Looking for a one-night stand …

I’m looking for a one-night stand.

Oh … it could hang around longer depending on length …

Now cool your jets. I’m talking about a BOOK.

The other day, I found myself browsing Barnes & Noble in dismay. Now, you have to understand that B & N is one of my Happiest Places on Earth. I’ve dedicated many blissful moments to the Fiction Aisle, seeking, discovering and exploring. I’ve found a great deal of Satisfaction there.

However, this Sequel or Muliple-Book Storyline is wearing on me.

Wandering about the bookstore, I found myself drawn to titles … I’m a sucker for a good title and a lost cause should the cover art intrigue me. Call me shallow. But every book that drew my attention that afternoon was book one or book three or some number of book in a multi-tale series.

Several years ago, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time sucker-punched me into its murky depths. There were five very lengthy books already written and in paperback form at that point. I figured I was safe.. Well, I’ve recently purchase Book 13 — written by dictation to Brandon Sanderson since Robert Jordan died before he could complete this mega long series of mega detailed books. Each book is at least 800 pages. At this point — 17 years into it — I’m completely lost. The only way I’ll be able to figure out what the heck is going on is by picking up book one and starting over. And the books are too long and I have too many other things to read to begin that ridiculousness. So, all that initial investment and I still don’t know how it ends!!!

Not knowing how a story ends is pretty much hell for me. I’m left on the cliff … wondering what happened to those characters I grew to care about. I crave closure. I want to know the rest of the story (a phrase coined by Paul Harvey, I know.) I need the backstory and a chance to study the cliffnotes. I want to dig deep and explore the characters that intrigue me. So, quite a few years since I’ve even delved into their stories, I find myself wondering what happened to Rand? Did Moiraine really die? And then there’s Egwene and Nynaeve (who always reminded me of my friend Jodie) … Oh well. I guess there are some answers I may never get.

Sigh. I just want to pick up a book, read it from cover to cover contentedly traversing the adventure and befriending the characters, and move on to something new and different.

Mysteries have become my one-night stand reads of choice. If you are lucky you get a good protagonist (or an evil one depending on your perspective) and a hero who is clever enough to puzzle out the wicked deed, crime or murder. Thus in the end, they prevail and wrap up the tale neatly — delivering it to me with a bow. Occasionally the characters “carry over” to other books like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot or (my latest discovery) Amory Ames. But you don’t have to read books in any particular order and you aren’t missing something if you don’t read the first release first or even another of their mystery adventures.

Then there’s Sarah J. Maas who seduced me into her clutches with her Court of Thorns & Roses series, regaled my senses and took me on a wild ride to great heights … and left me hanging. Not smart enough to realize I should walk away when the silence hit me (book three is of course not done yet), I picked up her Throne of Glass series and … four books later … am desperately waiting to get my hands on book five.

JK Rowling gave Harry Potter seven novels to complete his tale, but she’s beginning to sneak in new stories so I guess it’s not done. Sherrilyn Kenyon writes urban fantasy and has crafted at least five separate series, building from character to character with each release. You have to read from the beginning or you miss some vital tidbit that unlocks secrets. Hunger Games, Delirium and Divergent gave us three each. Lauren Kate gave us four books with the Fallen series. Ms Peregrine’s tale is covered in three stories … I could go on and on with the list of authors utilizing this multiple book storyline.

Perhaps it’s a financial thing. Diana Gabaldon has me captivated and waiting for book Nine in the Outlander series. I’ve read and re-read these 900 page books since the series started 20 years ago. Perhaps there are just characters who have a lot to say and do. Thus, one book won’t complete their story.

But, unfortunately, I get lost. I get confused. Sometimes years go by between the book I read and the next installment of that particular series. I read other books in that time — quite a few other books. It’s difficult to pick up where you left off after a gap when you don’t remember what happened when the story was last interrupted.

Yes I long for the simplicity and closure that come with a one-night stand. No lengthy commitment. Just a short ride and good thrill. I thank those authors that provide me that pleasure. One beautiful moment in time. Nothing more need be said. I go to bed with my book, it takes me to exiting places and offers great pleasure. And then … The End.

— Jenni





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