Saturday, August 27, 2016

Two More Pending Projects

Well, I've started this project on Lulu:
It's going to be 172 pages, 8.5"x11", and spiral bound. It's only going to contain the musical settings of the hymns in Useful Hymns, with no lyrics; but as the back cover states, it's meant to be an eye-saver and to lie open on the music stand without trying to flop shut.

Meantime, I have also embarked on a completely new collection of original and translated hymns, with the occasional existing hymn set to an original tune. Its working title is Edifying Hymns, and I don't know when it will be finished, but my tentative goal is to include at least another 200 hymns. So far it has three hymns. Hymn 1, for now, is the "Opening Hymn" I wrote in June, after the layout of Useful Hymns was set; I wrote an original tune for it just the other day.

Further along, in what I intend to be the last section of the book, are two Passion hymns from the Icelandic by Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-74), as translated by Charles Venn Pilcher, 1923. I have loved Pétursson's poetry for years. I wrote the tune HALLGRIMUR for one of these hymns in about 2008, I forget which; but it fits both of them. Here they go:

Jesus forsaken by His disciples

1. Thou wast midst foes of friends bereft
In lonely desolation,
That I might ne’er alone be left
When thronged by sore temptation:
Yea, all forsook Thee at that hour
That all things now might cheer me:
When strife is near me,
Draw close, my Champion and my Tower,
And when I call, O hear me.

2. Lord, from that night of mortal strife,
And Thy lone road of sorrow,
The will to tread the way of life,
The power, the grace I’d borrow.
Let not the evil one entice
My feet to fleshly straying,
His wiles essaying,
But may this prayer of love suffice
To my dark Foe’s dismaying.

Jesus tried before Herod

1. When Herod saw Him, he was filled
With wanton exultation,
For he had heard of Him, and willed
Some novel demonstration;
With fleshly zeal he plied the Lord,
Full many things enquiring,
Reply desiring,
But Jesus answered not a word
To questionings untiring.

2. Many of like vain mind possessed
King Herod much resemble;
God’s Word they deem exciting jest,
No reverence makes them tremble;
Towàrd the secret things of God,
With anxious questions turning
And evil yearning,
They boast, poor creatures of the sod,
But never win true learning.

3. And I too hear of Thee, O Christ,
Within the Sacred Pages;
I find my heart’s deep need sufficed,
Rich joy my soul engages:
And in the Sacramental Feast
By faith I see thee near me,
In need to hear me;
The vision of my great High Priest
Alone, alone can cheer me.

4. King Herod and his court stood up,
Vile jests at Jesus aiming,
In a white robe they dressed Him up
For scorn and bitter shaming;
Then swift to Pilate sent Him back,
Between themselves arranging,
With temper changing,
A friendship; there had been no lack
Before of hate estranging.

5. Dear Lord, white clothes were given to Thee
In that most dreadful story,
That I in robes arrayed might be
Of righteousness and glory;
In God the Father’s holy sight
These robes alone enfold me,
His Word has told me;
Nothing avails the Accuser’s spite,
Guiltless His eyes behold me.

6. Jesu, Thy goodness I confess:
O let Thy grace preserve me,
Clothed in Thy robe of righteousness,
In faith and love to serve Thee.
And when I lay this frame away,
Its fleshly lusts resigning,
In strength declining,
Receive my soul in robes of day
Through endless ages shining.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Are "Useful Hymns" Useful?

I may have mentioned, a couple hundred times, that I've been working on a book of (mostly) original hymns titled Useful Hymns. Well, it's out now. You can buy it on Lulu, 20% off the general distribution price, which in my opinion is a decent deal. But I would love to get some intelligent reviews (not to mention sales) of this book, which represents the work of my entire adult life so far - more than 25 years of hymn-writing, during which I have also spent a good bit of time studying hymns and hymnals, performing hymns as an organist, choir director, and singer, and trying to use hymns for the edification and instruction of my congregation as a pastor.

A few days ago, I bloviated at length about what makes a hymn useful. Now the question is, what makes me think my hymns are useful?

