Thoughtful Thursday: Are You a Series Completionist?


It is time for Thoughtful Thursday and the bookish questions that pop up while I am reading. Please share your thoughts on the bookish question of the week. I am curious to hear what you have to say! There are no wrong answers. Questions about Thoughtful Thursday or future Thoughtful Thursday posts? Check out my Thoughtful Thursday section. Alright, on to the question!


How much of a series complete-ist are you? Do you read all the novellas? Do you read all of the books within your favorite series' universe?

I love to complete series. There I said it. Have I finished every series I have ever started? No. Do I intend to finish all the series that I have started (and enjoyed at least the first book)? Yes. I have a bit of a problem. After I have read a certain number of books in a series, I feel like I have put in too much effort to stop reading the series. I need to know how everything works out, and I don't want to just find out via Wikipedia.

In the past, my series completionist attitude hasn't been too much of a problem. Most series tend to taper out after three or four books, most after six books or so; however, with the dawn of the e-book, there appears to have been a surge in novellas and short stories related to all of my favorites series. I am quite happy that more authors have the opportunity to publish their novellas and short stories with advent of e-books. I am sure that publishers aren't racing to publish a single short story or novella, so I am over the moon that my favorite authors are able to publish that alternative endings to books, short scenes that were cut out of the book, scenes from different character's POVs, and stories that fill the gap between books. I am also happy that I can get short stories while I am anxiously awaiting the next book in a series. At the same time, I am starting to get a little overwhelmed by all stories. I feel obliged to read all of the short stories and novellas that I can get my hands on. I feel hesitant to check off a series until I have finished every single story in a universe. For example, last year, I finished up the His Dark Materials trilogy, but  I haven't checked the series off as complete, because I have yet to read Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, which are two short stories that take place in the His Dark Materials' universe. I can't seem to stop myself.

With His Dark Materials, it isn't too bad, because there are just two books (okay, there are rumors of a third book too), but current series have even more short stories and novellas. For example, the Expanse series by James SA Corey got extended from a trilogy to a longer series. In the book deal, there was also an agreement for a certain number of novellas as well (I think two, but I may be wrong). The novellas are becoming a package deal with these series. Again, I really do enjoy a lot of these novellas and short stories. It is just as a series completionist, I have a hard time getting all the books read. I am feeling like I need to be more wary of starting new series. They are just tiring me out a bit.

Do you feel the need to read all of the books in the series or are you able to stop? Can you stop after the penultimate book? Do you need to read all of the short stories and novellas? Do you avoid series just to stay away from the insanity?

40 comments:

Nara said...
January 9, 2014 at 2:29 AM

I'm definitely a series completionist! As long as it's a series I like, of course. Actually now that I think about it sometimes if it's a series I didn't like THAT much, if I've read at least a few of the books, I feel like I've invested way too much time in the series and I have to find out what happens...

But anyway, with series that I do like, I have to read it all- novellas, deleted scenes, extras, whatever. Good thing novellas are relatively cheap haha.

Charlotte Fiel said...
January 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM

YES! YES! I have an obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to completing series. I would lose sleep if I wouldn't be able to complete it. In my entire reading career, I have only abandoned 3 series. Two were eroticas that I couldn't stomach and one gothic fantasy that irritated me to hell. Hahahah.

Ahm, I really don't consider novellas as part of a series. I don't know why but it always makes me think that they're just strategies of some authors to earn additional money. Previously, they're not even that popular.

A lot of novellas that I read these days are mostly standalones and written by fellow Filipino authors. As for novellas that are part of the series, I tend to ignore them.

Lovely review, Pam!

Charlotte Fiel said...
January 9, 2014 at 5:55 AM

Lovely *post* Hahahaah. That's awkward. Pffft.

Nathan (@reviewbarn) said...
January 9, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Yes I am, but usually only for the novels themselves. I don't feel the need to go dig out each and every short story from various collections (George RR Martin is famous for this) or pay five bucks for the hard to find novellas that are only eighty pages long.

readerlymusings said...
January 9, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I try really, really hard to complete series and read spinoffs and such, but sometimes I just cannot do it! Right now there are still three series I've recently read that I need to complete - The Land of Elyon (I only just found out about the prequel not too long ago!), His Dark Materials (I NEED to read Lyra's Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and the one Philip Pullman said he MIGHT write about Will *fingers crossed*), and Sookie Stackhouse (After Dead). Sometimes I don't necessarily worry about it, like if there are tons of books or spinoff series (aka all the Sweet Valley book series - ohmygod, too many and all contradicting each other at various times!), or if they're released years later and I've either lost interest, forgotten about the series, and/or moved onto bigger and better things. For instance, Caroline B. Cooney is just now releasing another book in the series The Face on the Milk Carton, and Meg Cabot is adding another book to her Mediator series. I'm not sure if I'll be reading either of those since I know it's been 10 years since I read the last Mediator book, and I think even longer since I read The Face in the Milk Carton.

