How many of you read a mysteries series chronologically?

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How many of you read a mysteries series chronologically?

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Jan. 23, 2008, 11:31pm

I got started with Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks book. I read In a Dry Season first, read the next two and then went back finished reading all the previous books and then went along to finish the series.

Next I tackled Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus series, this time in sequence and loved it. I did struggle with the awkward stylings in the earlier books but the evolution of the characters and the development of Rankin's style was really interesting. I did the same with Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series and I am working on Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin series.

It really does make the reading more rational and evolutionary. I know people who likes to skip around in the series and pick up the books haphazardously. I still call those people friends, but just barely.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 24, 2008, 7:22am

"I still call those people friends, but just barely"...that actually made me spit up my orange juice!

I too must read the series sequentially. I have, however, on occasion, picked up the newest in a series, liked it, and therefore have gone back to the beginning, as you did with the Peter Robinson books.

However, sometimes it's hard to find the earlier books. Case in point: It DRIVES ME CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY that a small library where I work often leaves only the most recent 3 or 4 books in a series on the shelves and withdraws the earlier books. I have constant work-appropriate tantrums on this subject, but the head librarian is not a mystery reader and overrules my objections. Almost none of our mystery series are intact (with the single exception of the Sue Grafton series) Arrgh!

Imagine discovering the joys of Amelia Peabody or Agatha Raisin and not being able to go back to the beginning. Terrible.

Jan. 24, 2008, 7:28am

That's so weird--that's how I started reading the Inspector Banks series, too.

Anyway, a lot of times the first book I read isn't the first in a series, but if I like it (and can find it) I'll always go back to the beginning of the series. I hate doing it the other leaves reading along, distractedly thinking things like "What?! When did they get divorced?!"

On the other hand, if the recurring characters don't change much over time--like in Agatha Christie's books--it doesn't matter as much to me.

Jan. 24, 2008, 9:57am

Thank the gods, there are a few of you out there. I thought I was obsessive compulsive. I HAVE to read authors sequentially. I search for their websites or go to (sometimes Wikipedia) to get my lists.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 24, 2008, 10:04am

I wouldn't dream of reading a series out of order. If the author is a decent writer, the characters will change and grow over the course of the series. I have left books on the new book shelf at the library many times when I read on the cover that the book is a "Somebody Somebody Mystery", implying that I have missed the beginning of the series.

Jan. 24, 2008, 10:13am

It isn't an absolute necessity but I do try to read them in order as best I can. Sometimes though It takes me years to collect all of them and I can't always wait.

Jan. 24, 2008, 10:15am

I also read the series books in order, I think it's a richer reading experience if you know the characters' history. Matt Scudder getting sober in Eight Million Ways To Die carried a lot of emotional resonance because you were with him on his journey in the previous novels.

Jan. 24, 2008, 10:55am

I'm a nut about reading serieses in order. It irks me to no end to pick up a book not knowing it's part of a series and being left out of things because the history is tied up in other books. Bah. Sometimes this is good and lets me in on a new story happened with the Dennis Lehane series when I got Sacred in a sale bin. Had no idea it was part of anything, but I loved it and had to go get the preceding novels immediately.

Of course some novelists get the series thing and some don't. Harlan Coben for example is a don't. He's always putting the SAME information (word for word in some cases) into each Myron Bolitar novel. Sure this might be good for those who are unfamiliar, but it's really annoying for a loyal reader. There has to be a balance, put some info in that helps set the scene or foundation for behavior, and then skip the details. Deaver (Lincoln Rhyme novels) does a good job at this as does Crais (Elvis Cole novels).

Jan. 24, 2008, 11:04am

Generally. Except when I pick up a cheap random book and don't realise it's part of a series.

I'll usually re-read the entire series so I have the backstory fresh, before I start the next installment. However I did this with Grafton and it was extremely tedious after a month or two.

Some authors make it difficult. I have the Miss Marple omnibuses - collected in published order, but Miss marple's chronological age jumps wildly. I'm much less likely to try and read this in order.

Jan. 24, 2008, 11:37am

There are so many series to choose from though! So, generally, if someone recommends a series, I ask him to tell me the best book of the series, and I start there. If the author grabs me with that one book, I'll go back and start from the beginning to read all the others. But since the first book isn't necessarily the best (e.g., the author is just starting to write fiction, too much introduction to characters, etc.), I don't think it's fair to judge an author by the first book. And since I usually give an author one book to impress me, I really can't always start at the beginning of a series.

Jan. 24, 2008, 11:44am

Oh, absolutely: I will simply *not* knowingly read a book that's part of a series without having read the earlier books first. And if I hear about a series that sounds intriguing but for which I can't find the first books, well, then, I just move on. So many books, too little time...

Jan. 24, 2008, 12:32pm

Like others who have posted, I am compulsive about reading a series in order, and I am so pleased to know there are others out there like me!

I prefer to start in order from the get go, which I have done and enjoyed on series such as Barbara Parker's Gail Connors series and Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. The Gail Connors series really has to be read in order to make the most of it, because her relationship with Anthony Quintana is key to the stories and develops through the series.

The Reacher books really do not have to be read in order, but I am too much a creature of habit to skip around.

Like others, there are some series I started in the middle, not realizing they were a series. For instance, I jumped into the middle of John Lescroart's Dismus Hardy series, then went back and started at the beginning. That is another series that should be read in order because there are dozens of characters that weave into the stories.

There is one series that has eluded me. I read James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux series in random order because it is so huge I can't find the beginning. At east one of the earlier ones has even changed names with subsequent publications. I just can't seem to get my arms around the whole thing.

Jan. 24, 2008, 12:37pm

Whenever possible, yes. I too started in the middle of the Rebus series, but then I backed up and started over. I'm always on fantasticfiction making sure that everything is sequential. Maybe things like Poirot or Miss Marple I'm less picky about, but if it's, say, Butler's John Coffin, I want them in order.

It's a pain, too, because our library often is missing the "before they were famous" first mysteries in a series.

Jan. 24, 2008, 12:54pm

I read the books depending on the order I find them in a used bookstore. I'm too cheap to buy new ones :)

But it might depend on the author, too. Some "Firsts" of series are pretty lousy to the point where I won't bother to pick up any more of the series, but if you jump in in the middle where the author has found their voice, you find that they're pretty good and you want to go back and read the earlier ones.

On the other hand, many series have good initial books and then they degrade steadily as the author runs out of ideas!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 24, 2008, 1:09pm

I typically find an author in the middle of the series and then go backwards and start at the beginning. This is how the Peter Robinson books went for me.

Since joining LT and two book swap sites, I've been getting recommendations for authors, using Stop You're Killing Me to find series order and starting from the beginning. This is how the Carol O'Connell books are working.

My preference would always be to start from the beginning. I don't care so much where in the series a book falls for two particular authors - Jonathan Kellerman and Robert B. Parker.

Touchstones crabby today.

