When some people talk about a series, they are likely talking about what they are watching on Netflix or Hulu or whatever. (My wife and I have one of those, too. We are watching “Mary Tyler Moore..” Yes, it is nearly 50 years old. But, it is funny, and they had writers that respected my prudish ears. Since most of the writers could be dead, what does that say about me?) When I refer to a series, I am reading it. My present series is Harry Bosch. For this series, I have some observations and goals:
- The show is not perfect, but it is entertaining. My wife and I have watched all the seasons. So, with this book series, it started with the TV series.
- I purchased the first Bosch book on sale in Audible. It was a special edition book. And the actor who plays Bosch was the narrator. It pulled me right in. His voice made me feel like I was watching the show. It would be inaccurate to call it a perfect “gateway book.” I could call it a perfect “media switching” book. It gave me elements of the TV show while allowing me to become familiar with the author’s writing style. I was still timid, but very ready to go through one more book.
- The next book was not available for “free” listening anywhere. I could get it from the library on my Kindle. It forced me to admit to myself my reading speed is not what I desire. I persevered and completed this installment in the series.
- The next few (at least the next two) books are only available in paperback. My son asked me, “How long has it been since you read a paperback?” It has been multiple years. It is critical when I read a series to read it in order. I made a mistake in the past. I thought, “I can read the Left Behind books in any order. It won’t matter since I know how it ends.” It did matter. The Bosch books have far more complicated characters, and they could probably survive such a mistake. If I want to say, “I read the series.”, reading the books in orders means no asterisk is necessary.
- Why don’t I just buy all the books and listen to them all? As I write this, I believe there are 22 books. At $10 per book, it would take the fun out of it. My Kindle and Audible library is far bigger than it should be. If I were to buy a whole series at full price, I could never justify it to my wife. She tolerates my spending on discounted books. I visit my wishlist on Amazon every day. If a book on my list is on sale, I grab it up. It doesn’t matter if it is triple-digit inline behind other books, the immediate satisfaction comes from getting the book at less than 50% of the regular price. The rest of the satisfaction comes when I get to read it later.
- My primary “reads” are fantasy and history. Fantasy gets a little too unbelievable. And, come to think of it, history is hard to believe sometimes too. Given that scenario, I might as well read something with a very human character living in a very dysfunctional city. While he lives there, he might as well solve a few murders.
- Once I commit to a series, I become more tolerant of problems in the series the deeper I get. When I was reading the Wheel of Time, there were places in that series where it seemed time stood still. When two of the books were completed, I wondered if the next book in the series started before the previous one had even begun. It went very slow. With the Bosch books, the biggest problem is his apparent age. He was born in 1950, and the new books are coming out. So, even if I am not reading a fantasy series now, we do have to give up some of our reason to enjoy this series, too.
- The other benefit of a series, especially right now, is life continues to be pretty boring. Being restricted in your activities in your house severely limits what things of value I can accomplish. Reading may only be something I can find value in, but I will allow it to be enough.
The fourth book in the series turned out to be closely aligned with the series. After hitting the 25% point, my eyes refused to continue. I just couldn’t nudge myself into further commitment. This does not mean everything written above is false. It means until I become more committed to this genre (Crime Fiction…or whatever it is called), I will need to be more cautious in what I commit to.