Merriam-Webster defines obsession as:
– a state in which someone thinks about someone or something constantly or frequently especially in a way that is not normal
– someone or something that a person thinks about constantly or frequently
– an activity that someone is very interested in or spends a lot of time doing
When it comes to reading books in a series I have to admit that all three versions of the definition apply. And I’m wondering if I’m not alone when it comes to being series obsessed.
Way back when, before I became a book blogger – yes it was ye olden days it was that long ago – I was obsessed with reading series in their entirety. I’d dive into the first book in the series and wouldn’t come up for air until I finished the last.
I’d often become so enchanted with a series that I would stay up all night, I wouldn’t leave the house, I wouldn’t remember to eat, I’d barely be able to tear my eyes away to do other important things like spend time with family, work… live. I’d get so caught up in being in the world the author created in their series that I would replace my reality for the alternate – often alien – one being built in my imagination.
And I’d become so very angry when I had to break away, when the world I’d fashioned around me, filled with characters more interesting than those in my real life, places that I know I could never visit – be they real or imagined – in my lifetime, would be torn away from me because of some responsibility I had.
As twisted as that sounds, I’ve missed that. Terribly.
Since becoming a book blogger it’s all about reading for review, reading the latest and greatest, finding books to read that haven’t yet been released and talking about those books. Discoveries are all about books that have yet to hit shelves, an author’s writing yet to be experienced.
It’s rarely about discovering a gem that has existed, been cherished and loved, been buzzed about for years. It’s about looking forward, not looking back. Because it’s those untested works that need to be promoted, need an audience, need to get their feet off the ground.
It’s about reading just one book at a time, within close proximity to its release. It’s about anticipating the wait for the next book in the series, not devouring a series in its entirety all at once.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the early reads. I love to buzz about the latest and greatest, or a book I hope will be the next big thing. But I’ve missed being able to start a series that already has most – if not all – of its books ready for the reading. I’ve missed being able to fall so deeply in love with a series because I can exist in that world for well beyond those three to five hundred pages a single book promises.
I missed being able to immerse myself in worlds like those of the Shadowhunters and connect with its characters on a level I might not have if I had to wait a year between each book’s release.
And while I have been trying to wait, to read a couple of books in a series back-to-back, it’s still not the same as embarking upon a lengthy series, one that offers the promise of hours upon hours of highs and lows, heartbreak and anguish, excitement, thrills and romance.
But the worst part of it all, the thing that breaks my heart a little, is that for a long time I forgot just how much I missed it. How much I’ve missed out on. How many amazing series are out there just waiting to be consumed from start to finish.
I forgot how much I loved my series obsessions, how much joy I got from sitting down with a stack of books that would introduce me to just one world and its characters. A world I could become so familiar with that stepping away from it felt very much like leaving a part of me behind.
For the past three years I’ve drifted further and further away from this series obsessed version of myself. I’ve made fleeting connections with characters. I’ve visited the worlds in these books I’ve been reading for too short a time for them to feel like my worlds.
In reading books for blogging I’ve picked up book after book, almost never going back for a second look, and even less frequently devouring a series without interruption. I haven’t allowed myself the indulgence of this obsession of mine. Because it’s time consuming, it’s all-consuming. It’s a luxury that I imagined would fill me with guilt. It’s a line I wouldn’t allow myself to cross.
I recently gave in to the temptation of discovering a series that I’d been told for the past two years is one that I must read – Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. I thought it would be the perfect distraction at a time when I was too overwhelmed to read review books. I promised myself that I would sit down, make myself read just one book, satisfy my curiosity, stop the “Have you read it yet?” questions, and walk away.
I thought it would be that easy.
I was wrong.
While the first book in that series wasn’t the strongest, most alluring, it offered the promise of something. Enchanting. Exciting. Dark. Dangerous. Sexy. It promised characters that I would want to get to know better. It promised a world that I would want to continue to imagine myself in. It promised fascinating, deadly lore. It teased with secrets. It was beguiling.
And I couldn’t help but pick up the next book to discover those answers, to keep building that world, to remain connected with those characters.
I swore I’d continue my journey for just a few pages. Just a chapter. Just a few more.
When I blinked, night had become early morning and I’d reached the end of that book. I found that stopping at two was just not an option. I needed that peek into the next book. I needed just a little more time to get to know these characters. I needed to find out “if…” and “who…” and “what…”.
I had work. I had blogging. I had responsibilities that kept me from being able to read every waking moment. But as soon as those were done I found myself unable to resist the lure of those books.
I swore that after the third one I would get back to my own story, I’d get ahead on my blog posts, I’d step away. I drew yet another line that I swore I would not cross.
Yet when I reached the end of that story, without a moments hesitation, without a single thought to the contrary, I crossed it. It was as if it wasn’t even there.
You see, obsession is not so very different from addiction. They’re like kissing cousins. Well, they’ve kissed. And because of this it was so easy for me to be able to leave that line I would not cross in the dust.
I’m not even bothering to pretend anymore that when I finish this fourth book in the series I’ll stop before I read the fifth. As much as I have other responsibilities that I have to attend to, reading this series to its conclusion… at least the five books with the current main character… is as necessary to me as breathing.
I am hooked. I am addicted.
I am seriously series obsessed.
And I am so curious if I’m the only one.