Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Words: Series Vs. Stand Alone

I have been on a bit of a series spree as of late when it comes to my reading choices. And by as of late, I really mean the last few months. Much of this has been unintentional - my Goodreads list of books to read was all nicely organized and arranged in the order I wanted to start crossing titles off, but I kept getting distracted by series. I'd read the first book of a series and love it, and if the second, third, fourth, etc. are already out, how could I possibly wait? I've been sucked into an incredible and lively story, and unlike those who may have gotten wind of these amazing books earlier than I did, I don't have to wait a year for the next installment.

But lately, I'm feeling a little burnt out by series. It's entirely possible (okay, probable) that this as a result of my total lack of self restraint, but it's happened anyway. Which is why I'm currently reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris for a few reasons:

1. It's a grown up book
Again, let me stress that I love YA. It's my favorite. It's fantastic. But with the trend being trilogies and series lately combined with the fact that I work in a high school, it's a whole lot of hormones going on. With Chocolat, I've had this sitting on my bookshelf since last fall when I picked it up at a used book sale. It takes place during Lent (making it seasonally appropriate), and the two narrators of the story are adults. Maybe I didn't understand why this was such a good thing in my teen years, but now as I get older (but not that old, I love being in my 20s thank you very much), I can empathize so much more with an adult protagonist than I was able to when I read grown up books in my high school English classes.

2. It's a stand alone novel.
Mostly. It started out that way and was for a very long time because Harris didn't write a sequel until over a decade later. But for these intents and purposes, it's a stand alone. I don't have to read the next book to find out how it all ends because this book has it's own characters and it's own arc. I get to know them, the beginning, middle, and end all in one go, and then that's it. I don't have to get stressed out about a love triangle or if so-and-so lives or dies. And right now, I find that refreshing.

So here's my question to you, fellow readers. Do you only stick to series, strongly prefer stand alones, or do you like to mix it up with books from both camps? I definitely fall into the third category, but I'm anxious to know what you all think.

Comments welcome and as always, happy reading!

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