Sunday, April 28, 2013
Sunday Salon: Stuck in a series vortex
I have a tendency to have a really hard time to make a conscious decision to let a series go, in much the same way as I struggle with DNF'ing a book. There are tons of series that I have let drop off, but that was never actually a conscious decision because I wasn't enjoying the series anymore. It is more likely to be that I just didn't request the next book in the series from the library, or I borrowed it and didn't get to read it so had to be returned unread.
The idea of saying 'that's it, no more' to a series like Stephanie Plum is difficult because there was a time when I loved this series. I used to buy the books as they came out, and did this up to book 12, which is about when I decided that I didn't want to buy the books anymore but I was still happy to keep borrowing them from the library. Notorious Nineteen was marginally better than the last couple of books, but I still hadn't gotten to the point yet where I couldn't add my name to the request list once it was added to the library catalogue.
When I think about this series in particular, there are a few things that I think about.
I wonder if someone picked up this book as their introduction to the Stephanie Plum series if they would find it hysterically funny in the same way as I found the first few books in the series. Is it just not laugh out loud funny anymore because there are so many familiar scenes that seem to play out in each book: the cars that blow up, the whole Babe vs Cupcake thing with Ranger and Morelli, the fact that Stephanie couldn't apprehend a fly most of the time, Grandma Mazur's quips and Lula's constant state of hunger. The only element that is normally present that was missing this time was the animal humour - thank goodness! There's only so many times that a monkey giving someone the finger is funny - and for me that number was zero.
As an aside, I can't imagine ever picking up book 19 in a series without having read the previous ones, but apparently it happens!
I also wonder what impact if any the movie has had for readers of the series. In my imagination, I think I do see Katherine Heigl as Stephanie but the same isn't true for the characters who play Ranger and Joe. I still have my own image of what it is that they both look like.
I have contemplated rereading the few books of the series to see if they are actually as funny as I remember them being. The first time around, I would be laying in bed reading the books literally crying with laughter. And that wasn't just once, it was multiple times per book. I encouraged people I knew to read them and I know that they passed them onto their friends too.
I guess I am a little reluctant to try the reread in case it really does turn out that either they aren't as good as I remember them being, or that as a long time reader of the series I am now a little jaded by all the repetitive shenanigans. Whichever way it is, I don't want to spoil the memories that I currently associate with the earlier books.
Perhaps if I knew there was an end in sight for the series it would make it easier to go back to the beginning with a less pessimistic attitude, but as far as I can see the plan is for this series to keep going and going. All good books have a beginning, a middle and the ending. Perhaps the issue with this series in particular (but there are some other series where the same can be said to be true) is that the middle has been going for so long now that it is sagging badly, and the fight to get to the end is just going to be too uphill to make it.
What about you? Do you find yourself getting sucked into the series vortex where you just can't quite let go?
The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty, A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare and listening to A Taste for It by Monica McInerney.
Taking chances by Deborah Burrows, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion