Re: RARA-AVIS: Reading Series in Order?

From: Patrick King (
Date: 22 Jun 2008

It seems to me that though publishers love series franchise, they hate dependent books. Many people, and it's obvious from this discussion, won't read a book until they've read all the earlier related books and this can really slow sales. Of course, once you've got one hot seller and people are clamoring for the further adventures, everything's different. Still, according to his agent, Ellroy's publisher was very negative about LA CONFIDENTIAL when he turned it in at 800 pages. They said he had to cut out 20,000 words and that was how he developed that staccato voice: he cut out most of the conjunctions and adverbs. Of course when that sold well and became a hit movie they were perfectly happy to let him go off on the LA trilogy previously mentioned. None of those have been bought by the movies yet, right?
  The real difference between the early Perry Mason stories and the later ones is technology. In the early books Mason would enter crime scenes with "skeleton keys" which apparently opened anyone's lock. Later his behavior, while still fairly unethical, became a little more realistic. Mason was a character who seemed to have no other life outside of his law office. That's a sprawling series and I don't think it matters at all where you start it.
  Patrick King

--- On Sun, 6/22/08, Stephen Burridge <> wrote:

From: Stephen Burridge <> Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Reading Series in Order? To: Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 4:01 PM

I guess there are a couple of distinct issues here: (1) are the author's books related in such a way that enjoyment of later ones depends to some extent on familiarity with earlier ones; and (2) what is the best way to become familiar with an author's body of work. With respect to (2), I often opt for reading an author's books in order of publication, once I've decided I want to read a bunch or all of them. With respect to (1) I'm more relaxed than some people. As long as a book works as a self-contained unit, I don't mind if I'm missing out on development of themes and characters introduced earlier. If I'm interested enough, I can always go back and fill in that aspect of things.


On Sat, Jun 21, 2008 at 10:26 PM, Patrick King <abrasax93@yahoo. com> wrote:

> --- On Sat, 6/21/08, Stephen Burridge <stephen.burridge@<stephen.burridge%> >
> wrote:
> I have been re-reading Hammett myself. So far I've read the the Richard
> Laymon biography, followed by "The Maltese Falcon", "The Glass Key" and
> "Red
> Harvest". It doesn't seem to me that the order matters.
> ************ ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* **
> Certainly with regard to Hammett's stories it doesn't matter at all. But
> the evolving themes of wealthy dysfunctional families, insane femme fatales,
> and corrupt professionals evolves distinctly from RED HARVEST to THE THIN
> MAN. A similar series of themes exists in Chandler especially regarding
> sisters. There are opposing sisters or at least female doppelgangers in
> every Marlow adventure.
> Patrick King

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