Edited for clarity

Jan. 24, 2008, 2:09pm

Who'd have thought this topic would generate so many posts? You guys are weird! I read 'em as I can find them, although I do see the logic in trying to go in order. I agree with the comments about inconsistent quality in series order as well. How's that for a wishy-washy answer?

Bearbeitet: Jan. 24, 2008, 3:21pm

I really prefer reading books in a series in order (chronologically), though there have been series where I just plunged in to examine (very very rare for me). Colin Dexter's series I just plunged in. It would have been better for me to have started from the beginning, as I didn't "get into" the series until I went back and started from the beginning. On the other hand I sometimes will sample the "best" book of a series just to see if I like the author. I am very glad I did that with the Aaron Elkins series as I read a book that received an Edgar Award award and really liked it, but the first book or few books are not really similar and were not as good as the rest of the series (personal opinion).

Oh, and I mentioned chronologically - There is one series by an author almost no one else seems to have read, Roy Hart, that is a mess. I acquired most of the series before I read a single book (10 cents a copy) and examined them first. I could tell from what the descriptions on the back said that the books jumped all over the place in time. So I reordered them according to what I thought the chronological time line went (the main character is in the police and there are times when he is an Inspector, when he is a Chief Inspector, and books where he is a Superintendent).

Oh, and that "what, when did that happen?" feeling that can creep up on you from reading books out of order can hit you when you read books in order. Very irritating feeling, and sometimes it is only after the fact that I realized that it was a case of foreshadowing and I hadn't really missed anything.

edited to add: Robert Parker is one where I stock-piled about 30 or so of the books before I read them. First, though, I read a very good book that came out in the 2000s before I started from the very beginning. So that series I jumped into out of order but read all but one in order. Read all the rest of his series in order. Oh, just recalled because of characters from the series mingling in other series - there are some authors I just haven't gotten into yet because they really seem to like to mingle their characters (in later books) and the various series are quite long.

Jan. 26, 2008, 6:41pm

It's easier to keep track of series when you read them in publication order.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 26, 2008, 11:31pm

Every series of books I read is in chronological order. For example, the first Sherlock Holmes book I read came before the second one and the Ian Rankin I finished last night came immediately before the one I won't start this afternoon (or any other time).

Jan. 26, 2008, 11:47pm

I definitely try to read series in order as much as possible, but sometimes I just cannot get hold of the books to be able to do so. For example, I just started reading Margaret Maron's series that begins with Bootlegger's Daughter, but unfortunately my local library does not have the second book in the series and skips to the third.

Jan. 27, 2008, 7:52am

Ask your local library to borrow the second book from another library; it's called "interlibrary loan". You may have to pay a fee for it, though, depending on your library.

22amorgan Erste Nachricht
Jan. 28, 2008, 1:30am

Given my druthers, I'd always only read books in a series chronolgically. It spoils the skipped books when a later book is read before earlier ones. And I feel vaguely cheated somehow when I learn that some development I had been anticipating occured in a book I missed. Sadly though (and frustratingly), my library doesn't seem to order books with any regard to their being part of a series. So I cobble along as best I can.

Jan. 29, 2008, 3:00pm

I like to read a series in order if possible. But as others have mentioned, sometimes I pick up a book because it looks good only to find later that it is part of a series. If I liked the book I will go back and try to find the beginning and go on from there. I love used book stores for those kinds of treasure hunts! I haven't begun a new series for awhile. I guess Martha Grimes' series is the last one to date. I like Michael Connolly, but not all of his are part of a series and the same for T. Jefferson Parker. I am up to date on Lincoln Rhymes! I think I will look for a new one (or an old one, I love old mysteries too) to start soon.

Jan. 29, 2008, 4:45pm

I always read a series in order. I was told I could start Discworld out of order with a certain book, and went ahead and read it, and while I did enjoy it, I felt like I was missing out on something. I was also warned that if I read the series in publication order to not give up after the first book or so, because Pratchett's writing got better as the series progressed. Guess what? The first couple of books turned out to be my favorites! Actually any book with Rincewind in it gets my seal of approval, he's my favorite character.

Jan. 31, 2008, 4:47pm

I always read series in order where I can. I too hate the feeling of "huh? when did that happen?" which I get from reading a book out of order. I did it once - James Patterson - The Women's Murder Club series. I read No. 3 before No. 2 and because a main character was killed in No. 3, I hated going back and reading No. 2 when I knew she was going to die! I decided that from then on I wouldn't do that again.

I am currently reading James Patterson in order (Alex Cross series) and I read the full Kathy Reichs series as well.

I am weird - yes - but the structure and order makes me happy!

Jan. 31, 2008, 10:02pm


Did you see how many people do the same thing? No, you are definitely now weird by this standard.

Feb. 1, 2008, 4:35am

Yes, I did - just referencing #16...what I should have written was "WE are weird" but I didn't know whether everyone else's motivation was the structure or something else...

Bad wording from me! It was late at night...

Feb. 1, 2008, 10:49am

I just read 2 books by Deanna Raybourn, the first one I got for Christmas and I bought the second as soon as I finished the first. They hint of romance, but so far mostly just mystery. I enjoyed them very much and hope there will be a third.

Feb. 4, 2008, 12:58pm

You know I was just kidding in #16, right?

Feb. 4, 2008, 2:10pm

I hardly ever read them in chronological order -- intentionally. I enjoy the flitting back and forth in time. It adds another dimension...

That said, I do realize that I'm the weird one.

Feb. 4, 2008, 10:58pm

I've become sort of compulsive about reading a series in order, although I don't know how much it matters for me, because I don't read titles in a series one after the other. So if I go 6 months (or more) between books, I don't often remember what was going on with the characters when I left off.

I didn't see it mentioned in any of these posts, but there's a great site that gives you the proper order for a series:

It prompts you for a lot of info, but I've always had luck just entering first and last name. If the author has written more than one series, it will give you a choice of which one you want to check.

Feb. 5, 2008, 6:55pm

AlaMich #31....Cool Website. Thanks

Feb. 5, 2008, 9:59pm

no problem...I was happy as a clam when I found that site. Though I have wondered if there's some poor soul at that library researching all these series and entering the info. I can't figure out how else you'd do it.

34anniinalaska Erste Nachricht
Feb. 10, 2008, 10:36pm

Yep, me too. I get irritated if I can't figure out a reference in the storyline if I have not read the previous ones. But some authors spend so much time recapping in the later books, I end up skipping pages and pages.

Thanks for the tip on "whats next" I see several sequels I need to find.
Happy reading, Anni

Mrz. 27, 2008, 4:02pm

Uh-oh, looks like I might be in the minority here. For me, much depends on the series/detective/author, as well as the availability of the books. For example, I think it makes enormous sense to read Arthur Conan Doyle and Rext Stout in chronological order, or, at the very least, read the first installment. I think it helps with Sue Grafton, too. With Georges Simenon and his Maigret, I think it's less important, and because (unless one reads French) we're working with translations and some out-of-print books, it's harder to go chronologically. I like writers--Stout and Henning Mankell are examples--who are able to give just enough background in each novel to suggest the evolution or to let first-time readers know what some of the stable features are (such as Wolfe's dislike of leaving his house and his nervousness around women).

