didn’t seem like a good idea. I’ve loved The Morland Dynasty, but I’m still in denial that the series has ended, so I haven’t read the last book.
Then there are series I’m still in limbo with. I haven’t read the last two (or three) books in the Outlander series, does this mean I’m no longer interested in Claire and Jamie? Or just over it? I gave up on Thursday Next (The Eyre Affair) because it didn’t seem to be breaking new ground.
How do you decide it’s time to break up with a series? Does there need to be a deal breaker or do you drift away gradually?