This is a problem that I think is largely unique to romance, but do you tend to read more in order of a series, or skip around based on the trope you like? Growing up I had favorite authors from whom I’d read anything, but when looking into new books, I didn’t worry at all about the book being part of a series, and instead read whichever one sounded most interesting to me.
I’m not sure when that changed, but it really became apparent when I was talking to a friend the other day who reads by trope. She was giving me all kinds of recommendations, and when I mentioned that I didn’t care for the first book in a few of the series she was talking about, she realized that she’d never actually read the first book! And she didn’t really want to. She was happy with the later books she’d read and loved, and reading them out of order didn’t make much of a difference to her ability to understand and enjoy them.
I’m not sure when I started insisting on reading in series order, because most romances are written so that it doesn’t matter (Psy/Changeling is an example of an exception — read that series in order!). I think there’s some value to reading them in order because you can enjoy the sequel bait and anticipate new books in the series, and it’s fun to see old favorite characters pass through the pages of a book. But clearly it’s not always the best way to read, as sometimes an earlier book isn’t necessarily the one that’s going to grab you the most.
I think part of why I started reading more in series order than I did when I was younger is because I now have more established favorite authors whose books I read as they’re published, which means I’m reading them in order without meaning to. And I think that’s trained me to read in order when looking for new authors to try.
I want to try breaking that habit a little bit, though, and go back to reading more books solely based on description and tropes. Especially as I dive further into historical romance and give new authors a try, I don’t want to worry so much about reading the first book in a series, but more on which one I think I’m most likely to enjoy.
I was thinking of maybe doing this for some of the Avon authors I’d like to check out for KissCon but wasn’t familiar with, as well as a bunch of my friend’s recommendations. It’s actually a bit scary now that I’m faced with actually reading books out of order, just because I’ve become so used to doing it that way. But it should be fun! My favorite authors don’t always write my favorite tropes, so this allows me to really revel in the tropiness (enemies to lovers! just one bed! forced proximity! marriage of convenience! sunshine and grump!). We’ll see how it goes!
Do you read more by series order or trope? Let me know in the comments!