Mrz. 27, 2008, 4:32pm

#35 -- The problem with Conan Doyle (at least the Holmes canon) is what version of chronology would you use? If you use Holmes' personal chronology, then a story like "The Musgrave Ritual" should come first, since he was only a university student. However, that was not the first one written -- which I believe was A Study in Scarlet. Then you have the problem of something like "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge", which occured in 1892 (although written in 1908), one year after Holmes went over the Reichenbach Falls. and 2 years before he made his return.

Mrz. 27, 2008, 5:39pm

Interesting about the Sherlock Holmes chronology, because I have been in the mood to read them, but wanted to read them in order (of course). Any suggestions for where to find both a narrative chronology and a publication chronology?

Mrz. 27, 2008, 5:54pm

Here's a narrative chronology:

A Basic Timeline of Terra 221B

Mrz. 27, 2008, 8:13pm

Yes, the two annotated editions of Conan Doyle (one is two volumes; the more recent one is three), work with the double-chronology of publication and Holmes's biography--fascinating question.

Mrz. 28, 2008, 9:35am

Certain things should be read in order, although I usually find out that it is important to do so after reading a later-in-the-series - like Dorothy Sayers. Of course, I had to go back and re-read everything in order.

It's funny, but I never thought that I had to read Agatha Christie in order and I've read almost all of her books multiple times. They stand alone for me in a grand-scheme-of-things way.

Michael Connelly is best read in order but I found a later one then went back. Ditto... most authors, actually. I started to try to list my mystery authors then realized that I've never read a series in order (sorry obsessive-compulsives - didn't mean to make you twitch).

Since I am a serious re-reader of favorite authors, I guess it really doesn't matter, come to think of it.

Mrz. 28, 2008, 9:53am

Ironically, or not, I'm one of those serious "obsessive-compulsive" types that just need to read books in chronological order . . . and I ended up starting the Connelly series with something like the 11th book. The main character had just started a job with the cold case team and it looked very interesting. And then I read the next one in the series and . . . haven't gotten around to reading from the beginning yet.

Mrz. 28, 2008, 8:45pm

#40...Agatha Christie's characters never really changed. They were pretty much the same throughout the series (at least as I recall from my teenage A.C. obsession), which I think was standard at the time. Today, in addition to the story arc of the novel you're reading, there is an arc to the story of the detective themselves, which goes across novels. So, if you pick up the series in the middle, you've missed some of the detective's story. But Miss Marple never got married and then divorced over 5 or 6 books, or anything like that, so I don't think a reader missed anything by reading the books in a random order.

Mrz. 28, 2008, 9:36pm

I'm even in a Yahoo group called ARM. It's tongue-in-cheek for Anal-Retentative Mystery Readers because we have to read a mystery series in order. Of course there are always times when you just can't, but everyone in the group would prefer to read the books in order.

Mrz. 29, 2008, 5:48am

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Mrz. 29, 2008, 6:00am

I read a series in order as much as possible and what I really enjoy is going back and reading the entire series in one go. I reread Bill Pronzini' Nameless in the fall. I find when I read them together I notice and appreciate the development of the writer more. Also character and plot development and the small details which tie one book to another. Pronzini didn't do it with Nameless but I do like it when the character grows chronologically with the series e.g. Bob Skinner in Quintin Jardine's books.

Mrz. 29, 2008, 12:49pm

As a rule I am not that set on reading a series in order the first time through, but like pmarshall I do like to go back at some point and reread a series straight through in chronological order which tends to really give good feel for the characters and mood of the series.

Mrz. 29, 2008, 2:00pm

Well, after reading everyone's posts, I just had to chime in with my opinion. I like to read most series in order (Agatha Christie's being an exception, for the reasons #40 and 42 pointed out), whether mystery or fantasy or romance or whatever, but sometimes it has happened that I've read a later book in the series first and then gone back and enjoyed the earlier ones just as much. Case in point: Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series. I started with Little Scarlet, loved it, and then went back to the very beginning (which was the prequel called Gone Fishin) and read each successive one in order.

One I think it's almost crucial to read in order is the Mallory mystery series by Carol O'Connell. Even more than with Robert Crais' or Michael Connelly's characters, Kathleen Mallory's change and growth is only fully comprehensible if the books are read in order.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 11, 2008, 10:30pm

A few thoughts based on the three hundred series LT tells me I own books from(!):

I just found the Johanna Brady and JP Beaumont series by J. A. Jance. I wanted to bless the author; she's got a page at her website which lists the books in the order they were published. She clearly has a story arc in mind for her main (and even secondary) characters, and if you don't read in order you'll be annoyed or frustrated. More and more authors are using personal websites to urge their readers in the direction desired, and I applaud the trend. J.D. Robb has done the same thing for her Eve Dallas books.

Somebody above mentioned Rex Stout; while I agree the first five or six should be read in order, after that I don't think it's necessary. Stout rarely refers to previous Wolfe/Archie cases in his later books.

The Holmes short stories were collected into several different anthologies (Casebook, Adventures, Return), and I think those were all meant to be read as contemporaneous to one another within the anthology.

John D. MacDonald's McGee books don't really need to be read in order; Travis's early exploits aren't often mentioned or important to the events in a following book (until you get to The Lonely Silver Rain.

What the heck is with author touchstones?????

Apr. 13, 2008, 10:27am

After having said earlier that it doesn't matter very much about reading in order, I am taking the unprecedented step of re-reading all my Edmund Crispin books in order. In fact, after having read the first two, I was going to start what I thought was the next one and realized that I didn't even own the 3rd book! So of course I had to buy it - Thank you! - and will start it today.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 16, 2008, 3:24pm

There used to be a reference book called Sequels which listed series in correct reading order, but only one edition was ever published afaik. When I found that the library I worked in had a copy, I borrowed it overnight and went through it, making lists of the titles I was missing from the series I liked...this was in the days before computers so I had pages and pages of handwritten lists which I used to carry around with me to libraries and bookshops, to try and find the titles I needed.

When Iris Murdoch died, I decided to read all of her novels in chronological order - not a series, I know, but I sort of felt I owed it to her!

PS, the touchstone has come up with one of the Jasper fforde books for some strange reason!

Apr. 16, 2008, 3:28pm has been a wonderful help in my endeavor to do better at beginning series from the first book.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 12, 2008, 2:28pm

I have only recently started to read books that are part of a series and each time I have read a book in the middle, I have regretted this. I felt this way very strongly when I read my first Barbara Nadelnovel,
I could tell I was missing out on so much of the background to the characters. When it got time to
read Donna LeonI made sure to read the books from the first in the series. I have recently had this unfortunate problem with Gail Bowen a writer I really admire now. But I can tell that I need to go
back to the beginning of the series to understand better things I've missed so far.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 13, 2008, 9:42am

I have found some great authors by accidentally picking up books in the middle of a series. This happened with both Lisa Gardner - Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner series - I read The Killing Hour first & Harlan Coben: The Myron Bolitair series - I read Darkest Fear first.

