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Topic: 2012 Series Challenge

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Subject: 2012 Series Challenge
Date Posted: 12/8/2011 12:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Let’s use this thread to challenge ourselves to organize our series lists and books, and to get caught up (or at least make progress on) our favorite series. We could also do a read-along or anything else that we want—including giving ourselves permission to stop reading a series that we’re no longer enjoying (even though we DID order all the books before starting the first one…)

I really need this thread to start now, even though it’s not 2012 yet.  I’m just a couple of chapters away from finishing my very last challenge book for 2011, so I started thinking about finding books from my TBR for the new challenges.  The problem is that I haven’t  updated my Fictfact entries since spring, so I don’t even know which books are next in each series—plus, I have acquired a ton of new series books which are sitting in random order in boxes!  Until I get myself organized I don’t even know what I have.

So I guess my own personal first challenge is to pull out my 3 boxes (yes, 3 boxes!) of series books, put them in alpha order, add them to the series books on my bookshelves (which will involve massive rearranging /purging since the series shelves are FULL at the moment).  Then, I will have to update my “read” series books at Fictfact (using my notebook of books read this year) and finally, add my new series books at Fictfact.  Only then will I be able to choose my 2012 challenge books.

So, is anyone else as unorganized as I am right now with their series records?  Want to join me in getting organized?  If you’re already organized, what tips do you have to keep records updated regularly?  Do you use an online list (where?) or paper copies?  And how many series are you in the middle of??

Diane

 

 

Date Posted: 12/8/2011 7:14 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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I would not say I'm disorganized about my series...just that the list of those I'm in the midst of is pretty long. (About 150 across all genres, I think...I haven't checked lately.) I have a Word document with my list of active series divided by genre--I also read quite a lot of fantasy, paranormal, HF, etc--with the 'next' book for me to read with a couple books after that showing on the list--as I read a book, I delete that book and add another title to the end of the list. I indicate whether I have the books listed in my possession, if I have them WL at PBS or on library list, etc. I do have a paper copy that I work from, and update and reprint it a couple times a year, adding in new series and deleting ones I've decided not to continue. At the end of the list I have a list of those series I'm caught up with and waiting for the next release, and another list of books already in my possession that are first-in-series books I am waiting to try.

I also use FictFact, but not frequently...I am not crazy about it because it doesn't really let you indicate you have read certain books in a series but gave up on it--basically any series you have on your list you are "following" and get updates on it, even though you haven't cared about that series for years. So my list there is quite incomplete as far as actually keeping track.

I am not someone who can acquire a whole series and read them one after another--regardless of how much I love a series, that would make me bored with them. I usually have just one book ahead in my possession, occasionally two or three if I've had some of them wishlisted and they became available. I typically will read a series in fits and starts depending on how much I like it and how easy it is to get my hands on the books. Typically, in a long series, I might go through 3-5 books a year for a series I really like--a couple of notable exceptions are that I totally caught up with Deborah Crombie's Kincaid/James series and Margaret Maron's Judge Knott series within about 18 months, and am almost as quick with catching up on Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti series.

This past year, along with paring down my TBR and taking a hard look at my lists, I probably deleted about 30 series or maybe more off my active list and re-listed what books I had acquired in those series here at PBS--books that I read one or two of some time ago--a year, or two or three--but never saw fit to get back to. Last year I made myself hold off starting a new series until I finished another (or got caught up to current book) and that worked like a charm too. That's the biggest detriment (for me anyway) to finishing off series--all the great new authors/series mentioned here make you want to go out and try new-to-you stuff...and then you get hooked on the new stuff so the things you're already in the middle of get left by the wayside.  Of course, the down side to being caught up with all your favorite series is then having to wait for the newest release and being more prone to spending money on them if they aren't readily available at the library or here.

I think it will be great to have this thread where we can discuss tips, techniques, and just natter away about our series, post when we polish one off or get caught up, etc. I am not much for monthly group read-along book discussions per se, as it means I 'have to' read something at a certain time, and even if I like a series, if I am pressured to do something when I don't want to...well, I just put on my rebel cap and won't do it. LOL Anyway, this is a great idea, Diane...your fellow series addicts thank you. :)

Cheryl

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 12/8/2011 7:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,685
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Nice idea Diane. My problem with series is keep starting new ones. I use Fict Fact too. The nice thing they tell you when a new book is coming out in a series.

One thing I have stopped doing is buying the whole series at once. I have found many series aren't worth reading after book 4-5. I don't want to be stuck with 12 books that I will never read.  Don't evan ask me why I keep buying Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

Alice

Date Posted: 12/8/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Yes, Alice, I'm done the same with series and collected them before realizing I should stop reading it.  This is part of my problem now--I have SO many series started, yet, I want to start several of the new ones so I know if I like them or not, so I can start moving up the WL for the 2nd or 3rd book--but there are so many old series to read...