As far as avoiding series goes... I try and wait until the last book is about to come out to get started on them - if I can. Sometimes I don't realize that a book is a part of a series or I just get too impatient with all the hype surrounding it that it doesn't work out. Or it's like with Rick Riordan when you think Percy Jackson is over and there are no more books in that world until The Heroes of Olympus series gets sprung on you and now you can't not read them! And then he's cruel and gives you horrible cliffhangers...

Thankfully I'm not starting to feel too overwhelmed by all these things just yet, mostly because I really did cut down on how many series I was reading for a while there (I think it was the long wait between Harry Potter books that did me in) and now quite a few of them have finished. Though if a lot more authors start bringing back their book series from the dead like Meg Cabot and Caroline B. Cooney, I think I may need to start boycotting.

Helen said...
January 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I'm not a series completionist. I still have the last 2 HP's still to read although I read #5 about 5 yrs ago. I read The Golden Acorn and Glasruhen Gate, but no more, and only the first book in His Dark Materials, although I was hooked at the end of the first book. I have so many books piled up - books by authors I know, books people have given me, children's books I read to help me with my writing - I find it hard to prioritize.

Anne said...
January 9, 2014 at 3:10 PM

I think it really depends on the series for me. I really liked Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy and obsessively read and downloaded all the novellas and short stories that went along with the universe. On the other hand, I also love the UTNS series, but am not too concerned about jumping out and getting the novella on Roar (although maybe that means I'm crazy?).

I don't know what it is about some series that makes me go nuts for the next book, maybe its an availability thing. If the next book is immediately available for my library list or is cheap to download on my kindle, then I am all for it. But if time has passed, I usually read the next book but let the side novellas pass. There seems to be an overabundance of 1.5 and 2.5 stories in a series, which just seems like a fast way to make money. Although I shouldn't judge because there is nothing wrong with that.

Good question!

Greg said...
January 9, 2014 at 8:36 PM

I don't necessarily feel the need to read everything, but it depends on the series. If it's a world I really love, like say Song of Ice and Fire, then I'm going to seek out the short stories and any other little side projects that take place in Westeros. Or if the series is one I like I'll usually read all the books. But if it's a long multi- volume series and it's not working for me, I can pretty easily walk away. I haven't read very many related novellas, actually.

Pabkins said...
January 10, 2014 at 11:22 AM

I do not feel the need to read all of the short stories and novellas. If I particularly LOVE a series then yes I will search out the novellas and short stories - if I like it then I probably won't. There are just too many things I need to read. I tend to mostly only buy short fiction in collections/anthologies because I don't like paying 1.99 or 2.99 for just one short 30 page story when I can get 600 to 800 pages for 7.99 or a little more which will have 20 to 30 plus stories and allow me to experience new authors and stories there by finding more authors I want to check out.

I used to read even more short fiction before I started blogging. Now I only get to finish a few collections a year and I do review the occasional short story from a series I like. I'm getting burnt out on series fiction as well. I don't get why authors won't do more stand alone novellas. But series is what they always seem to want to do because they can't get everything out in just one story perhaps. It would be nice too if they could do duologies. Patricia Briggs did two fantasy duologies back in the day. So now I'm much more prone to reading the first and maybe the second book and not continuing.

Reviews from a Bookworm said...
January 10, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Great post! I don't start a series and obsess about finishing it if I hated the first book, for obvious reasons. But if I loved it, then I will obsess and have to read the whole series to see how it all ends. There never used to be many novellas, but now there are so, so many. I have so many series I want to start, but am put off because of how many books there are in the series, once you include all its novellas.

I want to say that I don't feel a compulsive need to read all the short stories and novellas, but I am such a liar! If J. K. Rowling started releasing HP novellas, even if there were a hundred, I would have to read them ALL!