I don't feel it's spoilt anything for me yet!

Jun. 13, 2008, 10:48am

I am one of those anal retentive types who does likes to read everything in order. I do not like to miss out on the nuances and references to books that came before. It is one of my peeves. However, I know that when I stumble on something really interesting in the library and just can't wait for the first book to come in on reserve, I go ahead and read out of order anyway. I have also found some great authors that way. And funny enough, Harlan Coben was one of those.

Jun. 24, 2008, 4:41pm

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Aug. 16, 2008, 12:38am

I'm lucky in that in San Francisco we can easily obtain books quickly from libraries in the region via "LINK+" and can also obtain books from libraries throughout the US which takes a little longer via Interlibrary Loan; there is no charge for either.

I recommend for series info; much broader than thrillingdetective. There's also a great book Detecting Women by Willetta L. Heising; now in a 3rd edition, it contains bios on authors as well as series and characters info. She also wrote Detecting Men but it hasn't been updated since its 1998 publication. Between this book and FF you can have comprehensive information.

Aug. 16, 2008, 12:59am

ToReadToNap - Try your library's interlibrary loan service. It's amazing what they can find!!

Aug. 16, 2008, 6:31pm

I read Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro order...because i loved living in Boston(when i did) and because he is a kill/hell writer
anybody wanna argue, here? i spit on your sidewalk, you
*just kidding...sort of*

Aug. 16, 2008, 7:06pm

I always try to read them in sequence.

Aug. 16, 2008, 8:04pm

I want to be contrary. I don't think it really matters if I read a series in order. It's one thing if I find it with volume one, but I won't go out of my way to seek out the first one if the third and sixth are on the shelf in front of me. You don't insist on getting acquainted with new people in real life according to some chronology, do you?

Aug. 19, 2008, 12:56pm

I recently read Ruth Rendell'smost recent book which is something like #24 in the Inspector Wexford series. Then I went back and read the first one From Doon With Death to get a good sense of the beginnings of the character. But the first book in the series didn't illuminate much that I didn't already know. There are a lot of character developments that must happen over the consecutive series that were obmitted in the first book.

Aug. 19, 2008, 1:12pm

I love that series myself. It's worth reading them in order to get the whole "back story" about the characters. Enjoy.

Aug. 19, 2008, 9:25pm

I always have to read books in order. If I mistakenly get a book that's not the first one, I'll wait until I collect all the ones that come before and then start reading. I'm obsessive that way :)

Aug. 19, 2008, 11:46pm

I try, but it's not always possible. Often, I'm introduced to a series by a publisher (as I manage a bookstore) when they give me a copy of a book to read. Most of the time it is the latest book in the series (2nd, 5th, 8th and so on). This is how I was introduced to Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series- by reading Friend of the Devil after I received it from the publisher rep. I started reading William Lashner after reading A Killer's Kiss from the Victor Carl series. I've gone back and found other books in these two series, and, I'll admit, continued reading them out of order- but it doesn't make a difference. The stories are well written and you can understand the story lines without having to have read the previous volumes.
Others, such as Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series or John Dunning's Cliff Janeway novels, you really must start at the beginning or hazard getting lost as the characters and story develop only from the first book forward. In other words, I try to start with the first book and read chronologically when I can, but only make this a rule if it is crucial to the story being told in later volumes.

Okt. 23, 2009, 7:38pm

Because I tend to discover authors after they're out of print and do most of my book shopping at used places, I rarely read in order...have been known to acquire, skip-read, then re-read the whole mess in order after I've collected them.

Okt. 23, 2009, 7:56pm

I generally prefer to read the series in order... although there are two cases when I am reading out of order:
- When the Bulgarian publisher starts with the series from the middle of nowhere. For example they published Henning Mankell's Firewall (#8 in its series) without publishing any other book. And that's just one of the examples.
- When I am on a business trip - I love browsing bookstores... and if I decide I like a book, I will get it and read it almost immediately regardless of its series order. That's how I ended up reading Arnaldur Indridason starting from the last one (#6) and going back through the one before it (#5) and then #3 - that's what I found in the three bookstores I checked :) It was actually fun discovering how some things had happened after seeing a brief note for them in the newer books.

Okt. 24, 2009, 1:11am

I find it very comforting that the main characters in books survive to grace a later book so I don't mind reading later ones first. A sort of security blanket.

However, when I find an author whom I like and I have read the latest book first because it was the only one in the bookshop, then I will go to and look for earlier books.

Okt. 24, 2009, 1:33am

I am glad to know that my compulsion to be a "completist" for a series but to also read them in order, it not so dreadfully odd. I have gotten to the point that I now have to know if the book is part of a series before I even buy it, luckily my local bookstore understands my sickness and helps me research to find the first book in the series. I enjoyed reading the Robert Crais Elvis Cole series in order, even after I found out how big of a series it was. I also read the Carl Haissen books in order. This is not necassary for his books but characters from other books do pop up in later books. This compulsion is one of the reasons that my to be read stack is so huge. I cannot help it, nor do I want to.

Okt. 24, 2009, 6:04am

The only time I won't start at the beginning of a series is if I pick up a book not realising it's a part of one. If I then read it and like it I will go back to the beginning and read sequentially.

Okt. 24, 2009, 11:17am

I always read series books in order. Good thing, too, because in a lot of them the main character development isn't always fleshed out and tends to become so the farther along in the series you are. Sometimes the author gives you a brief bit of the stuff the reader may have missed earlier series novels, but the info generally isn't as good as having read the books in order.

Okt. 24, 2009, 1:52pm

I like to read series in order, too. I agree with >40 karenmarie: and >42 AlaMich: that Agatha Christie is an exception - I never think twice about where a Poirot or Miss Marple or whomever fits in chronologically.

One of the most enjoyable book-reading experiences for me is coming upon a well-developed series I like and having many books to look forward to reading, without having to wait for new ones to be written. Most recently I've had that with Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, although now I've caught up and have to wait for the new ones to come out.

Okt. 24, 2009, 4:57pm

I've read Robert Parker's "Spenser" novels in order; wish I'd done the same with the Harry Bosch novels by Michael Connelly as I keep finding references to other stories that I haven't read yet or I realise that the book I'm reading is a "prequel" to one I've already read

Okt. 25, 2009, 8:49am

Depends a lot on the writer and the series.
If the book itself gives not much of a hint that the books are a series (that is, if there is no "second part of ... trilogy" or something like that printed up front) I am willing to sample what is available. And then figure out if I should have read them in order.

