Is Anyone an Advocate for Out of Order Reading?

I had many bookish friends in college. Working at a library does have its perks. I remember having a conversation with one library friend who insisted that I needed to read a series out of order. I’m sitting here wracking my brain and I just can’t remember what the series was. It was a mystery series…if that helps 🙂 .

So I did some research and I found out that a healthy number of people have never read a series out of order. However, there are quite a few people who enjoy reading books out of order on a regular basis. I don’t just mean reading stand alone books by the same author out of publication order. I think everyone has done that at some point. Think about the last book in your favorite series. Some people would read that book first. I know what you’re thinking -What?! No they wouldn’t! (If you’re not thinking that, please contact me. I want to pick your brain.)

After all this time, I still don’t understand why someone would enjoy reading a series out of order. Here are some of the common reasons that I found. Has anyone ever used any of these reasons before?

1. The first book(s) in the series aren’t as interesting as the later ones. This is the reason my friend gave for reading her mystery series out of order. She said that the first two books were kind of dry, but, apparently, the books got more interesting as the series continued. I have a big problem with this train of thought. If the first two books in the series aren’t good, I’m not going to keep reading the series. I can’t understand a series getting better, but the first few books can’t be bad enough that I want to skip them. How is this even a thing?

2. There is a series, but it’s not necessary to read them in order. I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about standalone books, but sometimes there’s a fine line between “stand alone” and “episode series.” I’m currently reading the third book in one of my favorite series just because. I like the fact that all of the books in the series belong to the same world and the same timeline, but each one finishes a different story. However, I would not have picked up the third book if I hadn’t have already read through the series in order, and loved it, first!

3. It’s a liberating feeling. Some people actually claim that they love the “liberating feeling” they get from deciding in what order they read a book series. I’m not saying that someone can’t feel that way. I’m just saying that I don’t get it. I’ve never read a new series out of order. I panic any time I accidentally check out or buy a book that isn’t the first in a series. Please, somebody explain this liberating feeling to me.

4. I felt like these two go hand in hand: The later books are so well-developed that you don’t need boring backstory information AND reading the first book in a series later will provide fun and interesting “flashbacks.” All I find myself thinking is that the author didn’t intend for the backstory to be read as flashbacks. I know that some authors have a habit of including too much backstory early on in a book or series, but I don’t see this as validation to read their books out of order.

5. I can’t get the first book(s). Sometimes it just comes down to the fact that you accidentally buy a book without knowing that it’s part of a series or you can’t get onto your local library’s waiting list for the first book. Every reader has to decide what what they’re going to do in these circumstances. I’ve never been able to willingly choose to read a series out of order. Would you?

Let me know what you think in the comments section or on Facebook. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!




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