The Great American Read discussion

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message 1: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
How do you choose which book to read out of the series on the list?

Do you read the first book? Pick the best rated? Random?


message 2: by Nyla (new)

Nyla (nylap) | 38 comments I need to read a series in order. While some series can be taken out of order, I think most of the ones on this list have continuous narrative arcs, so it is better to take first things first.


message 3: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "How do you choose which book to read out of the series on the list?

Do you read the first book? Pick the best rated? Random?"


I usually read books in a series by publication date, but I might read a good prequel if fans of the series suggest it. I almost started Lonesome Dove with a prequel. I might read it before I read the rest, especially if it includes the early lives of Gus and Call. I would definitely read Outlander in order of publication date.

I recently changed my mind about mystery series, and I'll pay more attention to ratings. Often the first in a series is actually the weakest. Mystery writers are usually careful to avoid spoilers of the previous cases, though there is often a longer story arc for the lead characters. I read the reviews to get opinions from die hard fans.

I read book #12 in the series by Louise Penny, after only reading 2 or 3 others, and I have no regrets. It was so fantastic it motivated me to keep going through slow parts in earlier books. I love this series. (Though I had to pause the series once I got hooked by the GAR.)


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim (skullfullofbooks) It depends. If it's a fantasy I'd start with the first published because it probably has world building. Anything set in reality, it's a toss up if the series is long and if reviews mention a progression. If it's a series I doubt I'll read again, as in a challenge setting like GAR, I tend to pick the highest rated book unless informed it makes a difference.

I know I tried to read the Alex Cross series in order, but loathed the first book and DNF'd it. So now I'll try to read/listen to the highest rated of the batch, and if that fails it's DNF'd for good.

Many mystery series have little progression. Phryne Fisher, Poirot, Miss Marple, Agatha Raisin, almost any cozy mystery, and many others can be read easily without having read prior installments. There are usually some benefits to reading them in order, but you can enjoy a solitary installment as a standalone. I'm a seasonal reader who likes to read holiday-based books around that holiday, and mystery series are awesome for that.


message 5: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I've read most of the series on the list ... So my question was more specifically about the Alex Cross novels, but also I was curious about everyone's thoughts, in general, about the series on the list.


message 6: by Atl (new)

Atl (dark_leo) I always read the first book first, so I read along came a spider, 50 shades of grey, a game of thrones, dune, and am currently listening to fellowship of the ring. I also read eclipse, but that's because I had read the other two. I bought both foundation and prelude to foundation, I'll probably read prelude.


message 7: by Heather (new)

Heather (bruyere) This is a great question as I have found positives both ways. I feel like typically it seems best to read in publication order. Even if the author tries to make it readable either way, I feel like there's a natural bias towards publication order.

I have all the Foundation series, too. I will probably google people's advice on that one.

Michael J Sullivan, I am reading in publication order. I think it makes "Chronicles" feel a bit boring, but some of the books are quite good about filling in details I always wondered about in "Revelations."


message 8: by Parker (new)

Parker | 204 comments I prefer reading a series in order, even cozy mysteries. The first book often has background info on characters, place, etc. What I *hate* is when neither of my libraries has one of the books at my branch and I have to out it on hold. Or none of the branches has one of the books.


message 9: by NancyJ, Moderator (last edited Aug 29, 2018 02:34PM) (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I've read most of the series on the list ... So my question was more specifically about the Alex Cross novels, but also I was curious about everyone's thoughts, in general, about the series on the ..."

I read the first five or six books and I liked the first few I think. But then they started to get really boring. He started to repeat a trope I really hate - when the serial killer targets the investigator (and his family). Patterson runs a book factory now with other writers, and I just don't like the brand. I might read the Clinton book though some day.


message 10: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (last edited Aug 30, 2018 07:38AM) (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
I usually read in publication order.

I don't generally read mysteries so I was considering picking a random or highly rated Alex Cross, because I know I won't read more than one.

Anything with a narrative arc I like to read in order, but I read Narnia out of order as a kid and don't think it mattered much.

Thanks for everyone's replies! I like to hear how other people approach books!


message 11: by NancyJ, Moderator (new)

NancyJ (nancyjjj) | 1835 comments Mod
J. wrote: "I usually read in publication order.

I don't generally read mysteries so I was considering picking a random or highly rated Alex Cross, because I know I won't read more than one.

Anything with ..."


For Alex Cross. I would look for the highest rated one.


message 12: by Joy, Your Obedient Servant (new)

Joy (jammons42) | 510 comments Mod
NancyJ wrote: "J. wrote: "I usually read in publication order.

I don't generally read mysteries so I was considering picking a random or highly rated Alex Cross, because I know I won't read more than one.

Any..."


I might read the one with Bill Clinton.


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