The Serial Reader Tag

I saw this on @Bookwyrmknits blog and thought it looked like fun. It was most likely created by Dutch blogger, @Zwartraafje in this post

I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you’d like to do this, go ahead! Please let me know so I can see your answers (I’m very nosy!)

From which series are you reading or did you read the spin-off series?

I actually can’t think of many books series that have spin off series. The one that pops into my mind is the Lord John series which is a spin off of the Outlander series. Unlike Outlander, which has elements of SFF weirdness, these are for the most part historical mysteries. They feature a character, Lord John Grey, who is introduced in the third Outlander book and plays a significant role in several of the following books. But in the Lord John books, we learn that he had his own stuff going on too.

The only other spin off series I can think of is Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series. It has an original trilogy (Daughter of the Forest, Son of the Shadows, Child of the Prophecy) which follows three generations of a family in ancient Ireland that lives on the border between the real world and a shadowy Otherworld. The story then moves ahead a few generations and a second trilogy focuses on a new generation of the same family. The books in the second trilogy (Heir to Sevenwaters, Seer of Sevenwaters, and Flame of Sevenwaters) each follow one sibling of the family. There’s also a short story called “Twixt Firelight and Water” that is part of the second trilogy.

I actually just thought of a third. Karin Slaughter’s Grant County series eventually transitioned into her Will Trent series, but I won’t go into how that happened since it involves major spoilers!

With which series did the first book not sell you over from the start?

Does a trilogy count as a series? For my purposes I’m saying it does! I really enjoyed Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy, but the first book was probably my least favorite. Not that it was bad- it wasn’t! But I gave it 4/5 stars, whereas the second and third, I gave 5/5. I think it took some time for me to get really attached to the heroine, to the point where I was really invested in what happened to her and the people she cared about.

Which series hooked you from the start?

I think that I was captured by Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy after the first chapter of the first book. It opens in a market in 19th century India, and (without spoilers) the heroine witnesses something traumatic and life changing. The next chapter moves the story to a very different setting, and I was totally on board for the trip! I want to reread the series, because it’s been a long time since I originally read it, but I’m afraid it won’t live up won’t live up to my memory of it.

Which series do you have completed on your shelves?

A few, but one of the only ones I have as a set is the Anne of Green Gables series. I was given a volume that included Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne’s House of Dreams for a childhood birthday and I fell in love with Anne and company. It was a few years later that I learned that the series actually has 8 books, not 3! While Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea are the first two, Anne’s House of Dreams isn’t #3 it’s #5, so it always seemed kind of random that it was included in that volume. I actually still have the volume, because it’s a beautiful, hardcover, illustrated volume, but the choice of books is rather strange to me. So when I learned that there were other Anne books out there, I got the complete set so I’d have them all!

Which series have you read completely?

Many of the ones I’ve mentioned so far I’ve read completely. Others that jump to mind include:

Which series do you not own completely but would like to?

I’ve read the first two of Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles and I own the third book as well though I haven’t read it yet. I want to eventually read the whole series but they’re slow going and I don’t want to buy the rest before I’ve read the first few. They’re good, but they’re not easy reads because they have a lot of references to things with which I’m not familiar. We’re also not in the main character’s head much, so his thoughts and motivations are a mystery a lot of the time. That’s the way it’s supposed to be until all is revealed, but it can make it a challenge to get into the books if you’re not it in the right mood for it.

I also got The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss from the library some time ago. It’s the first in a trilogy called The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club, and I definitely want to read more. I think I’d also like to own a copy of the first one in case I want to revisit it at some point.

Which series do you not want to own completely but still read?

I recently discovered the October Daye series (I’ve only read the first book so far) and I definitely want to read more, but there are 14 books in all and I don’t have enough shelf space as it is! I’ll stick to the library and ebooks.

Another series is The Dresden Files. I think I’ve read the first six or so books, and really enjoyed them. But there are 17 in the series, so I run into the same shelf space issue. Plus some things on the author’s twitter make me question whether I want to support him financially, so I’m going to stick to library copies

I’ve also been enjoying Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series. But there are 15, and they’re probably not books I’ll want to revisit after I finish them.

Which series are you not continuing?

