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Monday, January 13, 2014

I'm a Terrible Finisher

So the other day I’m looking through my TBR pile, trying to determine when in my life I’ll have to quit my job to become a hobo in order to finish them all. I figure I have a couple good years left before I need to camp out in the library to read all day long. Anyway, I’m going through the list when I realize I have a problem with finishing book series.*

I am a terrible finisher. I alluded to this in my goals post, but I didn’t complete the idea because I AM A TERRIBLE FINISHER.

I’m like that guy on group projects people like me hate. He’s all excited and “This is going to be awesome, man” for about five minutes until he’s bored and giving himself a home tattoo with a straightened paper clip and semi-exploded pen while you do all the work.

Only unlike that kid I’m not bored or high.

It starts innocently. I pick up a book in a new series and love it. Yes, love it. And then I’m all, “Imma gonna read this entire series right now without food or water or pee breaks except maybe water so I don’t die before I finish this series.” And then I realize the next book doesn’t come out for a year or more.

That’s when things go downhill. There may be cursing involved. There’s definitely cursing involved when a book ends on a cliffhanger, which is the equivalent of pages and print giggling while threatening to spit gum in your hair. Teeheehee. Bet you wish you knew what happened next. Too bad you’ll have to wait 390 days. That’s 8,760 hours. Oops, my gum fell across the room and into your ponytail! Teehee.

And then, miracle of all miracles, the sequel comes out. And I’m excited. I’m really excited. I’m more excited than that lazy group member when he realizes you’re doing all the work and he can finish tattooing his thigh. I want to read it. I loved the first and I know I’ll love the next and…

And I don’t read it. It’s like there’s this force field around it. Like if I pick it up there’s going to be so much work involved in just remembering the plot and characters when I can barely remember what I had for lunch today.

Sometimes it has to do with how much I loved the first. I set such high expectations for the sequel that I fear the next book will never be as good as the first. If I don’t read it, I won’t be disappointed.

Sometimes I decide I can’t go on until I’ve reread the previous book. And that could settle things, only when it comes time to reread the first book I get distracted by shiny new things like beginning series with new characters, stand-alone novels, or Pinterest.

The third book poses its own set of problems. Because when you finish the third book in a trilogy, it’s over. You can never read it again for the first time. Sometimes my holding out has more to do with not wanting the series to be finished than my reluctance to dive into a book without fully remembering the previous two.

Which is why I haven’t read the sequels to the following fantastic books:


Is there a support group for this sort of thing? I suppose we’d all get to step two of the twelve-step program but never show up again. Half of us would be all, “But there’s so much to remember from meeting to meeting! Did John end up buying that book or did someone buy it for him? What if it’s on loan from the library?! I can’t handle the uncertainty!” The other half would cry, “If we never come back we never have to say goodbye. I LOVE YOU GUYS!”

I’m trying to do better. I just reread Jennifer L. Armentrout’s entire Covenant series so I could read the final two books. I’m pretty genius because even though I remembered major plot points from the first three novels and a novella, I didn’t have the same emotions going into the final two books as I did once I reread. And it was so worth it. (A great series if you’re looking for one that’s all published and ready for your reading, by the way.)

And I’m going to try really, really hard to read the sequels to the books above before starting a new series. If I can avoid the pretty new 2014 books...

Am I the only non-finisher here? Does anyone else have trouble finishing book series?


* I’m really only talking about books I enjoy here. If I don’t like a book, I won’t read the sequels, and that’s okay.

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