Cheryl, you sound SO organized--I was actually a little more up-to-date with my records when I had a file full of paper records from SYKM on my desk--it seemed easier to pull the piece of paper out and cross off a book than go to the Fictfact website.  But, I really like Fictfact, especially seeing a list of all of my NEXT books at one time.  Of course, they're not really my next books if I don't keep it updated, which is what I have to try to do.  I don't use Fictfact to keep track of how many books I've read, so I don't mind if I have to delete a series that I'm not going to keep reading.  The 2 things I love about Fictfact is the series in order (and being able to say if they're read, owned, etc.) and the list of next books.

I started looking at my bookshelves today to see what books I can admit that I won't get to, so far I did find a few--I had several Aunt Dimity books, and while the idea is cute, I read a couple of them and have a feeling that there won't be much new in the future.  I kept the Christmas one thinking maybe I'll read it this year but I'm getting rid of the others.  I'm also getting rid of my Hamish Macbeth books, same thing--I absolutely love the character and the town, but having read several of them, I pretty much don't need to keep reading.

I do have a question--has anyone read any Boris Akunen?  I have the first in each of his two series, and was wondering if anyone is familiar with them and knows if they are similar?  Is one better than the other?

Diane

 

 

Date Posted: 12/8/2011 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I am in the midst of 100 +/- series but I don't collect more than one or two in advance so I don't really have a problem with organization.  I read and mail them off or return them to the library.  It would be fun to find a few series that we all have in common or want to begin and then just move along with them. 

I mostly use FictFact and SYKM to keep track.  I probably use  SYKM more because it allows me to see all the books in the series in one place without a lot of clutter and I just figure out which one I need to read next.  I'm not as concerned with having a place to actually list the books I've read but I do use FictFact as well.  Probably not too helpful, right?

Date Posted: 12/8/2011 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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Diane, I have read the first two of the Erast Fandorin and one of the Sister Pelagia books...the first Fandorin book was quite good, and I was really disappointed by the second one and never continued. The Sister Pelagia book didn't impress me at all and I quickly ditched it. Who knows if it was the translations or just the stories themselves.

Cheryl

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 12/8/2011 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I use my TBR to keep my series organized.  Also check the number in Fantastic Fiction and a couple other sites.  Since joining PBS I don't order a bunch of books in a series when I haven't read book one.  I was like Cheryl.  Ordered and enjoyed book one of a series and was a DNF on book two!  Thankfully that's as far as I went in ordering.  I actually started a six book series and never had more than one in the house at a time.  When I was at the halfway point I'd order the next.  Lkae Cheryl I can't read one after another.  I can read them close together but rarely one after another.

Date Posted: 12/9/2011 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Geri, when you say you use your TBR do you mean you just look alphabetically for the author to see what books you still have to read in a series?  Do you put tags for the order of the series so you know which book is next?

I don't like to read series books one after another either, but I need to find a happy medium between that and having so many series started that so much time goes by in between the books that I forget the characters.   I was trying to list my series on Fictfact roughly in order of how much I liked them, at least for the top 30 or 40.  So I'm thinking about doing this: have my list of top 5 or so series.  Then, have my list of the next 20, and concentrate on finished those series.  I wouldn't include my top 5 because I don't WANT to finish them--I want to space them out a little more.  The other thing I could do is concentrate on series that only have a few books in them, that way I could catch them up and feel like I accomplished something!  I just feel like I have to have some kind of plan because the way I decide which series to read next is completely random.

I just finished updating Fictfact with the series books I've read this year, but in doing so there were 6 series authors that I had never even put in there, so that adds 6 more series to my totals.

Cheryl, the Sister Palagia book didn't appeal to me so much so I think I'll just let that one go, I will keep the other to try some time but not now.

Diane

Date Posted: 12/9/2011 5:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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Diane-great idea for a thread!

I use fictfact for following my series, and I'm fairly religious about marking books as "read" once I've read them.  Just did a quick glance there and I have 128 total series listed.  I don't add a series there unless I have at least one book from teh series in my TBR pile (either paper book, audio book, e-book or know that it's available from the library in e-format).  Of those 128 series, 23 are "completed" and 41 are "not started".  I don't have my series in any special order, but do drag books around on my "Next Books" list frequently.  I always put the ones I'm currently reading at the top of the list.  I move the ones that I think I might be interested in closer to the top, but don't have any special order to them.

I also can't read multiple books in the same series in order.  Even with my favorites, I need breaks between them.

One thing I was doing was marking all the ones that I actually own/have access to as "to be read" on fictfact.  That way, when  I'm in a bookstore, I could log into fictfact on my droid and make sure that I don't purchase a book that I already own.  But, I haven't been a little lax in this, so I should really spend time updating this.

Regarding the number of books I actually have in a series--it really depends.  If I know the books in the series are readily available here I don't worry about acquiring the next one in the series.  But for series with books that seem to be posted infrequently, I'll try and order ahead--especially if it's an author that I know I really like.

