Book series

Book series

A book series is a sequence of books with certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group. Book series can be organized in different ways, such as written by the same author, or marketed as a group by their publisher.

Fiction books

Fictional series typically share a common setting, story arc, set of characters or timeline. They are common in genre fiction, particularly crime fiction, men's adventure and science fiction, as well as in children's literature.

Some works in a series can stand alone -- they can be read in any order, as each book makes few, if any reference to past events, and the characters seldom, if ever, change. Many of these series books may be published in a numbered series, but it doesn't matter if you are reading the third or the thirty-third book. Examples of such series are works like The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Nick Carter.

Some series do have their characters go through changes, and make references to past events. Typically such series are published in the order of their internal chronology, so that the next book published follows the previous book. How much these changes matter will vary from series to series (and reader to reader). For some, it may be minor -- characters might get engaged, change jobs, etc, but it doesn't affect the main storyline. Examples of this type include Tony Hillerman's Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn books. In other series, the changes are major and the books must be read in order to be fully enjoyed. Examples of this type include the Harry Potter series.

There are some book series that aren't really proper series, but more of a single work so large that it must be published over two or more books. Examples of this type include "The Lord of the Rings" volumes or The Night's Dawn Trilogy.

Some authors make it difficult to list their books in a numerical order when they do not release each work in its 'proper' order by the story's internal chronology. They might 'jump' back in time to early adventures of the characters, writing works that must be placed before or between previously published works. Thus, the books in a series are sometimes enumerated according to the internal chronology rather than in publication order, depending on the intended purpose for the list. Examples of this series include works from the Chronicles of Narnia, where the fifth book in the series, The Horse and His Boy, is actually set during the time of the first book, and the sixth book, The Magician's Nephew is actually set long before the first book.

Academic and scholarly publication

In scholarly and academic publishing, scientific and non-fiction books that are released serially (in successive parts) once a year, or less often, are also called a series. (Publications that are released more often than once a year are known as periodicals.) The connection among books belonging to such a series can be by discipline, focus, approach, type of work, or geographic location. Examples of such series include "Antwerp working papers in linguistics"; "Early English manuscripts in facsimile"; "Garland reference library"; "Canterbury Tales Project"; "Early English Text Society".

Notable book series


These are listed in the order of their publication debut. (Some of these series started in magazines before books.)
* Sherlock Holmes stories, by Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)
* The Oz books, begun by L. Frank Baum (1900)
* The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope (1904)
* Tom Swift series by Victor Appleton (1910)
* Tarzan series by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1912)
* Abbey Girls series by Elsie J. Oxenham (1914)
* Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie (1920)
* Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers (1923)
* Chalet School series by Elinor Brent-Dyer (1925)
* The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon (1927)
* Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene (1930)
* Biggles series by W. E. Johns (1932)
* The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton (1942)
* Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (1942)
* The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis (1950)
* James Bond series by Ian Fleming (1953)
* Darkover series created by Marion Zimmer Bradley (1962)
* Jack McGurk series created by Edmund Wallace Hildick (1962)
* Dune series created by Frank Herbert (1965)
* Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey (1968)
* Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum and Eric Van Lustbader (1980)
* Belgariad series by David Eddings (1982)
* Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (1983)
* Young Wizards series by Diane Duane (1983)
* The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin (1986)
* Peter Decker series by Faye Kellerman (1986)
* Redwall series by Brian Jacques (1986)
* Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (1990)
* Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (1997)
* A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (1999)
* The Keys to the Kingdom by Garth Nix
* The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

cholarly and academic

* Very Short Introductions published by Oxford University Press
* Carus Mathematical Monographs published by the Mathematical Association of America
* Great Ideas published by Penguin Books
* [ Primary Sources Series published by the Historical Academy (Association) for Joan of Arc Studies]

Publisher Series

* Blue Guides, travel books originally published by Muirhead’s Guide-books Limited, now by Somerset Books.
* World's Best Reading published by Reader's Digest
* Lakeside Classics published by R. R. Donnelley
* Westvaco Americana published by Mead Westvaco
* Library of the Presidents published by Easton Press
* Rivers of America Series published by Farrar & Rinehart
* Franklin Mysteries published by Franklin Library
* Loeb Classical Library published by University of Harvard Press
* Notable Trials Library published by Gryphon Editions
* Library of America published by Library of America

ee also


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