Most likely the Cormoran Strike series. It’s unfortunate, because I really enjoyed the first few, but ever since it came out that the most recent book in the series, Troubled Blood is a platform for a Rowling’s transphobia, I haven’t been looking forward to reading it. It’s not the first time some of transphobia seeped into the series (there was a questionable episode in The Silkworm) but it seems like the first time it’s really taken over a book.

Which series you haven’t started yet are you curious about?

MANY! The first one that came to mind is Leigh Bardugo’s Alex Stern series, which starts with Ninth House. I haven’t read Bardugo’s other work, but this appeals to me because of it’s collegiate setting. I’m really liking the whole “dark academia” genre lately.

Which series would you like to re-read?

There are a lot of series I’ve loved that I don’t want to reread either because I worry that they won’t live up to my memory or I suspect that they won’t. I try to only reread if I feel like I’ll get more out of it, because it always feels like a bit of a risk. I recently saw the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and realized that while I remember that book well enough, I only have the vaguest memories of the sequels.

Which series did others love and you did not?

There are a few of those! One would probably be A Song of Ice and Fire. I read the first book (and watched the first few seasons of Game of Thrones) and while I enjoyed parts of it, it kept on killing off the characters I got attached to! It felt like every time I got invested in a character, it was a death sentence for him/her! I may give it another try at some point, but I got tired of having to find new characters/storylines to care about only to lose them in a few chapters.

Charlaine Harris‘ Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse novels are a series I really tried to like. It sounds like the kind of thing that would be right up my alley, and I read a few of them, but I just couldn’t warm up to the characters or invest in the world that she’d created. I’ve liked a few of her other series (see above) but this just didn’t work for me for some reason.

The New York Times “By the Book” Tag

I found this on Thrice Read‘s blog and it spoke to me. I’m curious as to other people’s answers to some of these so please share if you want to!

What book is on your nightstand now?

Actually, physically, on my nightstand? The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell and Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly.

What was the last truly great book you’ve read?

Wow, tough question. I guess that depends on what you mean by “great”. I’ll go with A Little Life by Hana Yanagihara. It’s not an easy book but I think it speaks to the reasons why we struggle through life. It’s about what drives us to survive through all types of hardships. The main character, Jude, endures more tragedy and trauma than anyone should have to. But there is so much about his life that’s beautiful. The writing in the book is also stunning and I think I cried straight through the last 50 pages or so.

If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Honestly, the first person I thought of as an answer to this was William Shakespeare. I’d like him to a) clear up the whole “authorship” thing once and for all. Because I’m convinced that anyone who thinks it was someone other than William Shakespeare thinks that out of snobbery, and I’d like to prove it and b) Because I’m curious as to whether he actually believed the stuff in some of his histories or if he was trying to appease a Tudor monarchy.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

My shelves are pretty varied in terms of authors and genres. I have a bit of everything. Maybe The Element Encyclopedia For Magic CreaturesThe Element Encyclopedia For Magic Creatures? I use it for research in my own writing.

How do you organize your personal library?

By genre (roughly). Actually it’s crying out to be reorganized at some point soon!

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What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet?

Millions! Off the top of my head, a few are Precious Bane by Mary Webb, The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan, Half A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson is the first book that pops into my mind. I felt like I should have liked it. It’s right up my alley: historical fiction, a twist of fantasy, lovely prose… But the story, about a woman who lives her life over again and again, left me cold. I didn’t care about Ursula because ultimately there was no risk. If things went wrong for her, she could always just start over again.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I tend to be drawn to most genres

  • mystery/thriller
  • fantasy/sci fi
  • historical fiction
  • magical realism
  • literary fiction
  • romance (depending on the type)

The exceptions are:

  • religious/spiritual fiction (I’m not very religious and I don’t like feeling that I’m being preached at)
  • erotica
  • really graphic/gory horror
  • nonfiction about subjects in which I have no interest

If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Just one? That’s making it really hard! Does the Constitution of the United States count as a book?

What do you plan to read next?

I don’t know for sure. It depends what I’m in the mood for when I’m done with what I’m reading now. If I want something fun and escapist, maybe Blood Rites. It’s been a few months since I last checked in with Harry Dresden. Or if I’m not in the mood for fantasy, maybe Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspar. I don’t think I’ll be up for something too heavy, since school is starting up and that’s somewhat stressful.