On perseverance

stack of booksI’m not very good at giving up on things. I tend to see things through, even if I am not enjoying them or they are not beneficial to me, because I suppose I’m determined or perseverant or just plain stubborn. I’ve started to see it as a bit of a character flaw. Something that I don’t tend to give up on is book series. If I read the first book in a series, I more likely than not will read the whole series. Even if I stop enjoying the sequels as much as the first book, I will probably keep buying them – case in point is Skulduggery Pleasant. The last couple of books have not lived up to the first few, but the latest one has come out, and low and behold it is now sitting patiently on my bedside table for me to read it.

However, since starting to read the books on the list of 1001 Children’s Books I Must Read Before I Grow Up, I have found that I have not been persevering the sequels to books on the list as much. I did not read the Quartet that follows The Wizard of Earthsea, or the sequels to the Wolves of Willoughby Chasethe rest of Ender‘s adventures, or the rest of the Arthur Trilogy. Some of those books I really enjoyed, and thought to myself, ‘I must read the rest of that series!’ – but have never gotten around to it. This, of course, does not mean that I never will – the Arthur Trilogy, especially, or the rest of the Trucker books by Terry Pratchett. But, I suppose, there is always other book on the 1001 Children’s Book list waiting for me as soon as I finish a book, and then I forget to track down the sequel, or the rest of the series, and then it just becomes one of the thousands of books that I have thought ‘I would like to read that’ about.

Luckily for me, when I was browsing the shelves of one of my local bookshops, I came across the complete The Dark Is Rising sequence in one edition – all five books in one. It was cheap, and I knew that one of the books was on the list, so I bought it. It is actually the second book in the series that is included on the list, but I wanted to read the first book to understand what was happening in the second (although, I have since read, you don’t need to have read the first to understand the second). I whizzed through the first book as I loved it immensely, and am now a decent chunk through the second. I think I will read all five books in a row, as I am captivated by the wonderful writing of Susan Cooper. I am so glad that I bought all five books in one edition, which means that I can easily read all five books without tracking them down, or forgetting about them and realising in a few years time that I never finished that fantastic series I started reading.

Maybe I should comb through the list of books I have read and collect a few sequels of books I particularly enjoyed. Who knows what sort of delightful reading I am missing out on because I let the rest of a series slip from my mind. As for right now, I will be snuggled up tonight with Will and Merriman while it rains outside, trying to keep the Dark at bay…



  1. Gypsy

    I read the dark is rising sequence as a teenager and loved it too- I have an edition with all of the books in the series- I love it because you don’t have to wait- and I’m an impatient reader.

    • Yes, I think that’s part of why I’m enjoying it – not having to wait! I get terribly impatient when reading a series, and want to devour it all as quickly as possible – rather like eating a whole block of chocolate. Also like a block of chocolate, I can sometimes regret getting through it so quickly and having nothing left to read (or eat)…

  2. I bought and read Over Sea, Under Water soon after it first came out because it had an Arthurian theme, followed a few years later by the succeeding titles which I borrowed from the library — though I never did get round to finishing Greenwitch. My Puffin edition was just about falling to pieces when I last picked it up, but while I remember that had a holiday feel to it, all I remember of the rest was that they were unutterably dark (well, of course!) and overly serious and not very holiday-ish at all. I know I should give them another try, with the benefit of passing years …

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