In a previous post, I pondered over my joy in reading a series of books, and determined that a series is probably my reading preference.
I do, however, read a fair number of stand-alone novels with equal enjoyment. They have a lot going for them. I am not talking about books within a series that could be read separately. I am talking about books that have no relation to any other book, where no characters from this book will spread their wings and fly to another book written by this or any other author. These characters will stay forever within the pages of this one book, for example 1984 by George Orwell or The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The characters may stay with us for a long time, but they don’t carry on to other books.
“The library is inhabited by spirits that come out of the pages at night.” – Isabel Allende
A stand-alone book can be read, enjoyed, and put away. You are done. You are satisfied. You move on. Except when you can’t. Apparently a stand-alone novel can actually be deceiving. I recently read a book, and the last page read “End of Part 1”. What???? That was just cruel. But too late, I’m hooked.
There are also times when I need to get out of my comfort zone. I am bored. I am tired. I am lost. I will read an autobiography, or a romance novel, or something else that isn’t normally my cup of tea. I am usually surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the experience, and it can get me out of my funk.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
– C.S. Lewis
I am now receiving a number of books directly from publishers, and sometimes directly from the author. These books are usually stand-alone novels, and they generally make it to the top of my pile (okay, not always). However, I did recently receive two books that are in a series, and they are numbered 7 and 9 respectively. This was annoying. I did not ask for either one of them, and they will only be reviewed if I ever read number 1 through 6 and 8 (respectively). Actually, this was more than annoying!
“It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.” – Lemony Snicket
There are times that I just need a break between series, even between books within a series. I need something totally different. That’s where the stand-alone novel often comes in for me. When I need something to take my mind off my “family” of characters.
“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” – Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I have read a lot of really great novels, so although my preference is for a series, I could never discount a stand-alone book altogether. I have also “met” some really wonderful new authors by reading “unconnected” novels. Sometimes you have to take a chance!
Bottom line, I love to read (a shampoo bottle will do in a pinch).
So, do you prefer stand-alone books, or a series?