Bookish to a Fault (2) - I Have A Seriesish Problem

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 10:00 AM

Bookish to a Fault, an original feature from Courtney Reads A Lot, is where I confess my nonsensical and/or shameful reading habits and bookish behaviors. These posts serve as a reality check, as I'm often living in denial. I chose to share these posts with you because I'm sure you can relate. If anyone can understand where I'm coming from, it would be fellow book bloggers and readers like yourselves.
I Have A Seriesish Problem

In my first Bookish to a Fault post, I talked about the uncontrollable urge I sometimes get to buy more books when I still have so many books waiting to be read at home. I know I shouldn’t, and I feel so guilty afterwards, but I just can’t seem to help myself when I step into a bookstore or end up on Amazon.

In my second Bookish to a Fault post, I’d like to confess this terrible habit I have of leaving book series unfinished. I start new book series all the time, even though I shouldn’t, even though I have a million other book series I still need to finish. But I see fellow book bloggers reviewing these books, and raving about them, and I just cannot resist the temptation. Sure, I could wait until I’ve finished other book series, but if there’s one thing I don’t have a lot of, it’s patience.

As you can tell from my blog, I mostly read young adult books, especially if the book falls in the fantasy genre. And lately, it seems like every new YA fantasy is part of a series. Sometimes, I'll read a book, thinking it's a standalone, only to discover later on it's part of a series. I always feel cheated, like somehow I've been tricked into taking on more responsibility than I want. How am I supposed to move on after a cliffhanger ending? How can I just look the other way when there are questions that remain unanswered? I can't! And therein lies the problem. I'm trapped; I need to read the other books, and it's just too much commitment! 

When I start a new book series, I always have the best of intentions of finishing it. I tell myself that this series will be different; that so many people loved this one so I will too and I will fly through it. But even if I love the first book, and I’m super excited to continue on with the series, I still end up procrastinating. Why? I have no clue.

I’ve thought about this way more than I should, and I’ve come up with some reasons why I might be doing this:
  • Middle book syndrome – So many second books in trilogies seem to suffer from middle book syndrome. They basically just serve as an in-between book in the series, and not much happens (here’s looking at you Insurgent). When the first book is really well done, I’m spoiled. I start expecting the same quality for the rest of the series, and it sets the bar high for the later installments. Maybe I’m worried that the second book won’t live up to the high expectations set by the first? 
  • Could have easily been a standalone – There are some instances where I’m perfectly content with the ending of the first book, and I don’t think an entire series is warranted. All my questions were answered, everything was wrapped up nicely, the lovebirds got it on, and I just don’t see the point of more books. Sure, there’s always more you can write, but what if it just goes downhill? You just need to realize when you have a good thing going and then let it go.
  • Death rate increases – Authors tend to have a nasty habit of killing off more and more characters as the series progresses. A perfect example would be A Song of Fire and Ice, where no one is safe and nothing is sacred. (You are evil, George R.R. Martin.) Every time a beloved character dies, I feel like I've been ripped in two, and I can't take all of the EMOTIONS! So I'd rather just avoid that even happening. I can't handle the pain!
  • The ending could completely suck – Yeah, it’s a risk you take with every series. But for some stupid reason, I end up worrying that the authors have no idea where the series is going, and that I will be disappointed in the conclusion. Whenever I come across a horrible ending, I think, that’s what we’ve been working towards this whole time? It’s just a crushing blow. 
Don’t get me wrong. I love revisiting some of my favorite fantasy worlds when the new book is released. I love being reintroduced to beloved characters, and discovering more about their personalities and uncovering sordid details from their pasts. Sometimes, I am relieved when I find out that there’s more that awaits me; that the adventure is not yet finished. This means more world building and more character development and more everything! But other times, I just feel mentally exhausted when I realize I have yet another series to complete. It's just all too much.

This year, I challenged myself to finish some of the series I’ve started. I’ve done an okay job so far, and I’m hoping to finish a good amount by the end of the year. But there will still be some series I will probably never finish, whether because they just weren’t for me or because I simply don’t have enough time for all of the books I want to read.

So what about you guys? Do you have the same problem with finishing series? Do you prefer standalones or do you like a mix of both? Did any of this make a lick of sense? I hope so!