I'm going to start by imposing a gag rule on myself about criticizing specific worship songs that I consider useless, or not very useful. Let my record as an obnoxious critic of "tacky hymns" stand for itself (or see the thread by that name on this very blog). Suffice it to say, not all hymns meet the standard of usefulness that I proposed in this post. I think there is a crop of essentially useless but highly overrated worship songs circulating in many church bodies these days, and I think it is doing great harm to the health of the church as a whole. Also, I don't think this mediocre hymnody is doing much to help individual Christians in their struggle to live worshipful lives. What I have tried to do in this book is demonstrate that it is possible for contemporary hymns to meet that high standard of usefulness.

I do not claim that all of my efforts have been equally or completely successful on all levels. I'm hard to satisfy, and I'm not deeply impressed with some of them. I recognize there is some unevenness in quality there, partly unavoidable because they were written over so many years, during which I sharpened my ideas and polished my skills. And there are some relatively recent poems or tunes that I know aren't brilliant, because nobody can be brilliant every day. Sometimes I set myself very ambitious challenges, and some of those challenges bore really exciting and surprising fruit - but some of them got the better of me, in this or that detail, and there was only so much I could do later to buff the dings and scratches out of my less inspired attempts.

I also do not claim I'm the only hymn-writer creating quality stuff. I am plugged into a network of fine hymn-writers and composers, and some of them contributed to this book - a text here (to my original tune), a tune there (written for one of my texts). There are others I would be honored to collaborate with. Maybe I will get the chance as I work on my next volume, which I have already started. Its working title is Edifying Hymns.

So, to the purpose: Useful Hymns - the full title goes on to add, "for worship, prayer, and instruction in the Lutheran church, school, and home" - is simply my attempt to supply hymns for various practical uses in the life of the Lutheran congregation, family, and individual; hymns that focus on Christ, glorify God, teach and confess the faith once delivered to the saints, and direct troubled and afflicted hearts to where God has really promised to be; to frame prayers that express the real needs of struggling Christians; to provide help in the kinds of situations about which someone, sometime, must certainly have wondered why there isn't a good hymn to address it.

What's in the book?

In Useful Hymns, there are:

  • Two "dedication" hymns, one of which more or less outlines my spiel about what makes a hymn useful;
  • Three overarching hymns for entire seasons of the church year;
  • 19 hymns for feasts of the church year;
  • 58 hymns for the Sundays of the church year, on which I will say more in a bit;
  • Five "liturgical hymns," ditto;
  • 25 "catechetical hymns," ditto;
  • 15 "scriptural meditation" hymns, commenting on or paraphrasing biblical topics or passages;
  • nine "church and ministry" hymns, including a musical mission statement, a stewardship hymn, a hymn for calling a pastor, and a wedding hymn;
  • 18 "heroes of the faith" hymns, relating key people in the Bible to aspects of Christian discipleship;
  • 31 "comfort and encouragement" hymns, which I'll get back to in a bit;
  • 13 "care of the community" hymns, ditto;
  • three hymns for children; 
  • nine translated hymns; and
  • 12 hymn texts by other writers, to which I contributed original tunes.

Since when are there 58 Sundays of the church year?

There aren't, in any given year, when there are only 52 weeks, give or take. Nevertheless, this section has a hymn based on the readings for every Sunday in the historic one-year lectionary, plus a bonus hymn for Trinity Sunday. Because the date of Easter varies from year to year, the number of Sundays after Epiphany and Trinity to goes up and down in contrary motion. So there have to be extra hymns to allow the stretching and shrinking of these two variable seasons.

What's useful about a hymn for every whatnot of the church year?

No part of the worship service, in a liturgical congregation, is more dull and pointless than the line of boilerplate in which the officiant tells you what Sunday it is on the church calendar. "The first lesson for this 14th Sunday after Trinity is..." Who cares? What makes this cycle interesting, however, is the growing familiarity of many of the Bible passages that come around year after year, each with a distinctive message that would be helpful to Christians in their walk of faith, if only someone would explain it to them.

