Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Can't Wait and Don't Wanna

Have you ever had the experience of simultaneously being so excited and entrance by a series of books that you want to spend every minute reading to find out what happens next and wanting to pace yourself in order to savor your infinite time with the characters? I sure have. In fact I am there right now.

It doesn't seem to happen with books of necessarily high literary content. (Though, how often are those part of a series anyway?) I tend to find myself in that place with works of fiction that have characters I have come to care for and high amounts of action. I can think of three times, over the last many years, that I have visited this place. And, in all cases one of the main characters is a female. Girl, actually. Teenager to be precise.

Now, some will take this as a confession. Remember I've already told you they aren't amazing bits of literature, but dang compelling. Living overseas. I have had an advantage. I didn't now about any of these books until the entire series was out.

(On a side note, my favorite novel, The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell I stumbled across and had to wait, what seemed like FOREVER, but was probably many months for the sequel to be published in order to find out the resolution. The Sparrow is the only book that upon reading the last page I immediately flipped to the front and began reading again. And, if you are an audio reading The Sparrow is done well, but the sequel, Children of God, is not.)

So what have these series been? The summer of 2008 I was visiting my best girlfriend and her family in Wyoming. She handed me Twilight. We were headed on a camping trip and I inquired if I would want to plow through the rest of the books as well so we borrowed book two and three from the library. The fourth arrived from Amazon the morning we headed out. I hiked and played during the days and devoured the books at night. In five days I knew how it ended.

Last spring I spent a weekend with The Hunger Games trilogy. (I am sure I surfaced to spend time with my toddler, but it seemed like a weekend retreat to me.) Right now I am savoring Forever, the last of a trilogy I started in June. I read the first book, Shiver, thinking it was simply a novel. It wasn't until I turned the last page and found the 'coming soon' that I discovered there was more to the story. I tried to go buy the next one, but it wasn't available in the country. I put number two and three on hold at my home library for the summer and waited. Part way through the summer my turn came up for the second one. It was a pleasure to revisit the characters and walk the next section of their lives with them. I was still quire a ways down the hold list for the third one and contemplated purchasing it several times, but, for many reasons I didn't.

Now, back in country I decided to reward myself for all of the single parenting I had been (happily) doing to support my husband in his new job and downloaded Forever to our Kindle. I savored the idea of enjoying it over the long weekend. Now I am caught between being anxious to know what happens and wanting to devour every word and wanting to stretch out my time with it - savor the moments that will soon come to an end.


  1. You have described my feelings perfectly when I discover a new author or series. Do I go quick or slow down and savor? It is a bit of a pickle you find yourself in. Whatever the outcome, I know you will enjoy every moment lost in the book.

  2. Oh this is me. This is exactly how I read the Twilight series and the Hunger Games--and the first four books of Harry Potter. Now it seems like you have given me a new one to start!

    Happy Reading

  3. Loved them all, but The Hunger Games is still a favorite. I hope that you continue sharing about your reading. Why is the Sparrow so good? Also, it's not so bad to have them late. At least you don't have to wait for the next one to come out. (I like the title.)

  4. Me too -- when the series is compelling, I'll read straight through as fast as possible. It's interesting that you mention The Sparrow. I "discovered" the book in a review on NPR's All Things Considered when Children of God was released. I headed out to purchase a copy of The Sparrow and carried it with me on a business trip to Minneapolis. I finished reading it about 11:30 one morning -- reading in a seminar instead of paying attention to the speaker -- and at our lunch break, I dashed out to purchase Children of God because I couldn't wait even 1/2 a day to find out what happened next. I often give the books as a pair and caution the recipient that they need to commit to reading both books back-to-back to get the full appreciation for the story.

  5. @teacherdance - The Sparrow is written with two time frames unfolding simultaneously, the 'present' and the 'past'. One of the things that kept me turning the pages was wanting to know how these two time frames intertwined. I also found the subject to be gripping. I am not someone who needs to know much about a book. Simply tell me it is a good read and I'll give it a go. In case you need more than that I can say that the book is about a Jesuit mission to another planet. Intrigued yet? The majority of the party that goes on the trip, however, are not Jesuit. It is a story of relationship, sociology, and faith all wrapped up with a future adventure. I know that technically it could be considered Sci-Fi, but it doesn't have a Sci-Fi feel to me.

    @Elsi - so glad to have found a kindred spirit. Any other books you would suggest?