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You and Your Books! > Reading series' chronologically?

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message 1: by Baz (new)

Baz M (Bazcat) | 86 comments There are many series' of books out there which can be read both as standalone novels at any point in the series or sequentially through the series.

These series often pride themselves on being able to pick up a book from anywhere in the series and thoroughly enjoy it, without having to read the entire series preceding it.

Most readers of crime/thriller/suspense will know the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. I'm currently working my way through this and can say that you can indeed pick up a book from anywhere in the series and read it on its own merit without knowing any backstory to the protagonist;
Unfortunately because of my own finicky nature, I tend to have to go back to the older books just to fill the gaps in the series!
I'm also currently doing the same with the 'Prey' series (John Sandford), that is, filling in the gaps.

How do you go with these kinds of series?
Are you able to trust what it says on the tin and read the series out of order or does this wreak havoc with your pedantic nature?


message 2: by Andrea (new)

Andrea | 1061 comments I might read out of order by accident, but I would never do it deliberately. One of my pet hates is when I see a #0.5 published in one of my series! (But I still read it of course.)


message 3: by Elias (new)

Elias Zanbaka | 891 comments The only times where I've read a series out of order have either been accidental, or based on a decision to enter a series through a particular instalment that sounded more interesting than its predecessors just to test the waters. I've found that the books which belong to some of my favourite series have been written in a such a way that even if you were completely in the dark about the details of any past history or event, you were still able to feel its presence and impact on the characters, and that would be enough to carry you through until you decided to go back and start from book one.


message 4: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 148 comments Even though many will tell you that books can be read out of order, i always find little spoilers & then won't go back to read the earlier books. But that's cool......too many books......i just move on :)


message 5: by Baz (new)

Baz M (Bazcat) | 86 comments My current issue is that the Scarpetta series (Cornwell) is currently on its 24th book and I'm stuck somewhere in the early-mid 90s at the moment. Guess I'll just have to go on a spending spree and have a Cornwell marathon to catch up!


B the BookAddict (BtheBookAddict) | 3406 comments Part of my obsessive nature forbids me from reading a series out of order. If I can't get the next numbered book, I just wait till it's available.


message 7: by Ryan (new)

Ryan | 699 comments As for having book 0.5 appear, I would prefer to read a series in publishing order anyway, so I don't see the problem with a prequel appearing in the chronology.


message 8: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (CloggieDownunder) | 6493 comments I always try to read the series in order, and will postpone reading if I have to wait for an earlier book to do so. Another OCDer, LOL


message 9: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (KylieMaree) | 646 comments I appear to also be with the majority; I find that I need to read a series in order, and only read out of order by accident. :) Eg the Scarpetta series. I think when I first borrow one of the Scarpetta novels from the library I didn't realise it was part of a series. (I would have been about 12 or thereabouts when I first started reading her work.)

I agree with Anne, often there are teeny spoilers and/or references to previous stories in a series which is one reason why I much prefer reading in order. :)


message 10: by B the BookAddict (last edited Jul 08, 2017 02:20PM) (new)

B the BookAddict (BtheBookAddict) | 3406 comments I remember reading the Philippa Gregory series on the Tudor Court which she wrote and published out of chronological order and that annoyed me to the ninth degree.


message 11: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 148 comments B the BookAddict wrote: "I remember reading the Philippa Gregory series on the Plantagenet and Tudor royal family which she wrote and published out of chronological order and that annoyed me to the ninth degree."

Although i enjoy Philippa, that was annoying B. Luckily i had only read 2 of her books before i realized that her series was jumping around. I used Fantastic Fiction to help me sort it out & begin at the beginning.
This also happens a lot with European crime series. They often publish them in N.A. out of the order that the author wrote them. A good resource for that is SYKM. Now i never begin any series without checking that that or FF first.


message 12: by B the BookAddict (last edited Jul 08, 2017 02:22PM) (new)

B the BookAddict (BtheBookAddict) | 3406 comments Icewineanne, the series page used to list how to read them in chronological order but that has since been deleted. I hadn't hear of FF, thanks for the update.


message 13: by Marianne (new)

Marianne (CloggieDownunder) | 6493 comments fantasticfiction.co.uk is a brilliant site


message 14: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 148 comments Marianne wrote: "fantasticfiction.co.uk is a brilliant site"

Yes it is Marianne :)

Odd that GR deleted this feature B. Perhaps it took up too much room on the site & became too costly to maintain.


message 15: by Sally906, a good book and a glass of wine (new)

Sally906 | 6114 comments Mod
Order is not a problem. I started reading the 'In Death' series out of order and while I read the new ones as they come out, I am still plowing my way through the back log.

I like to read them in order if I can - but is not the end of the world if I don't.

Except trilogies - they are read in order!


message 16: by Ace (new)

Ace (AceOnRoam) | 1353 comments Same here Sally with the trilogy's.

I also just started a series out of order as the first 9 are not on Overdrive. I have never done this before, so it was a difficult decision. OCD butt well and truly kicked!


message 17: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (KylieMaree) | 646 comments Icewineanne wrote: "B the BookAddict wrote: "I remember reading the Philippa Gregory series on the Plantagenet and Tudor royal family which she wrote and published out of chronological order and that ann..."