  1. YES COURTNEY!!! Love this post. I use to be obsessed with finishing a series I've started, but lately so many sequels or series endings have been so disappointing and things I've HATED (like main characters dying) have happened, that I'm scared to finish series now. I'm an HEA girl, and I need everything to work out well for the characters. I also like explanations, and I've read a couple wide open endings lately too. Those are equally frustrating for me. Despite everything I just said though, I still love reading series, and almost all the books I'm reading at the moment are first or second in a series. I'm ridiculous apparently:)

  2. I hate when I feel like I was tricked into reading a first book in a series! *Shakes fist in the air.*

    I'm like you and have a problem with finishing series. I really have no idea why tho. Your make excellent reasons, but I still am not really sure why I won't finish a series. I have lost count of how many series I have started and not finished. The only big reason I can think of is that sometimes I will either forget about a series, or I will actually forget about a series in that I can't remember what has happened in the previous book or can't remember how much I like it so I feel like inclined to read the second one. Does that make sense? Anyway, I'm done with my small ramble. Love this post!

    Kay @ It's a Book Life

  3. I have the SAME PROBLEM. Only, I don't even feel guilty about it. I'm never going to finish the Divergent trilogy--just not happening--or Moira Young's Blood Red Road trilogy since it's been waaaay too long since I remember any of the characters and there are SO MANY book series where the first book has felt so complete that I refuse to pick up the sequels (like Not a Drop to Drink). Of course, there are plenty of series that I do finish but sometimes the struggle is so real, you know? I feel you on this one, Courtney--you are not alone.

  4. hahahaha Jensen. Sad on the inside.

    I have to finish trilogies, even if I think their awful just because I HAVE TO KNOW.There's several I wish I had quit.

  5. Ah series, they are such a pain to my TBR list and my wallet! I don't really feel the need to finish a series if I don't like it though, or even if the wait has been so long and I kind of forget about the book, then I can take it as a sign to let it go. I think it's fine to not finish a series sometimes.

    But overall I think I do like series - if I really like the first book, it's nice to know there is more to come. But I totally agree that there are some first books that are really good as standalones. Series can be such a mixed bag for me!

  6. I am so bad at completing series too Courtney, I actually shared a post recently with all the series that I needed to complete and seriously there were so many books on there. I think one of the reasons I struggle is because I've become such a mood reader, I may start off with one book in the series, and then feel as if I want to read something completely different! Good luck with ticking off books from your list, if you do want to read any together I'd be more than happy to do so! :)

  7. I hear you! I've intentionally made it a priority to complete series this year because I've been historically so bad at it. I was having a conversation with my sister about books and realized that I'd read the first books in a LOT of series and never bothered with the rest!

    I definitely relate to the second point you made: does everything HAVE to be a series? When I'm satisfied with a book's ending, I'm more likely to put off reading further. The resolution at the end of book 1 makes me feel like everything can just sit for a little while because it's all been nicely tied up. And then I just never go back!

    I almost prefer series that were planned before the first book was published--because there's less wrap up at the end of book 1 and it's easier to see how and why things will continue. And that tends to intrigue me enough to want to keep reading.

  8. Finishing series is hard, therefor I have challenged myself to complete at least 12 and I sometimes post updates about my 'mission impossible.' And since I love making lists, I have a spreadsheet in Excel with all my details and stats, haha.

    I don't mind reading series, as long as I know it from the beginning. I hate the trend where some books, after popular demand, become a series.. Sometimes its just unnecessarily. Write the amount of books your story need, not because you want to make more money (that's how it feels to me)

  9. Sometimes I think I should just wait until an entire series is released before I delve into it for the reasons you list above. That way I'll be able to get a good idea from reviews if the second book suffers or if the ending wasn't satisfying. And then you can binge read without the wait in between (of course, there is still that ton of waiting you need to do for all the books to be released...).

    But the majority of the time, I'm like you, if a new book series is being buzzed about and it just sounds SO good, then OF COURSE I need to check it out ASAP! I want to be in on the action and I want to know what everyone is talking about! So I also end up with a great many series on the go and the feeling of being overwhelmed...

    I don't know though, I have gotten a bit better at a) finishing the series I wanted to and b) saying goodbye to series midway through that I wasn't super enamoured with. That's the best way I can think of to deal with my series problem. I think you've done a great job at finishing series so far this year!

    1. Oh, and I really liked this post and the gifs!!


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