13 August 2011

Series or Stand-Alone?

A comment by a visitor to my blog this week made me think:
    Hmmm, I am not sold especially after hearing it may be a series and 8 books. I really love this genre because majority are stand alones.
Because I am familiar with a number of crime fiction series, I often look forward to a new offering.
For example, I enjoy both Ruth Rendell's Wexford series and her stand alones, whether she is writing under her own name, or as Barbara Vine.

I wouldn't say I avoid reading a long series, although obviously there are constraints on your reading, because you really should attempt to read the titles in order, to get the best out of it, and see it as the continuous story develops.

What about you? Do you avoid reading "serial" titles? Do you stick to stand-alones?
Take the poll in the right hand column and then leave a comment about your viewpoint.

13 comments:

Marg said...

I am absolutely a sucker for a series. Nothing better than 1 good book featuring a set of characters ... oh, except for 5 good books featuring the same set of characters!

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I enjoy series very much. Admittedly, if I first learn of a series after, say, the tenth or fifteenth book, I don't always go back to the beginning. And there are some series where I'll skip some of the books if I can't get to them all. But I really do enjoy a good series.

bermudaonion said...

I'll read either. I've found that you can jump in anytime with a well written series.

lee howard said...

I really enjoy reading a series if the characters are people i liked spending time with in a earlier book and seeing how there lives develope.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I like series - and stand-alones, too.

I like getting to know characters, but I don't worry if I haven't read the books in sequence.

Bill Selnes said...

Kerrie: Series are my favourites. I hardly read stand alones.

Philip Amos said...

Kerrie, I think the key word is in your second question -- 'serial'. It strikes me that complaints about 'series' have only started to crop up quite recently, and coincidental with the surge of interest in Scandinavian crime novels. The problems most often expressed were the need to know the 'backstory' if the book were to be fully comprensible, or at least appreciated, and this compounded in the case of works from foreign parts of authors' books being translated out of sequence.

Prior to all this, I think it was generally assumed, and correctly, that the books in, e.g., the series featuring Wexford, Dalziel, Rebus, et al., were standalones that formed a series. The fact that the 'series' which sparked your post is to consist of eight books is, I think, a tip that this is actually going to be a serial with storylines running continuously through the eight books.

With such as these -- Nesbo/Hole is a prime example -- you really need to be in at the beginning, and I think it would save confusion if we were to start using the term 'serial' to identify them. One hardly comes across it now, even in descriptions of radio and television programmes. In the case of series as once we knew them, and they are still with us, of course, it shouldn't be necessary to start with number one, and only of benefit in cases where the recurrent characters show significant development over time.

Bernadette said...

I'm not as turned off by the serial aspect that Philip identifies as I am by the 'same book written repeatedly' aspect of series which, for me anyway, came along long before the current scandinavian trend. I'm thinking of writers like Cornwell, Reichs, George, Slaughter. They seem to think all they need to do is throw in a bit of sexual tension between the serial charcters in each book and the actual crime story can be the same each time.

As far as your poll goes I voted for the second choice but only because it's impossible to avoid them if you want to read a lot of crime fiction

Vanda Symon said...

I am a bit torn on the matter. There are one or two series I am utterly devoted to, but the reality of life and the fact I don't get as much reading time as I would like I am quite drawn to stand-alones. This is because I like to start series at the beginning, and it can be rather daunting when the series you want to start has 10+ titles in it! So stand-alone novels have a definite appeal.

Vicki said...

I’m one of those whom like standalones, but that includes those books Philip describes above as “standalones that formed a series.” That might be because I prefer plot-driven stories over character-driven ones.

Or maybe it was because in the past, I read too many Reichs and Cornwell novels in a row. :)

sharon little said...

I read several series but,some I do grow bored and stop them.However,if I see a book thats well on its way,and has so many books to read to bring me up to speed,I'll pass on it.Thanks,Sharon

Susan said...

I really like series, and I read stand alones. I don't really care except that it be well-written, with good characterizations and plot. I enjoy series because the best ones let us see the characters grow as they explore society, and over time we get a multi-faceted view of crime and society (in the best mysteries). Good question/poll, Kerrie!

stacybuckeye said...

I love both, but sometimes I'm overwhelmed with all of the series I already read that it is daunting to think of starting another.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin