Mar 13 2013 7:14am

Reading Series Out of Order: Chaos or Contentment?

About two years ago, H&Her Laurie Gold wrote about reading series in order, and that as a reviewer, she was not always able to go linearly, from book #1 to #2 and so on.

In our Morning Coffee post about how to handle reading series in the first place, one comment mentioned how the commenter read series in whatever order they could get them—skipping from book #4 to book #10 back to book #6, for example.

For some of us, that sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard. What about you? Does the thought of reading series out of order make you shudder? Or are you happy to join the series at whatever juncture you can?

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Misty H
1. Misty H
I can read most historical romance series out of order, but the majority of paranormal romances need to be read in the proper order. There are a few like Lynsay Sand's that can easily be read out of order and you won't feel lost reading but others like JD Robb you miss key charcter plots that can often leave a person asking questions.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
I really don't like reading out of order at all, even if the books are standalone, like in a historical series like you mention, @Misty H; my own touch of OCD makes it really hard to mentally get past the fact that I have jumped over something to get to where I am currently. I definitely would never do it in a series where things unfold and you need to have backstory. Even the thought of it makes me shudder.
Regina Thorne
3. reginathorn
@MFrampton - I'm with you!! I can't read anything out of order; I even have issues with reading standalones out of publication order, which I even I know is insane.
Larisa LaBrant
4. MsGodiva1
Just can't read out of order, even when future books take place between previous books in the series.
Ditto on the stand alones OCD. The stories may not intersect but the author's style and skill tend to shift over time. Plus the whole keeping-up-with-current-mores that has radically shifted romances over the past 30 years.
Claudia Gonzalez
5. Clau
I like read series out of order, especially paranormal romance, I read the series beginning in the book that looks more interesante for me.
Jena Briars
6. CutMyTeethOnKleypas
For the most part, I prefer to read in order (unless another trusted reviewer says otherwise) the only series I haven't had trouble reading out of order is the historical Pennyroyal Green series by Julie Anne Long (amazing).
Carmen Pinzon
7. bungluna
If the series follows a specific hero/heroine throughout various adventures, I have to read it in order. However, if the series has different protagonists for each foray, I don't mind skiping around. I've even, gasp, skipped over entries that focused on couples I didn't want to read about.
Misty H
8. TanyaK
I absolutely can not read series out of order. That drives me bugf@@k!
9. Kareni
I prefer to read series in order. Since I'm (ahem) cheap, I sometimes acquire and read books in a series out of order and then try to fill in the blanks.
Misty H
11. twinner67
If I know an author has a series, I have to read it in order. If I read a book later in the series, it spoils surprises in the previous books. I am not a reader that likes to jump ahead. I like the story to be revealed like it was for the author.

If I read a book and find out it was later in a series I haven't read, I immediately go to the author's website to determine the reading order and read the rest of the series in order.
Claire Louise Thompson
12. Nefersitra
I try to read in order but it's not a deal breaker. The last 2 series I got into late were Anita Blake and the Dark Hunters. A friend recommended Anita Blake and I'm glad for the recommendation because it meant that I made sure to read in order - imagine reading Guilty Pleasures, then Narcissus in Chains without getting confused. The Dark Hunters are a little more forgiving of a mixed up order, although the order I read the books in meant that I knew Valerius and Tabitha were going to get together before I read Val's introduction
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