Date Posted: 12/10/2011 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
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I keep up with my series with a combination of fictfact and Excel spreadsheets. I now have 101 series listed on fictfact, 25 of those being series that I keep up with for my mom. So...I follow 76 series for myself, 8 of those I have finished or am current on, 4 I have the first book in the series but have not yet started.

In 2004 I started keeping a spreadsheet to help keep me from buying books I had already read. At that time I listed as many books from the past few years as I could remember. I think I have recorded most of what I have read in the past 15 or so years. One sheet of my 'workbook' lists, in alphabetical order by author, all books read. Sheet 2 is for books I own but have not read, also in alphabetical order by author. With series books I list what number the book falls in the series. Sheet three, which I hardly use anymore, is a list of books I would like to read but do not own. This third sheet was getting way out of hand so I mostly keep track of those through my WL and RL here. I also keep a different spreadsheet for books read in a year. I list author, title, number of pages and date finished. This is my favorite list because it allows me to see at a glance how my reading tastes have changed in the past 8 years.

I no longer acquire more than one or two books ahead in any one series unless they are hard to come by or I run across a good deal on multiples. I just don't have room to store them all plus the books I have posted here. And, I've found that once I acquire a book I have a difficult time letting it go without reading it. I do find, as someone else pointed out, that with so many series to follow it takes longer and longer to get back to some of them in a timely manner. However, I think I'm in pretty good shape as compared to some of you. LOL. I probably have less than 100 books on my TBR that I actually still want to read and less than 50 on my WL when you deduct the books I have on there for my son and my mom. I'm way too OCD to deal with any more than that. 

I do recommend keeping a spreadsheet or some type of similar list though. That has really been a life saver for me. The best part is, you can design it to suit your needs.



Last Edited on: 12/10/11 12:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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LEEANNE!!!! Over a 100 different series? WOW! lol. I have read a lot of books from series and not gone on to the other books in that series, but i think i would be terribly overwelmed to have 75 or 100 different series i was trying to keep up with.

I have made the mistake in the past of buying every book in a series both before i have read book one and after reading book one and loving it. My TBR piles in my house were filled with books from series that i started and didnt finish, and about 50 books from series that i hadnt even begun to read yet. I purged most of them out this year with out reading them. I figure if i get to the books then i will order them one at a time, since most of them were on my shelves for a long time. At the moment i have about 6  complete series on my shelves (with me needing to read over half of hte books there) and about a dozen books that are book one of a series i would like to try. I am trying to fill the challenge with the next book in series i want to read.

What are some of the series you are reading?

I do agree with LeeAnne that I think it would be neat for all of us to start a brand new series together (that is if we can find a series non of us have read before).

 



Last Edited on: 12/14/11 3:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2005
Posts: 5,495
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I keep all my TRB on bookshelves or in boxes by author and in order. That way I know where I am on any particular series. I also keep track of my books on Goodreads which makes it easy to see what I've read and need to read. No idea how many series I've got going or have read.

I agree with others here that I've made the mistake of getting every book in a series and then didn't like it. That happens a lot with paranormal books and I've stopped doing that, too. Too many I've given up on after half a book or a book or two.

I am a strange individual, I guess, in that I don't need to read books in order. If I'm at a store or library and see a book that catches my eye, I get it. If it's second or third in a series, so what, I just go back and catch up. I've found lots of new series that way, particulary since I got my Kindle and started reading so many indie authors I never heard of. I generally only read two or three at a time in any particular series as I, too, become bored. However, there are some series I'm so far behind on that I've forgotten what's going on in the storyline.

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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Mary, My mom is like that. She reads books as she gets them and doesnt really care if they are in order. Me, my OCD kicks in and I need to know what happened in teh order it happened, lol. My mom really likes this series by Christopher Fowler and I have been getting the books as they come available on PBS, then sending them to her. I finally just got Book 1, so she has read most of the series but never read the first one. That would drive me nuts, lol.

Date Posted: 12/17/2011 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Many of you sound very organized and like you have systems that work well.  Maybe I feel so scattered because there are so many series I'm following and I have so many books.  I went through just 1 box of recently acquired series books and it took a long time--and I found more series I wanted to add.  At some point I'm going to just have to say I can't handle any more...but they all sound so good!

I've started choosing a few more challenge books, later in the week I'll start listing them.  I'd like to go through the other 2 boxes of newer series books though to see if anything jumps out at me as obvious challenge choices.  I did order a few PBS books for categories I didn't think I'd have (not just for the mystery challenge) but I'm also planning on getting some of the books from the library.

Laura, I also was marking books on Fictfact "to be read" if I had the book--I think they have now added an option to say you own the book, but TBR works just as well. 

Mary, the only time I've read series books out of order was when I picked up an interesting book, started it, and didn't know it was part of a series.  I must read in order!!  Oh, and I love your avatar.  If I owned a car, that little gecko would easily talk me into buying Geico insurance!

Diane