Sunday Coffee – Serial

I have always struggled with reading in chunks. If I’m going to read through a whole book, I won’t take more than three weeks to do it.** Even the really long and/or tough ones, like Pale Fire or Don Quixote, hit a point for me where I have to push through them quick, because I can’t stand for them to linger more than three weeks. For this same reason, I’ve never been able to participate in read-alongs. I’ve tried a few times. I hosted a read-along for Bleak House by Charles Dickens, just a couple chapters per week. Even though I posted faithfully, I read the full book nearly two months before the actual read-along ended. Same thing when I co-hosted a read-along for Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. That particular group read only lasted six weeks, and still I was done with the book by the time three weeks were out. This is consistent regardless of whether I love the book or hate it.***

Recently, though, I’ve started to realize the value of serialized reading. My most anticipated book of 2017 – Oathbringer – is due out in mid-November. Starting in late August, Tor (the publisher) began posting three chapters per week of the novel. Since this is one of those giant fat 1000+ page books, the serializing will release about a quarter of the book before Oathbringer is officially published. Of course, the day that it comes out, I will devour the other three-quarters, after which I’ll reread via audio probably half a dozen times before I’m satisfied.**** In the meantime, though, I’m reading each snippet as they’re released.

Getting three chapters at a time draws out the excitement. I’ve been waiting for this book for SO LONG that it feels just a tiny bit closer each week. I’m noticing more details than I would get in a quick first read-through because I’m not trying to gulp down the entire book as fast as possible. Each week brings new thoughts and theories, and I’m just dying to discuss them with someone, if anyone else were reading along. And while on the one hand, I wish I could just have the whole book already, on the other, I’m rather enjoying the experience of (essentially) mini-teasers. For the first time ever, I kinda understand the joy of serialized reading, and read-alongs, and a place to discuss new developments with other eager readers. I’m not sure I have the patience to enforce serialization on myself, but I’m also really, really excited to have a chance to (ie be forced to) read this way.

**With the exception of audiobooks, which follow a different set of rules for me.
***Back in the day when I actually finished books that I wasn’t liking as I read.
****Yes, I know, I’m weird and I multi-read books.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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8 Responses to Sunday Coffee – Serial

  1. Roof Beam Reader says:

    I think the only thing I can read slowly in parts is the bible or other philosophy tomes that are sectioned thematically or historically. Like you, I always read large books or short story collections the way I do any other book… in a matter of days or weeks (depending on what else is going on). If I don’t finish something in 2-3 weeks, I tend not to finish at all (Clarissa, The Mtsteries of Udolpho).


    • Amanda says:

      Usually I get to about 2.5 week on a book that’s giving me trouble, and either I’ve given up, or I make this huge push to finish it because I just can’t stand it not finishing right away. I don’t know why it bothers me to have it hanging for longer than that, haha.


  2. Michelle says:

    I used to enjoy serial reading when I read multiple books at one time. These days, I much prefer book monogamy, making serial reading moot.


    • Amanda says:

      I’ve never really been a multiple-books kind of person (except sometimes I’ll have a physical and an audio). I just wish I could take longer with some books. I think that’s why I love audio so much. If it takes me six weeks to listen to something like, say, Les Miserables, I get to enjoy the experience that long.


  3. Kristen M. says:

    I recently read the compiled first season of Tremontaine, which was originally serialized. I’ve been thinking about whether it would have kept my interest serially and I’m not sure. There are very few tv shows that I follow from start to finish. Usually I get annoyed with one story line or bored with the characters in general and quit after a couple of seasons. I think that’s why I also have to work quickly through chunksters.


    • Amanda says:

      I don’t watch a lot of TV so I don’t know that I could really say how I react to shows over the long term. I might be the same way? Though to be fair I HAVE been watching NCIS since season 3 so that’s about 12 years now…


  4. Karen K. says:

    I multi-read books also (I like to think of myself as a polyreader). I usually have at least one going on audio (for walks and in the car); one print, and one on my phone (sometimes I have an e-copy so I can read it in two formats). I often have another book going for a read-along. Then I realize I have four or more books going and it makes me twitchy so I buckle down and finish them one at a time, unless it’s a reread — I like rereads on audio because I don’t have to rush through and find out what happens.

    I used to think that polyreading meant I had a short attention span but now I think it’s the opposite. I can juggle multiple tv series with ongoing storylines, so how is that any different?


    • Amanda says:

      So when you say multi-read, you mean reading multiple books at one time, or do you mean like I was saying above, reading the same book over and over in a row like I did with Howl’s Moving Castle? I truly adore when a book hits me so hard that I have to multi-read it. It’s the mark of truly making favorite books. 😀


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