when to read that book

There’s this debate/ongoing question that keeps cropping up over on Twitter, about when one should buy and read a new book. There are lots of readers who don’t want to read a series until it’s done (fear of it never being finished is a big reason why, there), and often people say they’ll wait for a whole series to come out before buying and reading them.

The problem with that approach is publishing is a business, and if a reader waits to buy the first (second, third, etc) book in a series until the series is all published, there’s an increasingly good chance that the series will never *be* finished. Not because the author dies (which is really the perennial fear), but because the publisher will cut their losses and stop publishing that series because nobody is buying it.

My solution–and this is genuinely *my* solution, it’s what I actually do–is to buy the books as they come out and not read them until the series is done. They just get added to the To Be Read pile, but come on, who are we kidding: the TBR pile is already outrageous and adding a few more books to it doesn’t hurt anything.

I don’t wait to read series until they’re done because I’m afraid the author will die, mind you. I do it because I personally find it exceptionally hard to read new books in my genre (fantasy, generally speaking) while I’m writing, and it often takes me so very long to work my way through a series (or it takes the author so very long) that I really barely remember what happened in the last book when a new one comes out, and I don’t usually have the time/focus to re-read. So I circumvent that by buying the books as they come out and reading them all in a go when the series is done.

This is why I’m almost always reading books that were published 5 or 7 years ago instead of something that just came out. There are exceptions. I *mostly* keep up on Michelle Sagara’s Cast books, and I’ve been known to immediately read whatever Ursula Vernon has written most recently, because I know Ursula’s books will fall directly into the “comfort reads” space in my brain, but mostly I read stuff YEARS after publication.

Furthermore, there are writers whose work just makes me fall into a pit of despair, and I generally buy their books and then try to avoid reading them until I realize I’m in a solid Not Writing Phase (which, frustratingly, I am right now because of post-moving…life stuff, basically). This is why I haven’t read Guy Gavriel Kay’s RIVER OF STARS, and also why I realized this morning that I’d better hurry up and read it before I absolutely have to get on the ball writing again, so I can both wallow in it and get past the three or four days of moaning about my comparative utter incompetence as a writer before I start new words of my own. :)

I have to go play a game of chess with an 8 year old now, so I guess that’s all I’ve got to say. :)