To binge read or not to binge read?

Recently I’ve seen a lot of people talking about binge-reading a book series.

I’m no stranger to the binge. I binge-watched Vikings, Spartacus, Stranger Things, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones & (secretly, over the top of a book) Glee.

I’ve watched the extended edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back (11.4 hours). I’ve had my share of nights out I can’t remember. I’ve gone on spending sprees I couldn’t afford, and I’ve waddled out of restaurants after overindulging and fell to sleep in a chair when I got home. The binge is real.

But I’ve never binged a book series.

Why?

Partly because I feel like I have such a huge list of highly recommended books to catch up on, I feel like I want to sample a bit of everything, so jump from one series to the next. Often, especially as I’m easily distracted, once I’ve finished one book I’ll have the urge to try something new – even when I’ve adored the book I’ve just finished. For example; if I’ve just finished a fantasy book, maybe I’ll be in the mood for sci-fi. If I’ve just finished a bit of a brutal book, I’ll usually fancy something a bit lighter. If I read a bit of everything, it gives me the allusion that I’m more on top of my TBR than I actually am, and can at least talk a little with other people about different book series too.

So why are you talking about binge-reading?

Because I think I’m gonna do it!

But why? You just gave reasons NOT to do it…

Because. Is an epic fantasy series as epic if you take a few breaks? I want that all encompassing feeling of being really involved in an overwhelmingly immersive experience; an adventure, a journey. I want to read on while I’m still attached to the characters rather than coming back weeks or months later and having to fall for them again, or remind myself what it was I liked about them. My reviews help tremendously in giving me a recap on this though, and for incomplete series it can’t be helped anyway. It’s not a major inconvenience.

I guess there’s always the danger of getting bored of the characters or a little fatigued if it’s a series you need to concentrate hard on (I’m not sure Malazan is the best series to binge based on what I hear?)

With a completed series though, when you just read one book and move on for a time, there is a feeling of something left unfinished hanging above you in that respect. I’m sure as a reader you’ll have felt that warm, satisfying feeling of having read something really good that spoke to you or made you feel something or was simply just exciting or imaginative. It’s a buzz in a way. I feel like finishing or getting towards finishing a series of books will give that same feeling of achievement, immersion and fulfillment that perhaps can’t be quite achieved when reading something without finishing.


Is it still binge reading if you read 1 a month or do they need to be read one after the other? How many books is a binge read? What’s the last series you binged? Let me know!

25 thoughts on “To binge read or not to binge read?

  1. There’s another reason: I‘ve started an endless number of series but didn’t continue ever because… I forget to over all the other shiny stuff.
    While your list is great and all, I‘d hardly speak of binging a trilogy – I feel that‘s reserved more for a series, but that’s just wording.
    So here’s one that you missed: The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.

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      1. That’s true, not every volume in that long series is equally good. And it would take you a really long time and dedication to reach the end!
        Broken Earth is certainly great. But here’s another one:
        Earthsea by Le Guin. Or her Hainish novels – which aren’t really a series but coupled by set in the same universe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t think I could binge read, given that I don’t have a huge amount of time for reading and I’m probably about average in terms of reading speed.

        Plus, like you, I like jumping around and sampling lots of different things. The Broken Earth series has been mentioned a couple of times in the comments and I absolutely loved the first book (it’s probably one of my all-time favourites) and yet I still haven’t gotten around the second book and it’s about two years since I read the first…

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    1. Plus, Erikson made the conscious choice to explain *nothing*. There is minimal exposition to such an extent it can actually be detrimental to a new reader of the series.

      Pushing through that certainly took some work and ultimately, in my opinion, was worth it. But certainly understand it isn’t the easiest series to get into!

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  2. This is usually how I read. Well, living life means sometimes it’s only a few chapters a day, but *when I have more than one book in the series* I tend to read them back to back (or even concurrently, as I will sometimes read stories from the back forwards or haphazardly).

    The most recent series I did this on?

    Umm, probably that is Children of the Nexus by S. Kaeth (Between Starfalls and Let Loose the Fallen). I loved those so much I really could not wait any longer than absolutely necessary to get back into them when I had to do something else!

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  3. Putting the question of timeframe to the side (I tend to read slowly when it’s purely for enjoyment), binge reading is by far my preferred method of consuming a series.

    Straight through, start to finish — give me everything! Yes, even the Malazan series. Although it took me over a year to do it, to bring back the timing. 😉

    In fact, I often take it a step further from binge reading a single series and broaden it out to binging on a particular author that I’ve just discovered. Woe be any other book on my TBR pile when I discover a new (to me) author with a back catalog that I decide I quite fancy.

    There have certainly been times when I’ve made exceptions and stepped out on my current series — particularly when the latest book of an already favourite series comes out — but even then I’ll typically at least *try* to hold on and finish what I’ve started first.

    It’s just how I most enjoy reading. Although it probably doesn’t help my inclination to move to the alternative when I *know* if I put a book in a series down for a month or two (let alone more) and then come back to it, I’ll have forgotten all but the broadest strokes of what had happened previously. xD

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    1. That’s really interesting – I’m probably the complete opposite most of the time. Im perhaps what you might call a sampler – trying different authors and different series and moving around, getting different experiences. But I want to join your world and try reading a big series without anything else as I think that’s probably a really satisfying way to do it

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      1. Do you think it has anything to do with being a book blogger and wanting to keep the coverage diverse?

        Or has this always been your preference even before taking up the mantle of this particular hobby?

        On reflection though, I do have friends and colleagues who prefer the ‘sampling’ approach you describe without any such ties so it could just be that we’re wired differently. 🙂

        So I will certainly be curious to hear your thoughts after experimenting with this!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Before I was a blogger I did actually read a series before moving on so I definitely think part of it is that most people don’t care about a review of book 2 or 3 – they know if they enjoy book 1 they’ll probably give 2 a go. People want new books and new series to try and I think that plays its part into what I choose to read.

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  4. I used to binge-read almost everything, but I stopped eventually for several reasons:
    1 – life got too busy and stressful to read consistently
    2 – It affected my mood negatively (I would get so caught up in a story that I became irritated when I had to do anything else but read and had difficulty thinking about anything else even when I wasn’t reading)
    3 – it was hard to keep up with responsibilities when I was in the midst of a binge (due to point #2)

    I’m not sure I love not binge reading though. Once I stop reading a series it’s really hard for me to pick it up again. It’s like my ability to read consistently relies on momentum, but that momentum also isn’t very good for me. So tricky!

    Recently I’ve found that reading romance when school is taking up most of my attention and between heavy SFF books/series helps a lot. It keep me reading consistently and prevents binge reading when I need to keep myself grounded in reality. (:

    I’d like to add that I don’t mean to scare you away from binge reading. These are my own issues that come with other things I struggle with. Based on my experience I recommend taking some time to process between books (I still think it’s binge reading as long as you’re not completely shifting you focus to another book/piece of media before you continue the series).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely see where you’re coming from and feel like I’d be the same! Sorta why I’ve never really done it. But then I do want to get really immersed into something rather than being kinda unattached to it.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love to binge read a series when the final book is published. Then I can read through the whole lot and get the complete story. I binge read a lot of my completed series in lockdown as there wasn’t really much else to do. The last series that I’ve binge read recently was Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness trilogy which was brilliant. My next planned binge is the Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee as I’ve just bought Jade Legacy.

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