Thursday, July 15, 2010

The magic of a new series

I have always loved books. I love the way they smell, I love the way they feel, and I love the excitement of discovering new worlds. Every summer I have the same dilemma—what nonsense should I fill my head with this year? I don't want any of the nonfiction stuff or the classics—I want something diverting and fun. I spend hours staring at our bookshelves, weighing the pros and cons of all of the unread books. (Although I usually ignore my dad's Star Trek bookcase unless I'm really desperate.) And I almost always end up by the bookshelf that contains Harry Potter and all of our Mormon fiction books. Every summer I have the same debate without myself—has it been long enough since I last read Harry Potter? I try to not read the books two years in a row, but that is awfully hard sometimes. Especially when you don't have anything else to read and the person next to you is giggling at their Harry Potter book.

But yesterday I was in the sampler section of the library, and I found The Runelords by David Farland. I was recommended these books by a friend years ago, but I have never had the chance to get my hands on one. Until yesterday. To my delight, I learned that there are at least 8 books in the series, which means I won't have to struggle finding a book to read for a while. I was distracted for the rest of the day at work because I just wanted to go home, put on my pajamas, and delve into a new, unexplored world.

For me, starting a new series is a lot like going on a long-anticipated vacation. I have no idea what I am going to encounter, but I know that I will create good memories along the way. Stand-alone novels are wonderful too, but they are missing . . . something. They aren't as magical because you don't spend as much time with the characters, watching them learn and grow, becoming acquainted with their world. One of the reasons why Harry Potter will always be so special to me is because I grew up with Harry Potter. I read the first book when I was about 12, and I read the last one when I was 19. I was with Harry every step of the way, chronicling facts of his life and memorizing favorite scenes. Along with the rest of the world, I would eagerly anticipate the release of the next novel after years of speculating about who would be the next Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, who would die, and how the series would end. It was a truly magical experience, and I am sad it's over.

But experiencing the magic of a good series isn't a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. In fact, it can be revisited as long as you keep finding new series to read. Even if the books aren't that good, you are still taking part in a world that an author passionately created. That was one of the main reason why I was able to stick out the Wheel of Time series—I was a part of Rand's, Egwene's, Mat's, and Perrin's lives and I wanted to stay with them to the end. And being able to brag that I have made it through 10+ really long books can be a magical experience too.

You know the magic is working when you look forward to your evenings alone with your books. Whether you are joining forces with Harry Potter, Jim Hawkins, Nathan Steed, Rand al'Thor, or Frodo Baggins, you will remember those late nights of reading by lamplight. You will remember the tears and the laughter. You still may not know how to pronounce some of the names, but you will remember the characters. You know the magic is working when you feel a void inside of you when you finish a series and are unsure about how to recommence normal life.

Every series is a new adventure. Each book is a fun ride if you just let the magic overtake you.


  1. If you didn't read so darn fast, you'd still be reading "Wheel of Time" with me!

  2. Well, I plan on reading them again before the last one comes out, so I imagine we'll be reading them together at some point.