What's the Best Way to Read Series? Together or Apart?

Series. Often, we love them; sometimes, we hate them (although let's be honest - they're still books. We mostly love them) and we ALWAYS hate having to wait for the next one to come out. 

Or, at least, I do. You wouldn't expect anything else from Miss What-Even-Is-Patience.
So, is it better to wait until you can hoard them ALL, and read the whole mega-story together? Once you start, you don't have to wait for anything. No cover reveals teasing you, because you already have them all (bought at the same time, so they match perfectly and everything). No gnashing your teeth because the ARCs have all been given out already, so you actually have to wait for release date. Sure, you hung back at first, but that was easier because you hadn't started yet. There's a difference between waiting on an interesting premise and waiting on a story that's already fused into a part of your soul.

The problem with this theory - which is very good, in theory - is that it's unrealistic. You might be willing to hold out for two to three years on that premise by yourself, but you also live in a connective world of book maniacs who are going to be squawking about that series all over social media. They'll want to talk to you about it . . . and then you'll have to be the party-crasher who's "waiting for the whole series to come out". Wouldn't you rather have one book now then have to wait three times as long for three?
Maybe. Maybe not.

What's annoying about reading books that far apart is that you forget details. Sometimes very big ones. (Sometimes whole characters, but that was one time and I'm just going to gloss over it.) This isn't just frustrating: it can also hamper your enjoyment of a perfectly good book because you can't quite recall how it all fits together. If you're a reviewer, that could change your opinion quite drastically (although obviously, it's still your opinion. Don't be afraid to write it.) Reading together, there's no gap with which to gamble on your memory.

When you eliminate the forgetting issue, however, it could be argued that you're robbing yourself - like the rotten thief you are - of the anticipation. No midnight book signings. No sneaking into bookshops to see if your baby has managed to worm onto the shelves a few days early. Where's the excitement? And isn't that torturous wait kind of delicious at the same time? Not to mention the fact that, however you slice it, it's not like having to re-read books to remember every detail is a bad thing. It just means more reading!

Gee, it's not like these arguments go in circles or anything, is it? I find that my opinion can completely flip depending on what angle I look at this issue from, which I guess makes my advice difficult to take.

Of course, you should still at least listen to it because I will one day be your overlord. Not doing so wouldn't end well for you.

I honestly think that, if I could, I would read all series together. It's just easier for me because of the whole memory thing, and the waiting really is easier if you can promise yourself all three at once. That said, since I became part of the blogosphere (and joined the howling book-newsfeed that is Twitter) I've been reading a lot more trilogies as they come out just because it's more realistic if you want to have conversations with other book people.
I guess it's also a little dependant on the kind of series: if each book leads directly on from the last, or does a lot of important but subtle foreshadowing, then you can get a lot of benefit from reading together, but if they have different POV characters or big timeline gaps in between or something similar, then the convenience of experiencing them apart might come into play more.

Ah. Just realised that I might have accidentally sounded a little serious during that post. Normal service will be resumed on Wednesday, I promise!

So, what's your opinion? Is it because of things I've touched on here, or do you have your own reasons? Tell all - I promise that the comments section is a safe space here, and whatever you say you'll be listened to.
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  1. There's definitely positives and negatives to all options, but I have to say, I really enjoy reading books as they come out. There's just so much excitement surrounding it all! Plus you get to see other people's reviews coming out at the same time, you can talk to other people about the book, and you have a chance of catching the book tour. There's just so much frenzy surrounding book releases that I enjoy getting to be a part of. Nicely written! <3

    1. YES! I get excitement just mentioning the excitement, to be honest. You should have seen the frenzy while I was writing this ... it wasn't exactly pretty. Anyway, glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Hmm.. I guess I am too old to wait for each book in a series. I'd rather wait until the final books come out and read them without being terrified of a cliffhanger.

    My memory isn't as good as it used too. I'd forget much detail if I wait, let's say one year for the sequel. It isn't as fun anymore. People say to strike the iron while it's hot, in my case, that saying really does have a point.

    Lovely post, Lara!

    1. I feel your pain ... honestly, I'm too old to wait for the next book in a series. I run in fear from cliffhangers. The only reason that I often read series apart is that my patience is even stronger than my fear.

      But you strike that iron, Citra. If it isn't fun for you, then don't even attempt to read series unless they're together. Glad you liked my "lovely" post!

  3. It depends on the series for me, I think. Sometimes I'll start reading series as soon as book one comes out, and other times I might not even find out about the series until it's finished.

    I am exceptionally bad at finishing series though, especially last books. I guess I don't like letting series go? Is that weird?

    1. *agrees with your comment pretty much entirely*

      Honestly, sometimes I prefer not finding out about a series 'till it's finished, because then it's RIGHT THERE. I can finish all the books at once without having to wait a second - which is exceptionally useful when you're bad at finishing series. I have the same problem. I think it's probably because the characters are my friends? And I don't want the next book to mess up their relationship with me or each other or life? (Seriously, the amount of characters that die in series finales is scary. I think I avoid them just so I won't experience death.)

      Thanks for your comment, Ely! I'm really glad you liked the post.


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