Agatha Christie obviously doesn't need to be read in order: there are occasional references here and there for the earlier books, so sometimes there is a slight benefit from having read them, but they practically never influence the story.
Dorothy Sayers on the other hand is different, even if the books are often pretty enjoyable without having read them in order. You can usually figure out quickly what is the situation between e.g. Lord Peter and Harriet and the worst that can happen is finding out that if a person is alive and well in later book he/she couldn't be the murdered in the previous one.
And then there are series which draw heavily from events in earlier books and happily drop spoilers to them (that said, I don't usually mind spoilers that much): Leena Lehtolainen is one such.

Discworld series is somewhere in between: the early books were very indepenedent but later books pretty much require reading at least the subseries (so you should read e.g. the witches books or Death books in order, but can read either of those without bothering with e.g. Rincewind books...)

But what about series which do not expand chronologically? Robert van Gulik wrote the five "Chinese xxxxxx Murders" books, and after that progressed to fill in the middle parts with later books. So should the order be internal chronology or writing order? (For the curious, I think both work but I am not a close stickler to series anyway.)

Or Narnia? If you ask me the current way of publishing the series in chronological order is WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! because it kills the impact of the books written first, while Magician's Nephew lacks the oomph to be the first book in the series...

Okt. 25, 2009, 9:07am

Elizabeth Peters' "Amelia Peabody" series, at least the later books, need to be read in order because they are all about the same characters and it would be very confusing to read one of the later books without following the development of the people in them. There are about 18 books and they span about 30 years.

"Another year; another body."

Okt. 25, 2009, 12:19pm

I tend to plunge right in whereever, but if I like the series, I often go back and re-read the series in order, the ones I have skipped and rereading those I have already read. Recently read the entire (to date) Cara Black Aimee Leduc series, e.g. Aimee Leduc, etc. Am in the process of reading Bill James' Harpur and Isles' series, e.g., Panicking Ralph. See related posts in Mystery anc Crime: What are you reading in October?

Bearbeitet: Okt. 26, 2009, 12:51am

I like reading series in order, tho sometimes the first book I read in a series may be a later one due to it having been the selection for a mystery book group, or it happened to be on the bookshelf of someone I'm visiting. Even tho I prefer reading series in order, I don't like to go right on from one book in a series to the next. I prefer to wait a couple months (or more) between books by any particular author. Since I've moved to small town
Wisconsin, the local library acted on my suggestion to get the two latest books in the Mathew Bartholomew series by Susanna Gregory, The Devil's Disciples and A Vein of Deceit. Of course I was notified and picked up the books when they came in, but even tho this is one of my favorite series, it was too soon since I'd read the prior book and I just couldn't read them.

Okt. 26, 2009, 7:26am

I read the title I have at hand and if I like it and want to read the series I do try to read them in order. This allows me to see the character development and how the author builds the series. I enjoy going back to a series and reread it in order, e.g., Marcia Muller, Quintin Jardine, Bill Pronzini ...

Bearbeitet: Dez. 19, 2009, 3:02pm

I too must read a series in order. But sometimes it is hard to figure out what the order should be-especially if the author has more than one series.

Here is a website that has helped me with this problem many times. It lists each authors series by publication date.

Dez. 19, 2009, 11:15pm

It really depends a great deal on the series.

I read Gregory McDonald's Fletch series out of order and it didn't make much difference. But if I had read Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden books out of order, I would have been very confused by the changes in her love life over the course of the series.

Actually, one of the best arguments in favor of reading a series in order isn't the continuity but the author's skill development over time. Most authors get better at writing as they progress through a series, partly just from the experience of writing so many novels, partly from their growing understanding of their characters. So if you read the first book of a series after you've already read several from later in the series, you might find the difference in style jarring.

Dez. 21, 2009, 4:44am

> 79, about developing writing skills, there is also a danger when you read books in order that you start with the early so-so and bad books and leave the series wondering what's all the fuss about...

Bearbeitet: Dez. 21, 2009, 3:28pm


I use all the time. Not only does it help with series order, but also in finding different authors too. It doesn't do that job 100%, but has some help to it.

I, like many, must read a series in order. That said, there are a number of series that I either am reading or am about to start:

1) Mitch Rapp Series - Vince Flynn - I'm currently reading the 5th book in the series, Memorial Day

2) Sigma Force Series - James Rollins - I've read his first one, Sandstorm. Next up, Map of Bones

3) Scot Harvath Series - Brad Thor - Got his first book from my Secret Santa on here - first up is The Lions of Lucerne

4) Camel Club Series - David Baldacci - Also got his first from my Secret Santa on here - first up is The Camel Club

5) Event Group Series - David Lynn Golemon - On my "To Read" list - First up is Event

6) Jack Ryan Series - Tom Clancy - Never read any of Clancy's stuff, but picked up his standalone novel, Red Storm Rising, which I intend to read in the near future. If it's even half-way decent, I intend to read the Jack Ryan series one day, likely in "Chronological order" rather than "Publication order"

I used to read mostly horror, and so while I still do read some, I mostly read Thrillers and Political Intrigue/Espionage now. The former was mostly standalone novels (I also read the first 5 standalone novels by James Rollins), and hence why most series are in a TBR status than a currently reading status.

Dez. 23, 2009, 10:47am

Here is another website that is great for listing the order of series;

Jan. 3, 2010, 10:52am

I have this thing where I absolutely must read series books in order, because a lot of character development occurs throughout the series. For example, I just finished Firewall by Henning Mankell, and would have missed out on what makes Wallander tick in this book had I not started at the beginning. Plus, it really bugs me when the author refers to events in an earlier book that I'm unaware of.

I also use fantastic fiction for series lists, and often turn to as well.

Jan. 15, 2010, 8:59am

I do try to read books chronologically if they contain the same characters, but I usually don't manage it. The only series I might have succeeded is the Jonathan Kellerman books about Alex Delaware.

Jan. 18, 2010, 9:03am

Yup, me too.
So nice that there are so many of us compulsives around - I also thought I was the only one. I'm currently wending my way through Victoria Thompson's Gaslight mysteries; they are set in New York in the early 20th century.
I loved the Henning Mankell series, Wallander is a great character.

Jan. 19, 2010, 8:54am

Not sure if you are in England Disie35, but Wallander is currently showing on TV here, starring Kenneth Branagh in the title role.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 19, 2010, 10:20am


I'm surprised that you would think that there are so few compulsives around. Reading a series out of order can often seem very weird. So as not to disclose what happens in books I have read (since this thread isn't about a specific author or series), I'm going to use a fake.

Take author John Doe, and he wrote a hypothetical 5 book political thriller series. Let's say they were in the following order:

Book 1 - "A Connecticut Senator in Barack Obama's Court"
Book 2 - "Barack Obama - Prince of Health Care"
Book 3 - "20,000 Seconds Under Attack"
Book 4 - "The Adventures of Joe Biden"
Book 5 - "Crime and Corruption"

And the first book is about the problems of the Republican Senator that gets elected on January 19th, 2010 (and yes, I'm aware it's MA, not CT today).

