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  • Nicole Hill 4:34 pm on 2017/06/15 Permalink
    Tags: , breaking up is hard to do, , ,   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to Breaking Up With a Series 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.  

    As wise prophets throughout the years have said, breaking up is hard to do. Even in an amicable separation—when both parties choose to leave, parting as friends—it’s not a clean process. There are swirls of emotions, pangs of regrets, bookshelves to empty and split.

    The process of breaking up with books themselves can be just as painful. As we discussed last time we were together, falling in love with a book is a real and powerful sensation. Within the space of a single narrative, you can form a long-lasting relationship; one book is enough ammunition to annoy your family, friends, acquaintances, and casual hangers-on with your repeated recommendations for the rest of your natural life.

    That’s nothing, though, compared to the investment of time and emotional energy when you’re in it for the long haul with a book series. If I had a nickel for every tear I’ve cried over the Outlander series, I’d have enough money and financial stability to support two husbands. Two handsome husbands, each desirable in a unique way and conveniently separated by hundreds of years.

    But I digress. The point is, I’ve invested a lot of myself into this continuing series of ever-expanding doorstopper novels, and I’m on the hook for the rest of forever. There’s no going back, just as there was no way to back out of Hogwarts and just as there is no option but to wait the interminable wait for Winds of Winter. I have entered into lifelong commitments, no matter the ultimately satisfying emotional distress each of these romances might cause.

    But what happens when a book relationship becomes toxic? When is it time to pull the plug on a series? As I see it, all of these situations fall into four categories.

    Pull the Plug

    Let’s say you loved the first book in a planned four-book series, but you hated its follow-up. You’re halfway through the series, and you’re only 50 percent satisfied. I’m not a mathematician—which is why I’m here talking to you—but those numbers don’t yield a whole lot of return on investment. If you barely made it through New Moon, you’re not going to be in a good frame of mind by the time you hit Renesmee. Bail out before you totally forget the good times you did have with the story. It’s better for all parties involved.

    There’s Some Gray Area

    You absolutely adored the first two books—in fact, you forced them onto your book club’s schedule even though they were outside the genre specifications. You thought the third book was okay, but had to slog through the fourth and fifth novels. You thought the sixth book was going to be the last, but the author pulled a switcheroo and, no, now the series is going to have seven installments.

    What do you when you’ve soured on a series with two full books left? You have to be honest with yourself: how much do you still care about these characters? Do you need to know what happens to them? Were your favorites killed off and now there’s only the annoying rabble left? Is your to-read list eight times longer than all the books in this series stacked together? If so, it seems safe to cut your losses.

    But if you still hold a torch for the hero (you just question his life choices), then maybe two books aren’t all that much of a burden to bear. After all, conclusions are exciting, and you just might find the magic you lost in the middle of the story. 

    Stick with It

    If you’ve stuck by a series over the years, novel after novel, and it’s down to the final installment, just keep going. It doesn’t matter if you’ve disliked nine of the twelve books. If you truly loathed them, you would have stopped reading years ago. There’s something in this story you just can’t quit. Go back and reread the first novel. There’s a good chance it’ll remind you why you first flirted with the series, and that will help propel you to the finish line.

    By the time you’ve read all but one book in a series, you’ve poured too much of yourself into the effort to quit. You owe your younger, less haggard self the closure. Stay strong and tie up the loose ends, though no one’s saying you have to run out and buy the hardcover on release day. Take your time. See it through. In the long run, you’ll thank yourself.

    Chart Your Own Territory

    But what if your book series doesn’t fall into a nice linear story? What if it’s a Discworld situation, and the story moves in one thousand directions across close to fifty novels? Let’s say of those thousand directions, you only like five. It’s important to remember that Congress shall establish no law tying you to the output of a genre, author, or expansive book series. You’re a free-thinking individual, and you should feel free to read only the installments you like in a nonlinear book series.

    If you’ve lucked into falling in and out of love with a series of novels that work as standalones, you have the best kind of relationship trouble. You can follow the characters you love, and leave for dead the characters you don’t. This is living the dream, my friends.

    The post The Book Nerd’s Guide to Breaking Up With a Series appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Ginni Chen 2:00 pm on 2016/06/29 Permalink
    Tags: , , breaking up is hard to do, ,   

    Ask a Literary Lady: Dividing Books After a Breakup? 

    Dear Literary Lady,

    My significant other and I are parting ways. I know, ugh. We’re trying to divide up all our books but we’re having trouble deciding how to do it fairly, and without hating each other. Any suggestions?

    – M.C., Austin, TX


    Dear M.C.,

    Dividing up property in the aftermath of a breakup is the worst! It’s one of the most difficult and uncomfortable rites of passage you’ll ever experience in your love life. I hate it even more than breaking up. Breaking up is dramatic and heartrending and has a deliciously self-indulgent air of tragedy. Dividing up stuff is just depressing logistical work. It’s salt in a brand new wound—you’re overcome with emotion, you’re pretty sure that you’re going to die alone, but you have to get it together and negotiate who is taking the coffee-maker.

    If you were both avid readers and book lovers, it’s sometimes impossible to remember how you came to own your books. All you know is that you both read and loved certain books, and now one if you is going to be moving on without a treasured copy. 

    Although splitting up your book collection is not going to be easy, there’s no reason it has to be a hurtful or argumentative process. If you both agree upfront on how you’re going to divide up the books, it could preclude a later argument about what books you each actually get.

    Stay calm, be the bigger person, and see if you can try the following:

    1. You each take turns choosing one book until they’re all gone.
    1. Claim the books you each know are yours, either because you brought them into the relationship, or you got them as gifts, etc. Agree to donate whichever books are still unclaimed, or whichever books you can’t agree on.
    1. Offer to buy out your ex’s share of all the books. If you feel weird offering your ex cash for all the books, offer to let them take the TV, or all the kitchenware, or the couch.
    1. Or, let your ex buy out your share of the books. Now you can buy all new books, start your own personal book collection anew, and never worry about this co-mingling problem again!
    1. If your ex is playing hardball or if the situation starts to get unbearably contentious, let it go. You can always buy more books in the future. It’s more important to make your current situation as painless as possible.
    1. If a friend gifted you both with the book, figure out who is more likely to continue seeing that friend post-breakup. Whichever one of you will see that friend more often should probably keep the book.
    1. Divide up your book collection by having one person separate the books into two piles, and the other person choose the pile. This works well if your entire collection contains lots of smaller curated collections – i.e. books by particular authors, collector’s edition of books, or books of a certain genre etc. One person can put entire collections into two different piles, and the other chooses which collections they want.
    1. Think about your respective living situations pending the breakup. You may want to keep a ton of books, but if you’re moving across the country, that might be more hassle than it’s worth. It might be prudent to let your ex keep most of them.
    1. Go through all your books and assign each book a number that indicates its importance. For example, “0” means “I don’t care at all,” “1” means “I’ll take it but I’m ok without it,” “2” means “I want it but I won’t fight about it,” and “3” means “If I don’t get to keep this book I will curse you forever.” Compare lists and divide accordingly.

    You should acknowledge beforehand that neither of you is going to be 100% happy about the outcome or feel like they came out ahead. And that’s ok, because dividing up your books post-breakup isn’t about winning, it’s about a fair, respectful compromise.

    Remember that there are still plenty of books to read, just as there are plenty of fish in the sea.

    Love and paperbacks,

    Literary Lady

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