How do you remember what happened in a series? Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your mind in shape while waiting for the next installment of a book you’ve just loved? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa – A perfect example of my series amnesia!)
All too often, I read series and then promptly forget what happens. A year later, a new book comes out and then I have to decide whether to pick it up totally blind, or sit down and re-read the first. This can be dangerous, because;
a) Re-reading takes time, you guys. You could be reading something new rather than something you’ve already reviewed on the blog.
b) The book might not be as good as you remember it (see my re-read of Cinder, for example)
c) If book #3 is coming out ANOTHER YEAR later, you risk having to do it all again.
Book nerd problems, I tell you.
It’s true that some books ‘re-cap’ what happens, and sometimes that can be a good enough reminder if you still remember the broader plot, but what I find is that my feel and attachment to the characters is gone. That’s a lot of what makes or breaks a book for me, so most of the time I don’t want to read BOOK TWO unless I’m carrying that feeling I had at the end of BOOK ONE. I want to get the best experience out of my read and I don’t feel like I’m giving it 100% unless I re-read. It’s a vicious cycle.
Though, sometimes books are too good to forget. I’ll think about it all YEAR, just waiting to dive back into the next instalment as soon as it hits shelves. It was like that for me with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved that series so much that I constantly thought about the characters I loved, the relationships I ‘shipped and the world of Mercy Falls. There was no way I was forgetting it!
Minor characters and plot arcs often get forgotten. Remember that character that was briefly mentioned in BOOK ONE and did something mildly suspicous? Nope. Neither do I. When the heroine starts talking about him/her and his/her bad deeds of the past, I’m totally lost. There’s nothing worse than being disorientated while reading. You just want to scream at the author to THROW YOU A HINT, but quite often they don’t. For the first half of the book you find yourself stumbling around, trying to dust off your memory in time for the big showdown at the end.
If the book has a movie or tv series, certain actor’s faces are embedded in my memory, and it helps me remember what happened. This is another reason I love adaptations. It really hammers the plots and characters into my brain. But, it can be a double-edged sword, too. Did it happen in the book, or is what I’m remembering from the altered tv show or film? Ack!
So what do you do?
Recaptains – it has saved many a series for me
Recaptains: I had no idea this gem of a blog existed until author Maggie Stiefvater did a guest post re-capping her Raven Boys release. Ever since then, I’ve had this baby bookmarked. Recaptains gives you the rundown of the basics, ‘what went down’ and the ending of numerous YA titles. Seriously, check this one out before you sit down for a re-read. It may be enough to jog your memory.
Write your review so that you re-cap what you need to know: I used to do this, but gave this method away in light of writing more thought-orientated reviews. I didn’t like re-capping the plot, which ruined the review-writing process for me. But it could work for you.
Keep a notebook: This may be a little tough to manage, but possible if you’re desperate enough. Dedicate a notebook to jotting down the characters, discoveries, important plot points and developments. When the time comes to read book two, you’ll have something to go on.
Watch the movie/series: This one is great if the series you’ve read has a film franchise or tv deal. It’ll be enough of a refresher course to get you going on with book two.