The second is about the fight for health care and all the other things that will never get through with only 59 Democrats

The third is about a corrupt right-winged citizen that pulls off a capital crime in a 5 1/2 hour span.

The fourth is about what happens under the new president for the rest of the term.

The fifth is about how the government goes red, and what happens to the country is worse than what happened from 2000 to 2008.

Now, you read the third book first. Next, you read the first book, and say to yourself "uhm...I thought he was dead".

A series has to be read in order. Things are just too weird when read in a different sequence.

Once I finish the Clancy book I'm reading, it's off to Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn (and yes, I've read Term Limits and the previous 5 books in the Mitch Rapp series).

Jan. 20, 2010, 2:31am

87> True, if the series has been written like that, so the events follow each other closely (and especially if major characters die at some point).
And even then you might read the first book knowing that the events there will lead to the later books, so a character dying in #3 should be assumed to be alive in #1...(and after all there are series where the order is not chronological). It can be done, though some writers make it easier than others.

And then there are series which have little else in common than the main character: in book 1 the main character is involved in espionage in London, in the second looking for lost diamonds in Rome, in the third again in London where a woman is murdered and so forth. Beside the main character and couple of additional characters, there might be a mention in book #3 how wittily the main character found the solution in book #2...e.g. Poirot series of Dame Agatha works like this.

Jan. 20, 2010, 3:29am

Not only do I read them in order when I get a new title in a series, e.g. Locked In by Marcia Muller I go back and read the preceding one, Burn Out before I read the new one. Just to bring me up to date as it may be a year or more since I read it. I have an order coming tomorrow and I need to finish an Alan Furst and then reread 3 titles to match 3 new titles.

Jan. 23, 2010, 6:13pm

>89 pmarshall:. Me too. I love a good series, and I would never think of reading one out of order, even if the reviews say it's a good "stand-alone" novel. Nope. I want to read straight through.

Jan. 23, 2010, 6:36pm

ThrillerFan @ #87, I think you've read Allen Drury's later and lousier books. ;) Advise and Consent was excellent, A Shade of Difference was pretty darned good, and then he went off into thinly-disguised commentary on the politics of the late 1960s.

Jan. 23, 2010, 11:19pm


Linkmeister, no I can't say I have. I used to be strictly a horror reader. Now I read about 2 horror books a year, and the rest are Thrillers (often political). That said, I haven't read a large number of authors yet in the Genre (for politics, it's been mostly Vince Flynn thus far).

As someone else mentioned in another thread somewhere (don't recall where), most authors aren't consistent. They either get better as they go along, or worse. Take, for example, Tom Clancy. I read Red Storm Rising recently. Not the most stellar book I've ever read, but people I know that read the Jack Ryan series all say that the ones he wrote early were far better than his later ones. Some other authors are the other way around.

Jan. 25, 2010, 5:59am

I have just finished reading (in the correct order) Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks series. From my experience Robinson has a bigger emphasis on his hero's personal and private life than the average crime writer. To consider reading these out of order would be heresy in my opinion. Rankin's Rebus comes a close second. What other crime writers come close?

Jan. 27, 2010, 4:17pm

I always read a series in order, half of the fun is in the hunt for all the books in a series before starting to read them. Some of the authors I have read the complete series in chronological order are: Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Jeffery Deaver, and the Dalziel and Pasco series, the author's name escapes me right now.

Jan. 28, 2010, 2:02am

ThrillerFan @ #92, my mistake, but your theoretical descriptions closely follow the arc Drury's books took. Advice and Consent won a Pulitzer for fiction in 1960. As I said, the first two were good. After that Drury's conservative "law and order" worldview took over his writing.

Bearbeitet: Feb. 1, 2010, 12:16pm


LOL...kinda weird that my hypotheical example could possibly be similar to an author from 1960 (15 years before my existence).

In actuality, all I did was look for classics ("A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court", "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", and "Crime and Punishment") that I could twist the title on to express what I had to say about the Republican Party (cough, gag). I actually registerred Republican in 1996 (first presidential year I was old enough to vote as I was only 17 in 1992) and switched to independent in 2008, voting for 2 republicans (a NC Congress woman and NC Govenor, of which, only the first won) and the rest Democrats (including Obama). Bush (a.k.a. "W", who I voted for twice...moron that I now feel like I am for doing so) has taken down the Republican Party himself (and yet his father was a great president in my humble opinion). Shouldn't "strategery" have given me the hint?

By the way, of those 5 classics, I "attempted" to read "A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court", but had to put the book down, read the original "Robin Hood" (whichever one it was, or if it even had a subtitle, I don't know), "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" all in the 6th to 9th grade timeframe (mid-to-late 80's), and never read "Crime and Punishment".

Feb. 5, 2010, 8:59am

I rarely read a series chronologically. This is primarily because I am finding a lot of new (to me) authors. After reading the latest novel I will go back and read the earlier books but not necessarily in order of publication.

Feb. 5, 2010, 9:15am


Are you one of those that goes to places like Wal-Mart or Airports to buy your books (where typically the latest is all that's available)? There are authors that are "new to me" that wrote stuff in the 70s, 80s, or 90s, but I always look at this site or to see the chronology of the series, and which books are standalone.

The book I'm reading now, Consent to Kill, is the 6th book of the Mitch Rapp series, and I can tell you from the first 5, you kinda have to read them in order. Main characters (like the head of the CIA in the first 2 books) are now dead, and the motive behind the 6th book is based on what happened in his 5th one, Memorial Day.

If you aren't getting the help you need here, go to look for the title of the first book in a series, and assuming it's not some ancient author (i.e. books written in the last, say, 50 years), you'd likely find the first one in a Borders or Barnes and Noble (Borders more likely for newer authors, Barnes and Noble more likely for older authors).

Mrz. 18, 2010, 5:47pm

I always have to read series books in order, probably a little OCD. My mom who reads the same types of books doesn't care about order so that helps me find out other good "series" books without having to start in the middle, I let her do it. A good source for finding series order for mysteries is It's not always perfectly up-to-date but it has a lot of the older information. The site also has science fiction and fantasy but not has much as in the mystery category.

My library also has an annoying habit of having only some in a series and not others, usually the most recent. I keep a list with me of the titles the library doesn't have and whenever I'm in a used bookstore (which is often) I check to see if they have any. If so, I purchase it and then trade it in when I've read it. Works pretty well, I've found quite a bit that way. Of course, as a last resort I'll buy them from used booksellers online.

Mrz. 19, 2010, 6:15am

I read them in order whenever possible and I re-read the last one before the new one.

Dez. 23, 2010, 1:42am

Hi from Colorado! I too need to read a series in order- especially if the main character ages, goes through a series of relationships, or changes careers and location. If an author spans multiple decades with a character, it is annoying to read about modern computers/faxes/GPS/cell phones and then, in the next book, go back to typewriters/microfiche/lack of DNA technology.