Hi Anne, I'm familiar with FF, and this may be a stupid question, but what is SYKM?


message 18: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 58576 comments Mod
According to google, it's Stop You're Killing Me! I'm no further enlightened though Kylie! lol


message 19: by Ace (new)

Ace (AceOnRoam) | 1353 comments You might be onto something there Brenda, those series are TBR killers!


message 20: by Brenda, Aussie Authors Queen (new)

Brenda | 58576 comments Mod
Haha! Yes you're definitely right there Ace!


message 21: by Sally906, a good book and a glass of wine (new)

Sally906 | 6114 comments Mod
Kylie wrote"but what is SYKM..."

Stop you're killing me: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com
A great source for mystery novels you can search for series, occupations, countries and other criteria.


message 22: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (KylieMaree) | 646 comments Thank you ladies for your help! :)


message 23: by Icewineanne (new)

Icewineanne | 148 comments Kylie wrote: "Thank you ladies for your help! :)"

Sorry, just saw your question Kylie, but happy that Sally was abke to help you.
It's a wonderful site. The only one i know of that tells you the order that Scand writers actually wrote the books, which ones have been translated into english & which ones are still to come. And it gives original book titles and what they were changed to. It's my 'author' go to site :)


message 24: by marlin1 (last edited Jul 09, 2017 02:25PM) (new)

marlin1 | 288 comments Sally906 wrote: "Kylie wrote"but what is SYKM..."

Stop you're killing me: http://www.stopyourekillingme.com
A great source for mystery novels you can search for series, occupations, countries and other criteria."


Thanks for your help everyone, I was wondering the same thing.
That's a geat site I didn't know about either!


message 25: by Zoey (new)

Zoey  (RozanneN) | 877 comments I definitely prefer to read series in order. A few years ago (pre Goodreads) I ordered some books from I think it was Double Day book club. I had to order 4 to get the special deal & I picked the final one because I liked the sound of the blurb. Hadnt heard of the author before. This book turned out to be Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton and of course once it turned up I realised it was book 17 in Sue Grafton's Alphabet series LOL. Needless to say, that book sat on my shelf for quite some time, waiting for me to purchase & read the first 16 letters in the Alphabet :)
Cant complain though, it did turn out to be one of my favourite series


message 26: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (DiggensJenny) | 865 comments I do prefer to read series in order. Sometimes it not possible due to challenges and BOTM. However, if I like the book I always go back and read the series from the beginning.


message 27: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (KylieMaree) | 646 comments Icewineanne wrote: "Kylie wrote: "Thank you ladies for your help! :)"

Sorry, just saw your question Kylie, but happy that Sally was abke to help you.
It's a wonderful site. The only one i know of that tells you the o..."


No worries Anne, thank you anyway! I'll be sure to check it out soon!

Jenny wrote: "I do prefer to read series in order. Sometimes it not possible due to challenges and BOTM. However, if I like the book I always go back and read the series from the beginning."

Yes, I agree, it's not always possible for numerous reasons, but like I said earlier, I would much prefer to read a series in order.


message 28: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (DiggensJenny) | 865 comments Kylie wrote: "Icewineanne wrote: "Kylie wrote: "Thank you ladies for your help! :)"

Sorry, just saw your question Kylie, but happy that Sally was abke to help you.
It's a wonderful site. The only one i know of ..."


Yes, Kylie I agree, it is best to read a series from the beginning. It helps you to understand the characters.


message 29: by Sally906, a good book and a glass of wine (new)

Sally906 | 6114 comments Mod
Zoey wrote: "I definitely prefer to read series in order. A few years ago (pre Goodreads) I ordered some books from I think it was Double Day book club. I had to order 4 to get the special deal & I picked the f..."

This one I did read out of order - read them as I could get my hands on them - didn't worry me


message 30: by Kylie (new)

Kylie (KylieMaree) | 646 comments Jenny wrote: "Kylie wrote: "Icewineanne wrote: "Kylie wrote: "Thank you ladies for your help! :)"

Sorry, just saw your question Kylie, but happy that Sally was abke to help you.
It's a wonderful site. The only ..."


Yes, that's one of the main reasons I need to, (as much as possible), read a series in chronological order. And then there's those little references, (or not so little lol), to previous storylines in later books in the series.

Thanks to Anne for bringing my attention to http://www.stopyourekillingme.com ! I had a good peruse through the site last night, and I'll be referring to it often I believe! :)


message 31: by KenE (new)

KenE I don't mind reading a book from the middle of a series. If I like it I will buy the previous one and I can usually remember and identify the references that I couldn't previously get. I have on occasion read a whole series backwards. Most, but not all authors try to make each books more-or-less stand alone.


message 32: by Angela (new)

Angela Verdenius (AngelaCatLover) | 248 comments If I read a book and find it is part of a series, (and, of course, I enjoyed the book!), I will buy the series and read it in order. Even though stories can often be read as stand alones, reading from the beginning shows how a character/s develop and why they think or act the way they do.


message 33: by Baz (new)

Baz M (Bazcat) | 86 comments I think I alternate between KenE's system and Angela's depending on the series haha.
I'm making a more concerted effort these days to be more methodical with my series reading though to get a better idea of character and story development... whether I end up sticking to this though, we will soon see :)


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