I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
I like books in a series, generally. There's a certain comfort to familiar characters, and one has time to develop favorite characters and appreciate nuances that arc over long distances. When I was a kid, I read lots of series: Ramona, Betsy-Tacy-Tib, Trixie Belden, Alfred Hitchock's Three Investigators, Lord of the Rings, Narnia -- so many.
But I always like a series best when I can gulp it down whole, without waiting for publication of the next installment. Authors sometimes hit blocks, with books coming out much later than originally promised; I as a reader might get distracted and never get back to the story. Once a series is complete, I know I can read straight through to the end, get my resolution, not be on cruel tenterhooks, and, most importantly, not be so far between readings of sequential texts that I miss the wonderful nuances that are storytellers' gifts to readers.
Corollary: Always read the stories in order. Even in series where it doesn't really matter -- episodic serials more than series -- it matters deeply to me.
In 2011, I read all seven Harry Potter books over the course of a few weeks. The next summer, I did the same thing with the Hunger Games books. It was exhilarating and truly felt like living in those worlds for a period of time, which I doubt a piecemeal reading would have afforded.
All of this is a long preamble to recent news about two interesting series. First, it was announced earlier this year that Hilary Mantel's Cromwell series will be made into a PBS miniseries in 2015 (that's next year, if you're in denial about how fast time is passing). I've been looking forward to reading this series for some time, partly because of its subject matter, partly because of the fine reviews and partly because both volume 1, "Wolf Hall," and volume 2, "Bringing Up the Bodies," both won the Booker Prize. Pretty amazing feat, and I also adore prize winners -- almost a guarantee of a good read. The trick is, the final book in Mantel's series also will be published in 2015. So, I'm going to have to read volumes 1 and 2 to prepare for the series (Remember: Always read the book first). Then, I will likely have a gap before reading volume 3.
However, news over the last week or so is that Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" series is now complete, with the release of the third book, to fine reviews. (Grossman also gives good interviews.) I've heard good things about this trilogy, often characterized as a grown-up response to Harry Potter. I'm looking forward to reading it. in its entirety. Over a relatively short blast of time.