I made every effort in this group of hymns (as well as the section on feasts of the church year) to get right to the point of each Sunday's or feast day's lessons - including the introit, epistle, and gospel - in the hope that, even if the sermon loses folks in ill-applied anecdotes and confusing analogies, they will still take away something that will help that Sunday, any given year, contribute to their spiritual growth.

What's so useful about "liturgical" hymns?

Every worship service has a beginning and an ending. When you can't think of a hymn to open or close worship in a way that stresses the specific theme of that day's message, the "Hymn to Enter" or "Hymn to Depart" might help - and it might even be useful for teaching a healthful attitude about entering and leaving worship. In between are paraphrases of the widely known, ancient Christian worship songs Te Deum, Magnificat, and Nunc dimittis, traditionally used during Matins and Vespers (morning and evening prayer services). I don't consider my paraphrases a worthy substitute for the free-verse originals. But they might be useful alternatives for folks who have difficulty with chant.

What gives with "catechetical" hymns?

Catechesis means doctrinal instruction, or formation in the faith (two ways of saying the same thing). The hymns in this section of the book paraphrase, and explore in detail, key topics of historic Lutheran catechesis: the 10 commandments, the creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the efficacious means of grace (the word of Christ, the confession and forgiveness of sins, the Lord's Supper, and baptism). These hymns provide a musical reinforcement for the starting point of a Christian's lifelong process of learning the faith.

Why is there one hymn for each of the 10 commandments?

Long story short, I was interested in writing them, so I wrote them. In terms of the distinction between Law and Gospel (look it up), I'm aware the commandments are law, law, law, telling us what to do (or not to do), accusing us of sin, and threatening us with the terrible punishments we deserve for not keeping it. But the commandments can also be considered in light of (a) the law Christ perfectly fulfilled on our behalf; (b) the law under which He suffered and died as our substitute; (c) how violators of the law, like us, carried out on Him God's judgment against our sin - so that he suffered not only for man's transgression, but by means of it; and (d) the magnitude of the debt God has forgiven us for Jesus' sake. In short, the law can be considered in the light of a description of Jesus and what He has done for us, and also as a description of what He is now transforming us into, as His new creation. Still law (third use), not to be confused with gospel. But with eyes fixed on Christ, each commandment can open up a different, useful way to consider the gospel.

Is this "heroes of the faith" stuff saint worship, or what?

It's what. The difficulty with writing useful hymns around the career of a biblical character is that there are so many ways it can go wrong. It can paint the saint in unnaturally rosy hues. It can angle toward moralism. It can allegorize and spiritualize everything to the point where one can happily sing it without taking any position on the historical reality of the person or events in the story. It can lead to goofy applications and promote speculative theories and unverified rumors. Or it can just be a verse synopsis of the high points of the person's life, with no point whatsoever. The challenge I took on with this section - with more success at some points than at others - was to avoid all these traps and provide examples of "heroes of the faith" hymns that actually focus on Christ, while using each biblical character as an example to illuminate a topic useful for Christians' growth in the faith.

There were a couple of the "summary of the guy's whole career" type of hymn, I'm afraid. A couple of them were originally keyed to a book-by-book Bible study, a Lenten midweek sermon series, or a Vacation Bible School program. Some of them are pretty long, but only a few selected stanzas may be useful when a character or group of characters comes up in Bible class.

What kind of "comfort and encouragement" does this book have?

Lots of kinds - as many as I could think of, while I was planning the book, as well as some that popped up spontaneously and struck me as being needed at the moment. Dying, death, and grieving lead off this section with seven solid hymns, including one praying for what comfort can be had when a loved one dies without much evidence of saving faith. Don't jump down my throat with your "you can't give the family any hope for their loved one" shtick. Read the hymn and see what I mean. These hymns might help you mourn with a more hopeful heart, or might teach you to be more useful to someone else who is mourning. They might also help you as you face death yourself.

