Thoughtful Thursday: How Do You Read a Series?

Thoughtful Thursday
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 do you read a book series? (Do you read each book as it comes out? Do you wait for a few books to come out in a series before starting it? Do you wait until the entire series is out and marathon it? Do you reread all of the books that are currently out before you read the next one?)

As part of my 2014 goals, I wanted to prioritize completing book series that I had started. The number of series that I have started but not finished is a bit embarrassing. The only defense I have is that a lot of SF&F books are series, and I love SF&F books so, so much. Oh well. Anyway, because I want to finish off some series that I have started this year, I started picking up later books in series that I put down one year ago, two years ago, more years ago than I care to think about. This has made me revisit a flaw of mine: I don't remember books/series as well as I think that I do. 

One beautiful example of this is from a few years ago. I remember being so excited to get my hands on Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling. When I got the book in the mail, I ripped it out of the box and immediately started reading. For half of the book, I was so confused when characters mentioned the "DA." I had no recollection of what the DA was, because I did not reread the previous books or read a summary of the previous books. When a character mentioned that the DA was Dumbledore's Army, a light went on; however, I felt frustrated with myself that I didn't bother to look up what DA was or reread the previous books so I didn't spend half the book confused.

I wish I could say that I have improved since this moment in time. Embarrassingly, this old dog can't learn new tricks. I still don't read recaps before jumping into a new book in an old series, and I always regret this decision. Part of the reason I still don't read recaps is that I am afraid that I am going to unintentionally spoil myself. I sometimes reread a series, but I usually reread a series from the beginning AFTER I have read all of the books in the series (I don't binge reread a series before a new book -- or last book -- in a series comes out). Do I realize that this is a problem? Of course I do. Every time I am confused when I am reading a new book in an older series but read the book until the end, I get annoyed with myself. I need to change this behavior, but I can't seem to.

On the flip side, I've noticed that I seem to be reading more "new" series late in their publishing cycle. For example, I just read the first three books in The Lunar Chronicles series, and the final book comes out next year. I should be fairly okay for Winter. I am currently listening to the Sookie Stackhouse books, and all of the books are out. I usually just go from one book to the next. If I can keep myself from getting spoiled, I think I might try to keep up this habit of just reading an entire book series after all of the books are out, so I don't have to worry about remembering everything. Case in point: I am going to remember nothing from A Song of Ice and Fire when the next book is published in 2020 (I jest with the publication year, *hopefully*). 

Will this work for all book series? Of course not. I love SF&F books. Heck I am reading newly printed book #2 in a 10 book series right now. What I can do is read book recaps! *sigh* I know I should say I am going to turn over a new leaf, but I think the following gif really says it all.

Now it is your turn! How do you read a book series?

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