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Book Sequels, Who Needs ‘Em

I have a secret: I’m a one-night-stand kind of girl.

With my literature that is, so don’t get too excited. When I’m picking out the next book I want to read I skip over anything with Book #1 appended to the title. It has sequels? No way. I don’t even give it a second glance. I want to finish the last page and shut the cover on that baby. I enjoy recollecting with a whimsical nostalgia on my past reads; I don’t look too kindly on authors who come knocking on my door expecting a second go-around. Especially if that booty call isn’t as memorable as the first, it sort of tarnishes things, doesn’t it?

I’m engaging in the proverbial judging a book by its cover, but I don’t care. It might be unfair but to me a series says a couple things: My publisher wants to piggy back on my breakout novel’s success, my creative juices have dried up, or, I write children’s books. It’s possible my past experiences have jaded me – maybe I’ve just read too many series not worth the paper they were printed on (ahem, Twilight). Or maybe it comes from university, where the word sequel is reserved for pop culture classes. Regardless of where my stand-alone preference comes from, I’ve learned it’s here to stay.

I only make the exception in one circumstance: good science fiction. Sci-Fi and Fantasy are often epic narratives drawn out over the span of many books, not because of any of the above reasons but because the story is just that lengthy and involved. If you’re looking for examples, look no further than the most well-known of them all: Lord of the Rings. And I’ll admit, I’ve read Harry Potter from the first owl through to the very end an embarrassing number of times, to which my boyfriend will attest.

Apparently post-modern has gone the way of the cassette player. We live in a new era; one of entitlement, of instant gratification, of brand power and plentiful consumable goods. It was inevitable. Eventually, like all things, the literary became overrun by consumerism. It seems to me every other novel on the book store shelves is now part of a trio or more.

When a narrative, which finds a home in your heart, ends, well that’s hard. It’s difficult to say goodbye to characters you’ve imagined vividly and far distant, possibly exotic, locals you’ve spent weeks immersed in.  Books can teach us many concepts and one of those is a lesson well learned: the story doesn’t always go on. We close the chapter all the time in life: on people, on experiences, on jobs, on hobbies, on lovers and friends.

You have to learn to say goodbye. Really, it’s almost better that way.


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