Friday, June 10, 2016

Reading Order

Chronological vs. Publication Order
So, I've been thinking about reading order of books lately. One of my favorite series EVER has the core group of books - six stories - and the prequels - three stories, so far. There are two recommended reading orders: chronological and publish order.

(I read these in publish order, mostly because the first book published sounded quirky and odd and nothing about the first chronological book jumped out at me at the time.)

I've also come across other - usually long-running, often sci-fi - series that do this. There will be the original published order and the chronological order where the author came back later and filled in some of the backstory.

Honestly, when this comes up, I never quite sure which order to read them in. My immediate response is published order - but about eighty percent of the time, the reviewers say that the author gets better later. So, am I doing them - or me! - a disservice?

What do you think: chronological or publication order?

Multi-Series Worlds
What about a series that takes place in a world of lots of series? I can't think of many examples of this, but I know I've been involved in at least one. I actually bought the first book in the series YEARS ago, long before I ever discovered Goodreads, so I had no idea that it wasn't a 'standalone series'.

So, I'm never sure if I should start with the first series in this world - or if I'll be confused if I don't! Or, should I just pick the series that sounds the best. (Of course, this doesn't take into consideration the fact that all the series' might sound good.)

Usually, with these type of books, there isn't a 'recommended/suggested reading order' from the author, but it would seriously be helpful! Also, there's the books that start a new series but they're actually a continuation of an older series - and that just leaves me dreadfully confused!

How do you handle 'multi-series worlds'?

Standalone 'Series' Books
Finally, probably the easiest reading order conundrum: Books that are loosely part of a series, but also function as a standalone.

Usually these books seem to be mostly romance - but they do create their own problem. You see, if the series concept sounds good, I'll probably start at the beginning. Of course, if one of the couples/stories appeals to me more, I'll skip forward to that one. And that occasionally causes me to skip back to the first stories in the series. Doing that is especially problematic if the couples from previous books show up in the sequels - and then you can be left going 'who in the world are all these people?' (And it can drive me nuts if the people don't age though the series takes place over YEARS!)

Do you read these type of books in order, or tend to skip around?