Tuesday Talks: Series, to Continue or Not?

It’s time for Tuesday Talks which was created by Janie and Janelle. This week the topic is: If you do not enjoy the first book in a series do you still continue reading the series?

There are times when you pick up a book, be that an anticipated release or simply something you’ve stumbled upon, and you just didn’t find yourself enjoying the book. There could be all sorts of reasons, but something is keeping you from being excited about the prospect of more books. In short, you didn’t like it. The big question becomes, do you continue to read the series or do you give up?\

It all depends.

Reasons I Continue

There are a lot of series out there. Investing my time into a series that I do not enjoy can potentially be a waste of time. Why read a book that you know you won’t enjoy? For most people it’s a pretty straight forward question. As a writer, it is a bit more complex. Every book good or bad can serve as a lesson to a writer. There is always something that we can learn. Even if that something is how not to use an element or storytelling device. There is something I can look at and say, I want to avoid doing this in my writing. Thus a story that I don’t enjoy becomes a learning ground.

Somewhat similarly, as a writer I read critically. Even when I’m reading solely for enjoyment, I can’t help stopping and looking more closely at the writing. As a result, sometimes I don’t enjoy a book as much as other people do.When that happens I feel a little guilty. I’ll feel like I’m harping on an element that doesn’t really make up much of the story but it gets under my writerly skin.I cringe and try to re-evaluate.

Then there is simply curiosity. Sometimes I finish a story and I know I didn’t enjoy it, but in some way the story has hooked me enough that despite not liking one or more of the installments, I jump in again. Generally it’s with reluctance. I then dive back into the world with hopes that things will get better. Most of the times it stagnates. Sometimes it gets blatantly worse. However there are the diamonds in the rough that ultimately get better. Those are the stories that really make sticking around worth it.

Reasons I Stop

Then there are the times when I picked up a book and I know that I’m done. Something made me hate it and then other elements compounded it. My frustration is tangible at these levels. It is rare that I hate a book. Again as a writer i know how much effort can be put into these things. You pour out your heart and soul. You try to create something. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. I should know, I have enough stories in my trunk. Even when I know I hate a story, I try to keep it in. While I know that I’m judging just the book and not the author. I know it can hurt. Yet, still there are some books that I can’t even manage to hate read.

Worse are the times when I don’t continue due to sheer indifference. I’m talking I read the book and I honestly could not get upset about things. I didn’t root for characters or rue the lack of their demise. I just didn’t care. There is little worse than just not caring.

So Do I Continue or Not?

Now you’re probably wondering how I make my decisions. Really it comes down to all of you reading this. When it comes to continuing a series I didn’t enjoy it really comes down to opinions. If I’m uncertain if a series is worth my time I heavily weigh in the opinions of people I trust or people I’ve seen have similar tastes to mine. If the feeling is overhwhelmingly positive then I will go for it. If it’s negative then I don’t. Unless I decide to hateread and that’s an entirely different story.

When you don’t enjoy a story, do you stick it out for more of the series or call it quits?

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2 thoughts on “Tuesday Talks: Series, to Continue or Not?

  1. If I felt the ending was satisfying, but with enough story left to continue, then I’m more likely to read on. If I hated the ending, and/or the ending was a huge cliffhanger – common when the first book is free/much reduced in price – to make me buy full price book two (and three, and maybe four) then I’ll be less likely to. I expect a whole story with some sort of resolution in book one, something that stands alone almost as well as it sets the scene for future novels.

    If I’ve somehow initially read the second book in a trilogy/series, I’m more understanding about a cliffhanger, and will likely go on to read the third. I may or may not go back and read book one also. This mostly happens with charity store finds rather than my online reading 🙂

    So long as my attention is held though I’ll continue to read. The entire Prydain series for example, and the majority of the Vampire Chronicles.

    • Great point. There are so many books I’ve found don’t stand as a cohesive story. It seems many people seem to think they are writing Lord of the Rings and forget that it is actually one book not three. Beginning, middle, end people.

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