Of course there are exceptions, noted in the thread above, such as the works of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle or the formulaic writers that burn us out early on.

Question- Does it bother you when a series has a main character that never ages? Does that even matter?

Dez. 23, 2010, 5:29am

> 102

I prefer it when a character and those around him/her age. I like to see the character develop and one way the author can do it is through changes in the characters' personal life, reactions to past/current events. I want the book to reflect changes in technology etc. as well.

However an author can get caught out in this. Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone first case is in 1982 and the others follow from there one right after another, which means that regardless of the year in which a book is written the time line has been set by the first book. Grafton has commented on this situation but can't change it.

You are right that there are exceptions like Agatha Christie, but I think their characters have enough appeal to keep readers interested in them.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 23, 2010, 1:40pm

I read a review of the latest (at that time) book in the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear and just knew I would be interested in delving in. Any book described as 'historical', 'mystery', and 'British' ticks all the boxes for me so I went to Amazon to take a look and ended up ordering the first book in the series, Maisie Dobbs. I am happy that I read the series in order. The first book provides a lot of the back story that is necessary (to me, anyway) to understand and fully appreciate the arc of the main character(s) so that the author doesn't have to do a lot of explaining in future series books.

Yes, subsequent books are written to be 'stand-alone', but I enjoy getting to know the character as he/she develops into someone that the reader wants to spend time with. Having said that, I mistakenly ordered the fifth book in the series instead of the fourth and found that someone had suffered a great loss. Now that I am back on track reading the fourth book, it takes away from the drama of the situation when I already know what happened. For what it's worth, I believe that I should read the books in the order that the author intended.

Dez. 23, 2010, 1:57pm

I just finished the latest Joe Pike/Elvis Cole novel and the cat is apparently still surly and swilling beer. Pretty good for a 23 year old cat.

Dez. 29, 2010, 3:33pm

Whenever I find a new author that writes in a series, I do try to read them in order. It's becoming more difficult to find authors I enjoy who write in a series. I recently found the Crais Pike/Cole series and enjoyed those. Also Harlan Coben/Myron Bolitar. Looking now for another like those.

Dez. 29, 2010, 3:46pm

I've read both of those series (I'm re-reading the Cole series now, just finished Lullaby Town) and so think you might like the Kenzie & Gennaro series by Dennis Lehane. Start with A Drink Before the War and work your way to Moonlight Mile. There are only 6 of them, but they're pretty good. A bit more bleak and violent than either the Cole or the Bolitar series, but I like them. They have a lot of parallels with the other two series.

Jan. 2, 2011, 11:02am

I strongly recommend reading Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge series in order. There are thirteen of them now, and the character development works much better for reading them in order.

Jan. 2, 2011, 2:29pm

I often read series out of order, mostly because I'll find a book that I think look interesting in the bookstore, only to find out when reading, that it is a series. But then I don't feel like waiting with the book I have until I've got all the other books in the series.
If I know beforehand, I'll usually try and get the first book and read chronologically though.

Jan. 3, 2011, 2:30am

It is hard to find the series, in order, for authors that began well over thirty years ago. For example, Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series started in 1973 and will (sadly, with his passing) end this year when the novels he had in the pipeline are published. It is quite a hunt to find some of his early works.


If you are in-love with a series, how do you like to go through them? Do you just borrow them from the library, download them on an e-reader, insist on a personal hardcover collection, wait for a less expensive paperback collection for your shelves, trade with friends, or prefer audio???

Jan. 3, 2011, 8:39am

I too read series chronologically. Sometimes I stumble into a new series by picking up a book, not knowing it's a series, reading it, loving it, then when I check out the author, it's a series. But otherwise, I start at the first book of a series.

110> If I'm in love with a series, like the China Bayles series by Susan Wittig Albert, I buy the books. In the case of China Bayles, I was behind when I discovered the series, so I started with paperbacks and will now wait until the paperback comes out for the new books. On the other hand, Susan Wittig Albert's newest series, The Darling Dahlias, I knew was coming and I bought the first book as soon as it came out in the hardback edition. Yeah, not waiting then! So, it depends, but I do want a real, paper book in my possesion.

Jan. 3, 2011, 3:09pm

>110 COmysteryFAN:

I buy them as soon as they get out. Which in most cases means hardcover :) If I like the series enough, I do not want to wait half an year/an year for the paperback.

Jan. 4, 2011, 5:15pm

I'm the same way. Lee Child's Jack Reacher series fits this for me.

Jan. 5, 2011, 8:39am

108: Agreed about Charles Todd's series. Same for Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series.

Initially I attempt to read a series chronologically. Often the craft of authors improves after the first few books. If I'm not enjoying an early book in a series due to the author's skill level, I may skip ahead to book 3 or 4 to see whether the craft improved. When I discover books within a series that are written as stand-alones and can thus be read out of order, wow, that's a pleasant surprise. I write my own series that way.

One author whose writing dramatically improved after the first few books is Jim Butcher, with the Harry Dresden series. (IMHO his craft slacked off in Changes, maybe due to his being under some heavy deadlines.) That series *must* be read in order.

Jan. 5, 2011, 10:45pm

I am reading The Murder Stone by Charles Todd right now and, so far, I am not really impressed. The story seems a bit dragged to me.

Do you think I should look for the first in his Ian Rutledge series? Which is the first one?

Jan. 6, 2011, 8:39am

>115 aluvalibri: yes, the early ones are quite good, imo. I stopped somewhere around The Murder Stone; there had been a couple of books where she/he ended it with a cliffhanger and that angered me (I thought it insulted me as a reader). I sent my collection to MaggieO (you know where to find her:-)

I like to read police procedurals chronologically but I don't go crazy trying to find the first book. I think I started Rebus around book 5, and Dalziel & Pascoe around book 8? 11? One does have to be a little careful with translated books as they are often not translated chronologically. I had this problem recently with the Åke Edwardson books. I was excited to get the latest translation and then discovered the detective was still single in this one. Oy!

Jan. 6, 2011, 8:43am

>115 aluvalibri: Paola, if I remember correctly, there were a couple books right around The Murder Stone which were not reviewed as glowingly in the media as the earlier books, but it was not long before the good reviews returned. One has to admit, having a sidekick that's a voice in one's head is wonderfully original.

Jan. 6, 2011, 4:27pm

I much prefer to read mysteries in chronological order. Otherwise you miss character development and references to previous books. Just finished my 4th book in the Kurt Mandell series by Henning Mankell, The Man Who Smiled. Great series of mystery/ thrillers that are written by a Swedish author. Highly reccommended!

Jan. 6, 2011, 4:54pm

>115 aluvalibri: Do you think I should look for the first in his Ian Rutledge series? Which is the first one?

A Test of Wills - but if your problem is the style (as opposed to the story itself), you might still not like him in that series either.

Jan. 6, 2011, 8:31pm

Thank you Lois, and AnnieMod. I might look for a copy of A Test of Wills, it is always worth to give it a try!

