& Fridays: On Reading a Series #2: The Waiting Game

It’s a satisfying feeling: you finish a book – whether it’s one everyone has been talking about, or one a friend eagerly pressed into your hands, or just one with a pretty cover that you pulled off the shelf – and you LOVED it. You just know you’ll be thinking about the characters for weeks, and you cannot wait to see where things go next. You Google the series. You pull it up on Goodreads, eagerly clicking through the author’s profile only to see….you have a year to wait. Or worse: there isn’t even a date set!

And then you curl up into a ball and sob, because you loved it and now you have a book hangover and HOW ON EARTH WILL YOU BE ABLE TO READ ANYTHING ELSE? NOTHING CAN COMPARE!

Even if you don’t descend into that extreme of a despair spiral, your heart at least falls a little. For me, it’s not so much the waiting (well, sometimes it is…but there are so many other books to read!), but the realization that in a year, I will not remember all of the wonderful characters and details that made me like the first book. Even books I adore, I feel the need to re-read before I go out and get the second book. And when you get to the fourth book, the fifth book…with a year in between each release…that’s a lot of re-reading.

But I already did a post on re-reading for a series. How do you deal with the waiting game between sequels? Do you re-read the first one every few months to remind yourself of the book world you loved? Do you stalk fanfiction, fan art, ANYTHING to do with the book? Do you mildly stalk the author on social media?

And at some point, do you just get annoyed? I greatly respect the authors who can churn out a sequel to a book in a year. But sometimes the year turns into two…or three…or seven…and you start to go “WHERE’S MY SEQUEL?” and you start to run amok, terrorizing cities and breathing fire.

No? That’s just me when I’m hangry? Okay…

But let’s be honest – it sucks to wait a long time for something you really, really, really, really, really want. And you see the author blogging and you see a picture of them with their family and you go “WHY AREN’T YOU WRITING?!”

Well. Neil Gaiman wrote an apt blog entry on that very feeling. Titled “Entitlement Issues,” it boils down to this distinct though: “George R.R. Martin,” (or insert your beloved author here) “is not your bitch.”

Essentially, he writes that writers are *gasp* human, that they run into deadline issues and have to, you know, live their life. And despite the fact that they want to sell books to readers, they do not work for you individually. There’s no contract when you buy a book that the author now works for you, and must submit quality work to your liking by a certain time. You can find the article here:

http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

It’s a valid point, but not something everyone understands or even accepts. I’ve had my own share of exasperated sighing when I check for a book’s due date and see that there isn’t one yet. It’s frustrating, especially when the things you’ve been reading recently don’t hold up to the standard of that story/character/world. But hey: do you want to read half-hearted crap from your beloved author, or a well-crafted, well though over book that you love more than the first?

The latter, I think. It’s just hard to play the waiting game.

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