So I was thinking about this while I was browsing books on Amazon to see which will be my next read after I finish “The Kitchen House”. I was struck by the number of authors that seemingly spit out books one after another with the same main character for years and years. I generally find that if I see under a novel’s title: a Jack Reacher, or Dirk Pitt, or Sookie Stackhouse novel; or any number of other long running series, I tend to pass it by.
I’ve actually read a couple of the “Jack Reacher” novels by Lee Child, and they weren’t bad reads really, but knowing how many of them there are, and how each one is going to be Reacher getting into a bad situation and having to use his considerable skills to get out of it, I had/have no real desire to read anymore of them.
I guess it’s similar to watching a serialized drama on television, but there’s a difference between watching 1 hour blocks of a season that generally has a resolution of some sort at the end of it, and spending hours reading a Jack Reacher book, knowing that in 6 months a new one will be out that won’t be dramatically different.
By the way, I don’t mean to pick on Lee Child or Jack Reacher novels here, they are honestly one of the few long running series of which I have read a couple of, and I have friends that enjoy the series, so I tend to come back to them.
I actually do really enjoy trilogies. If I’m loving a book I want it to go on as long as possible, so two more books is awesome, and I even like longer series like George RR Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series. I just prefer a trilogy or series to continue the same narrative, to simply have a story that the author wanted to tell that couldn’t be put down all in one book, as opposed to my suspicions of authors just spitting out one boilerplate book after another until they decide they have enough money or people get tired of the character and stop buying them.
I guess I’m being a bit harsh on the Lee Childs and Clive Cusslers of the world, and I don’t mean to be. And to be honest I’ve not read a lot of or any of the works in most of these series, so maybe I’m underestimating their complexity and quality. I don’t know.
To conclude, the one thing that I will say is that I love people that read and people that write, so if you like either of those things, you’re cool in my book, whether you’re reading/writing pulp romance or the “great modern novel”. So keep doing what you like to do and I’ll keep doing what I like to do, and we’ll both get something out of reading/writing that people that don’t do either just can’t understand.
And if you happen to like some of these series and think I’m giving them short shrift, feel free to let me know. I’m always open to people that don’t agree with me and willing to be swayed by a good argument…and will admit when I’m wrong.