Besides death-related hymns, the "comfort and encouragement" section includes hymns about how to pray, prayers for patience and stronger faith, pleas for help fighting temptation, a confession of hunger and thirst for the sacrament, another stewardship hymn, hymns for spiritual warfare and the end times, a hymn about angels, and a joyful hymn about the freedom of the gospel.

What topics does "care of the community" cover?

This little section boasts some of the topics for which good, edifying hymns were most desperately needed: hymns for dealing with mental illness and physical disability, hymns for responding to disasters and political disturbances, prayers about labor and agriculture, travel and family strife, persecution and division within the church. It concludes with hymns for courage and a cheerful heart.

Throughout the book, there are useful surprises, such as a Christmas hymn that honors the life of the unborn, a children's "baptismal birthday" song with a tune that cleverly inverts the "Happy Birthday" song, a "feeding of the 4,000" hymn that makes godly use of a running joke about math, a prayer for faithful youth, a thoughtful look at the scandal of the cross, a confession of sins that applies repentance "head and shoulders, knees and toes" style, and a look at the 12 apostles that shrinks back from psycho-analytical canards and puts the focus again where it belongs, on Jesus. There are hymns for the weak in faith and those tormented by guilt and temptation, hymns that lift up the downhearted and that clear up difficult-to-understand Bible stories, hymns that bring all-too-familiar stories of Jesus' parables and miracles home to where Christian families and congregations can best use them.

All right, wrap this up. What else do I get in this book?

There are several hymns that I translated, completely or in part, from German to English. There are also a handful or two of hymns by other writers (and in some cases, translators), set to original tunes that I wrote for them. Two of the tunes I am most proud of are the ones I wrote for Richard Wilbur's Christmas hymn "A Stable Lamp I Lighted" and Martin Franzmann's "O Kingly Love," both used by permission of their copyright holders.

Apart from these numbers, U.H. comprises 201 original hymn texts that I wrote between about 1992 and this year. Most of the older texts have been significantly revised from their original form. Here is the table of contents, which lists the topics of the hymns in order.

Each hymn text is headed by one or two hymn-tunes, melody only. I haven't counted the original tunes I wrote to go with these hymns. A few original tunes were graciously contributed by other contemporary composers. Many of the hymns are set to historic hymn-tunes from a variety of styles and traditions, public-domain tunes that I think deserve another chance to be better known in the Lutheran church. Some hymns have two choices of tune, but a metrical index is provided to allow users to choose a tune they like better. Several tunes are used more than once in the book, but none is used more than twice.

In an appendix at the end of the book, I include chorale harmonizations or keyboard arrangements of all the tunes in the book. I composed the arrangements of all my original tunes, several existing hymn tunes, and a couple of the original tunes contributed by my contemporaries. A few of the hymn-tunes have more than one arrangement available. This appendix adds considerably to the thickness of the book, which finally weighs in at 508 pages. I am considering also publishing a spiral-bound "Hymn Arrangements Edition," with the appendix material blown up to letter-size pages that will lie open flat against a music rack. This would be helpful to pianists and organists who want to play the music.

Besides the metrical index, the book also has a table of contents (listing the titles, or topics, of the hymn in order, with hymn numbers and page references), a first-line index, and an alphabetical index of tune names. The latter two both include a little information about the provenance of the texts and tunes. More complete author and composer credits are listed within the body of the hymn-book.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

How I Woke Up This Morning

Last night I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m. and went to sleep.

At 4:17 a.m., I was awakened out of an engaging dream by the distinct sound of a woman's voice in the next room, calling my first name.

It took me a few minutes to gather up the presence of mind to realize it was very unlikely there was anyone in my living room at that hour, after which I was able to verify there was no one there. It then occurred to me that very few women who know me locally would call me by my first name, in a community where nearly everyone knows me as "R.D." (This is in an area where I moved two years ago when I was hired to work at the same newspaper office as my dad, who has the same first name. So unofficially, but effectively, I changed my name to the initials to make it easier to distinguish between us.)