Berls said...
January 10, 2014 at 6:01 PM

This has become a HUGE problem for me since I became a book blogger. Before then I was determined to finish series, in part because I didn't really have a lot to read. Now I have books coming out of every orifice and keeping up with any series seems impossible. That being said, I do intend to read everything in a series I love. Like you, until I've done that, I won't consider it fully read. The big question is when will that actually happen? This year I'm really hoping to spend some time on those series I started and never had a chance to finish, so maybe 2014 will be the year? (probably not, since I'll find more...)

My anxious life said...
January 11, 2014 at 12:51 AM

I must complete ALL series!!! Rarely do I not. I did stop Dresden Files and I am still kicking myself over that one. I also stopped and totally quit The Undead series (http://angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com/2011/08/undead-and-undermined-by-maryjanice.html) now that series just got awful. Usually though I continue in a series till the bitter end. I need to start back up on the Drizzt series by RA Salvatore though. I am getting really behind on it. Since I get all my books from the library I do have to wait until the books come in. But my library seems to get everything, including novellas so it is wonderful for me.

The Song and Ice series I am going to wait until all the books come out. Martin takes too long inbetween and he doesn't even seem to care when he writes or what his fans think. So whatever.

Chene Sterckx said...
January 11, 2014 at 3:43 AM

I am totally with you!! I need to read all the books and novellas and sometimes if a series isn't great but I have invested too much into it I will probably still read it. These days though if i want to start a series but I see its above 6 books long I probably won't start it.

Great Post Pamela :) as always!

Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

alwayslostinbooks said...
January 11, 2014 at 9:48 AM

I haven't really completed a lot of book series. I think about doing so in the future, but sometimes it's just overwhelming. Right now, I can't say for sure if I will complete all of them, but who knows if I could do so in the future. I think of all the series out there, I've only completed one, including the novellas. If you don't include the novellas, that's a different matter. :P Also, sometimes novella are really expensive for only a few pages, especially since the exchange rate is kinda big for my country. Sometimes they even charge us $2 more.

Thao @ Paper Bunny said...
January 13, 2014 at 4:23 AM

Book series follower I like to say. I'll follow the series as long as the book stays good. Usually I don't give a book a second chance if lets say the second book fails unless I absolutely HAVE to know how it ends.

Kimberly said...
January 14, 2014 at 12:33 AM

For me it depends on the series. For Harry Potter as much as I dreaded the end of the series I had to read it. When it comes to a series like the Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray or The Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel I just cant bring myself to read the final books because I love the series to much though I think this is because I loved these books so much as a teen and I always have that feeling of loss that I had when I finished HP that I'm afraid to finish off two more series that I turned to a lot to escape.
-Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

Miranda @ Tempest Books said...
January 14, 2014 at 2:38 PM

I'm definitely a series completionist (love that term haha)! I don't consider a series complete until I finish all of its parts (aka novellas and short stories). It feels so good to be able to check a series off of my list! And I love how authors are doing more and more novellas now. But I don't always finish a series, like if I didn't like the first book. But I hate it when something happens like how I've now read three out of the four books in the Caster Chronicles series, but I really disliked the second and third books. But there's only one left! What do I do? I think I'm just going to read the fourth one anyway, even though I really don't want to, because I'm so close to the end and just want to be able to check it off my list. I feel like if I don't finish that last book, I don't get credit for reading the beginning of the series haha.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:29 PM

I get what you are saying! We get so invested in a series that it is hard to say no to all the short stories and novellas and everything else!

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Good for you for saying no to the novellas! I get the impression sometimes they are just a way to get more money too! Sadly, I don't think I can be as strong as you are! :)

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:31 PM

LOL. No worries. :) When I get into a groove writing comments, it is hard to stop our typical comments from popping out! :)

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:33 PM

When I originally wrote this question, I was thinking about GRR Martin. I am reading ADWD now, and I was starting to question whether I should read the short stories and other stories (e.g., Dunkin and Egg books...I think that is the series name) or just move on with my life. My complete-ist self keeps feeling that I should, but I don't think I can! Martin has taken up too much of my life.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:35 PM

LOL. I love the idea of just boycotting series that have been resurrected. I need to read the two short books from the His Dark Materials series too. I am hesitant to even check it off the list after I finish them though, because there is supposed to be that third book! Argh. Life of a reader is hard!

