It used to be different. When I was a kid, there was a new Nancy Drew every few months. You had to wait but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was anticipatory and exciting.
And then there was Harry Potter. I am proudly old enough to not only remember the first book coming out but having to wait for the second book (and the third, and so on). The hype, the fun, and the fanfare just increased with each book! It was a joyful thing to read one, read it again, and then wait for the next book. Harry Potter pre-dates the massive use of social media and one-click access to our favorite authors and waiting was still fairly normal. But as we moved from book one, published in 1997, to book seven, published in 2007, use of the internet and social media changed dramatically. Not to mention the binge watching brought to you by streaming video services.
The first time I felt a shift in attitudes was with Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. This book was recommended to me by a friend somewhere around 2012. That meant I was able to zip through both book one in The Kingkiller Chronicle and book two, The Wise Man’s Fear. Then, I knew I would have to wait because the friend had warned me that the series was unfinished. Which is fine by me but apparently untenable to others. Just take a quick peek at the Goodread’s comments for book three. Some of them are hilarious, some are from the author himself, and some are just absolutely ludicrous. The main theme is: you owe us this book. And, man, people have absolutely no problem telling this guy that he is not supposed to go anywhere, write anything, or have any thoughts that are not focused on finishing the third book.
The sentiment is tempting though, isn’t it? I know I have made at least one off-handed comment along the lines of, “please write faster dear author.” In fact, just last week I accidentally fell deeply in love with the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer. I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely and immediately headed to my local bookstore for A Heart so Fierce and Broken. One hand closed the cover to the second book as the other hand reached for my phone to find out when the third book was going to be available. Some sources say 2021, others say later. And, you know, I was disappointed. I wanted it now. Which is just ridiculous.
In this day and age of on-demand full access, readers like me often extoll the virtue of books as being one of the last places you can find quiet. In fact, one of my favorite quotes about reading is,
“Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes a place for that.” – John Green
I love that idea. The practice of reading. Of sinking into a favorite chair and becoming immersed in a story or another world. Finding that quiet.
I see a return to the emphasis of patience and anticipation in shows that debut weekly like The Mandalorian or the new Dr. Who series or (my personal favorite Schitt’s Creek). I have friends who are waiting for all the episodes to become available so they can binge watch them but I have re-arranged my schedule so that I can watch them one at a time as they become available.
The waiting is part of the fun. There are loads of other books to keep me company while I wait. Patiently and quietly.
Tell me, please!
How do you feel about reading unfinished series books?