Jan. 7, 2011, 3:53am

Lol....I just joined this group and this is the first thread I have read and now commented on ( in this group that is!).

I always read books in order ....compulsively....couldn't read them any other way!!! Coincidentally with #1 above Peter Robinson was the first author i read this way and then i followed that with Sue Grafton and her Alphabet series and Patricia Cornwell. Since that i have tried to do the same with Peter James and Lee Child . When 61 Hours was released, Borders had a special where you could buy Killing Floor for $5. I have read that and have since bought the rest of the series (ebay - YAY!) but havent read them yet!

>110 COmysteryFAN: use a library?? oh my!!! I hate the places....they insist on getting their books back!!!!

Jan. 7, 2011, 1:16pm


I've always hated that about libraries, as well, they insist upon getting their books back! That and the fact that they have more books than I.

I read my first Reacher without knowing it was a series; after that, I just read them as I came across them at the Half Price bookstore, until I caught up.

Now I pre-order them, and read them as soon as they arrive, even if I'm in the middle of something else at the time.

Jan. 7, 2011, 10:13pm


I agree.
What is this obsession with clearing out the shelves and sending everything to the library sale?
Half the books in the library sale are barely even worn out.
Don't get me wrong, I love to buy books myself from the library sale, but I only don't like library sales where the book I returned to circulation only half read can never be found again because it disappeared without warning to the library sale.
But back to what #2 was talking about, please don't ditch the books from the beginning of the series for no good reason. It takes some people a long time to read a series--especially me.

Jan. 8, 2011, 11:18am

In defense of libraries, the shelving space is static and the new books people want continue to be published so something has to give. Most libraries are part of a larger unit and the decision on what must go is based on the entire collection. So although the title may not be on your library's shelf you can get it from another branch within the system. If not there is always interlibrary loan.

Multiply copies were purchased when the title was released to meet the demand for the book in a timely manner. As much as people lament books withdrawn and put in sales they also lament having to wait months to read new books. As this demand wanes copies are withdrawn. Keeping a library collection current and well-rounded means balancing a number of factors. With non-fiction it is important to have older books that show the development of events and ideas. The 'classics' have to be represented in literature. Genre fiction and series have grown by leaps and bounds in the past years as have the publication of original titles in paperback and it is difficult to deal with these if you don't understand/like the genre. It is easy to think that there is lots of room for more books but approximately 60% of a collection is out at any one time but there are times, like Christmas, when more of it is in and needs to be shelved.

I feel like you do about keeping an entire run of a series, particularly as I like to go back and re-read series. Many regional libraries or areas of a country (i.e., Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada) join together to have a last copy fiction collection. This ensures that through interlibrary loan a title is always available, but not at your finger tips when you want it now.

I hope this helps...

Jan. 8, 2011, 2:01pm

Yes that helps. It is good to rely on your voice of reason. You considered all of the factors, in contrast to my one-sided rant.
Additionally, as a reader with no discipline--i.e., I have 10 or 15 books on the go at once, and sometimes take a year to finish one of those books--I am already leaving myself open to the danger of losing access to a book if I demand that no book can go into a sale until more than one year after I return it. Foolish hope.

Jan. 11, 2011, 9:37am

Yep, me too.

Feb. 2, 2011, 5:03pm

Several Summers ago I decided to read Ian Fleming's James Bond books. I figured "why not read them in order?" It was a blast! Since then I've read the Michael Connelly books in order, the Brad Thor books & Vince Flynn books in order; I loved the Andreas Camilleri books which absolutely must be read in order, and I have also read the Jo Nesbo books in order.
There are some writers I don't read sequentially: Somerset Maugham comes quickly to mind. I have written about my enjoyment of reading the Ian Fleming and Michael Connelly books in sequence on my website if you care to look. I'm at

Feb. 9, 2011, 6:53am

A lot of times i will pick up a book that sounds good, and even if its in the middle of a series I will read it and then look for Book 1 and start. There is one series i loved that i think absolutely has to start with Book 1 - Jane Rubinos Jersey Shore mysteries - the first one is Death of a DJ. Because the time line is so close - there is hardly a year that passes between the first one and the last one and there are some plot threads that go through the books and come to a head in the last one published.
I think there are some books like the Jane Austen mysteries that i dont need to read in any particular order but then there are others like Lawrence Blocks Matt Scudder books where i think its better if you read them in order.

Feb. 17, 2011, 1:13am

where possible i find it far more enjoyable to do this. You tend to feel that you devlop a stronger connection with th characters

Bearbeitet: Mai 26, 2018, 5:42pm

2 ToReadToNap

It drives me nuts when the library only seems to keep a book for 6-12 months and then sends it into the bins for the book-disposal sale. It's not like they are low on shelf space or something like that. I have this image in my mind that if they constantly decrease their collection numbers, then they can go back to city hall and ask for a bigger budget to buy new books. There is nothing wrong with buying new books, don't get me wrong. But there have been several times when I got busy and only made it up to page 100 of a book and had to return it. I always jot down a note of which books I haven't finished and want to pick up later. But many times when I went back to the library to get it, it had been disposed of in the books-2-buy sale (Edmonton Public Library.) Nothing is permanent in our collection. Then I have to go to AbeBooks to try to find it again. How frustrating.

Now I realize that the above paragraph is not related to the thread of chronological reading. I was careless when I first posted it, and I apologize.

However, maybe I could add that books disappearing from the public library collection contributes to me having greater difficulty in going in chronological order.

Sorry, I should have found a different thread for my rant.

Mai 26, 2018, 12:06pm

I'm halfway through a complete chronological reread of the Nero Wolfe series. Comments here.

My first time through some portion of the series, more than 40 years ago, I read them randomly and without regard to sequence. Now I am enjoying watching them develop. Rex Stout took care to make each story stand alone, but there is definitely directionality, as well as references to previous episodes that are treat morsels for those who've read them, without excluding other readers from anything important.

A few Nero Wolfe titles are still available at the library. The rest come through Kindle or Amazon Marketplace. I won't buy any of the rare and expensive ones, so I have to settle for them in omnibus collections.

I did the Cadfael books in order too. I can't think of any other series that wrapped so beautifully. There's no doubt in my mind that the author knew book 20 was her last. She died not long afterward.

Mai 26, 2018, 3:43pm

>131 Meredy:

Try interlibrary loans. I had been working through the Perry Mason series and most of the books came via ILL.

Bearbeitet: Mai 28, 2018, 1:57pm

Thank you to you all. The above comments were very helpful to me. I noticed that the series feature helps me to find my orientation within the series.

Of course some publishers are very helpful and will tell you right on the cover how that title fits into the sequence of the series. But such is not always the case.

If the publisher has left it out, and I am on my own, and if I didn't look at series on LibraryThing, then I would be all on my own.

But solving mysteries is a good way to keep one's brain active.

Mai 28, 2018, 7:39am

This types of books im really like that specially mystery types of stories.

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