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:38 PM

I have read a lot of book #1s in series. My SF&F book club ends up reading a lot of the first book in a series, because so many SF&F books are in series. I haven't finished a lot of these series, because I am still finishing up series for books that I personally want to read still.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Good point about certain series make us go crazy about reading all of the extra stuff. :) There are a couple of series that I really want to gobble up all of the extras, while there are other series that I feel more obligated to read all of their extras.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:41 PM

That is awesome that you can just walk away from a long series. I want to read at least the first Wheel of Time book, but I am afraid that I will feel obligated to read all of them and even people who seem to love the series mention that there are a few books in the series that are not very strong.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:43 PM

I am really excited that my library is getting more and more of the novellas from book series (e.g., Divergent, Shatter Me, Newsflesh), because I am interested in reading them, but I hate paying $1-$3 for just a few pages.

I wish there were more duologies too! Maybe we can do a petition?

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:44 PM

LOL. I would have to read all of the HP novellas too. Although there is one short story prequel about HP dad, and I STILL haven't read it!

I can *sometimes* step away from a series after reading just one book, but it is hard for me to step away after book two.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:45 PM

I blame all of these trilogies! They are just bringing us down with all of the books that we have to read! I think we need to make publishers put out more stand alone books, so we can catch up!

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:47 PM

I read the first two Dresden Files books. I would have stopped after book one, but everyone I know says that the series gets better after book four. I know I have to go back to it, but there are so many other series that I need to read too! It is hard prioritizing book series.

My library gets a lot of the novellas and short stories too. It really helps with my wallet!

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:49 PM

I hear you about not wanting to start a book series with more than 6 books. It is so hard to fit the time and energy into long series anymore. I don't want to have to wait 14 books to find out how everything works out.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:50 PM

Novellas can be really expensive. I have bought very few of them. I usually only read them, if I can get them through my library. Of course, I rarely check off that series as complete though until I read the novellas! *sigh*

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:51 PM

I am so jealous that you can walk away so easily! I am able to walk away from TV series alright, but book series are a different matter.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:52 PM

You make a great point. Sometimes I think I stop reading a series, because I am afraid of what is going to happen and I like how everything is right at that moment. I don't check the series off as complete, but I don't keep reading it either.

Pamela D said...
January 16, 2014 at 11:54 PM

I know what you mean! I read the first two Divergent books, and I didn't love them like most people did. I am still going to read Allegiant and the novellas (my library has them), because I am almost done with the series and I want to check it off the list.

Aleksandra said...
January 21, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Yes, I want to finish the series that I love, and read every short story or novella I can get my hands on. But, I mostly fail on that, though lately I've been working on catching up on the started series, before I start new ones.

Usually, if I don't like series, I give up on it, I have no problem with that, although now & then, there are a few exceptions. For example: I'm still planning (hoping) to finish Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, even though Eldest was such a torture for me. Also, even though I really did not like Insurgent, because Allegiant is the last book, I will probably read it, but if there were more books, I probably would've gave up on the series, despite the fact that I loved Divergent.

Also, I get a little annoyed with all the novellas & stories that have been published, it's like a trend this last year or two. I know it's nothing new, but (especially in YA) it feels like something it must be done, and it so isn't. There are those that are crusial to the storyline in the series, yet there are those that are unnecessary. Yet, at the same I'm loving them when it comes to my fav series & worlds, because I can't get enough of them. Guess I'm conflicted, but I will definitely read them. Also, I'm a stickler for reading them in order ;)

Great post!

Alysia @ My Little Pocketbooks said...
January 21, 2014 at 7:30 PM

I want to be! I have counted my incomplete series (including the ones I hate) and I am at 16-ish. I think there are 3 in there that I am done after the first one. I feel like I can't start another one until I get a few off my list. Oh wait! I am read Divergent now. ARGH! Make that 17.

Pamela D said...
January 22, 2014 at 1:57 PM

LOL. I don't even count the number of unfinished series I have to read.

Pamela D said...
January 22, 2014 at 6:54 PM

I am working on catching up on a lot of old series too and reading a bunch of novellas to check them off the list. I read Divergent and Insurgent, so I am going to read Allegiant. Even though I haven't really enjoyed the trilogy so far. I will probably even read the novellas!

Alysia @ My Little Pocketbooks said...
January 23, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Don't it will make you sad. LOL!

Pamela D said...
January 27, 2014 at 1:14 PM

That is exactly why I don't count! :)

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