Variety is the Spice of Life

Once upon a time I didn’t read literary fiction. I didn’t even know literary fiction was a thing. My drug of choice were romance novels which later turned to romantic suspense then paranormal romance then to urban fantasy. When I was hooked on a specific genre I had a pattern: discover a new author then read EVERY book listed on the bibliography page. Which was fun in the pre-Internet days because sometimes the books would be in a series or trilogy, but the bibliography would be alphabetical so who the hell knew if that book you just got was the first in the set or maybe the last. I can’t tell you how many times I read a book only to get to the next one and find out I should have read it first.

How fast I would go through books back in the day.

These days I find I don’t binge on authors as much. If it’s part of a series and they’re all published I will read them, but to read their entire bibliography back to back? Not so much. Case in point, I read all of Sarah MacLean’s Rules for Scoundrels series, but haven’t dug into her backlist yet. Not because I didn’t like her writing, but because I did. I like having those books to come back to. Same with Octavia Butler. I read Parable of the Sower then immediately snatched up Parable of the Talents, but have yet to read Kindred or the Patternmaster series. I think the only reason I can do it still with a series is because to me a series is one big story broken into chunks. And don’t give me this b.s. about how your book is a standalone but it’s part of a series. Half the time when an author says that, there is so many references to previous books that you need to know about that you can’t enjoy the story. At least in my experience.

Don’t do this. Just tell people to go read the first book(s).

 

I tried to do it with Indu Sundaresan and Chitra Banerjee Divakruni. I loved their books and wanted to read them all, but I found in my old age I have to swap around. Read a little of this and read a little of that, then I can come back to the first author or even type of book. I can’t read a lot of historical fiction in a row these days. If it’s literary fiction I can’t read too many of the same kind, I have to swap the story a bit.

My immediate TBR is a hodgepodge of titles right now. I mentioned a few on the last post. I have everything from satire by Christopher Moore to historical fiction by Eugenia Kim to science fiction by Octavia Butler to a lot of feminist non fiction. I like to see where my mood takes me.

Have you ever binged an author’s backlist back to back? What’s your M.O. to your TBR?

 

One thought on “Variety is the Spice of Life

  1. Anie

    I’ve definitely been bingeing on a lot of Seanan McGuire recently (as my Goodreads attests). I’m very happy to try and read through her entire catalog, but that works because (a) she writes a lot of series and I need to know what happens to Toby next, okay?!?!?, (b) she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and I love rolling around in the books that my favorite authors write, and (c) these books are exactly what I need right now. There’s only a few authors that I do this with, though, and they all go onto my favorite author shelf. I just don’t have the time to read all the back catalogs of every author that I enjoy — I can get through one-to-three books a week, which is not nearly enough for me to read all the wonderful things I want to read.

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