While the dream - I quickly decided it was that - was still very vivid in my memory, I thought about who I know who has a voice like the one I heard calling my name. At first I was inclined to consider a teacher at one of the local schools. I finally decided it was most like the voice of the local agent who sold me my health insurance. A very clear, assertive, carrying voice in a mezzosoprano range. And I suppose my insurance agent must know my real first name, since I use it when I fill out important paperwork. But she was no more likely to be in my living room at 0417 Central than anybody else who knows me by name, and I doubt that my hallucination of a voice like hers indicates any kind of wishful thinking on my part.

It was a creepy dream. Even after I had explained it away to my own satisfaction, I had trouble settling down to sleep again. After a while I gave it up, turned off my wake-up alarm, shaved, ate breakfast, and puttered around, looking for some way to blow time until I had to go to work.

At last, around 5:30 a.m., I decided I might lie down for a nap. I fell right asleep and started having more dreams, none of which I remember except for the very last bit. That's when a "mostly sunny" graphic popped up in the lower right corner of my dream, accompanied by time and temperature indicating it was 6:45 a.m. I dismissed it, reasoning that my alarm would have gone off if it was really that time... but a minute later I asked myself, "Did I re-set my alarm after I turned it off?"

I opened my eyes and looked at my alarm clock. It read 6:46 a.m., and the alarm was turned off.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Keep Up with Book Series (Part 6)

So, after working through the R's in my alphabetical index of authors whose books I have reviewed, I find that I have a bookmark somewhere in almost 250 different series of books. Will I make it to the end of the alphabet before I break the internet?

| S |

Rafael Sabatini
  • Captain Blood series: I haven't read the two sequels, Captain Blood Returns and The Fortunes of Captain Blood. I may also try to catch Scaramouche (which also has a sequel) and The Sea Hawk, among other books by this prolific author.

E. Rose Sabin
  • Arucadi series: I've only read the first two of these four books. Books 3 and 4 are When the Beast Ravens and Bryte's Ascent. There is also a two-book spinoff series comprising Mistress of the Wind and A Mix of Magics.

Angie Sage
  • Septimus Heap series: I have read five of these seven books, which leaves Darke and Fyre, plus the novella The Darke Toad. There is also a spinoff trilogy called "Todhunter Moon."

Brandon Sanderson
  • Elantris series: I have yet to read Book 2, The Emperor's Soul. I'm also hoping there will be sequels to The Rithmatist, and I am interested in trying a lot of this author's other series.

Kevin Sands
  • Blackthorn Key series: I have yet to read Book 2, The Mark of the Plague.

Michael Scott
  • "Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series: I have only read the first book, The Alchemyst. There are at least five more, starting with The Magicia.

George Selden
  • Sequels to The Cricket in Times Square: Yes, I know there are several more of them. I'm not on fire to complete the set, but I believe my next installment would be Chester Cricket's Pigeon Ride.

Darren Shan
  • Saga of Darren Shan: I still have 5 of the 12 books to catch up. Next in canon order is Allies of the Night.

Delia Sherman
  • Changeling series: I have yet to read Book 2, The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. I am also interested in some of her other work, such as The Great Detective and The Evil Wizard Smallbone.

Mike Shevdon
  • Courts of the Feyre series: I have yet to read Books 3 and 4, Strangeness and Charm and The Eighth Court.

Polly Shulman
  • Grimm Legacy series: I have yet to read Book 3, The Poe Estate.

Neal Shüsterman
  • Antsy Bonano series: I have yet to read Book 3, Ship Out of Luck. There are a lot of other titles by this author that I would like to try.

Alan Silberberg
  • Milo series: I have yet to read Book 2, Milo and the Restart Button.

Matthew Skelton
  • No particular series: I'm just interested in his other book to-date, The Story of Cirrus Flux.

Obert Skye
  • Leven Thumps series: I have read only the first two of these five books. I already own a copy of Book 3, Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want.
  • Pillage trilogy: Next up for me is Book 3, Ambush.

Alexander McCall Smith
  • No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series: I'm 13 books into this 17-ish-book series. Next up are a novella The Cleverness of Ladies and Book 14, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.
  • Isabel Dalhousie series: There are currently 10 books in this series, plus a couple of novellas; I have read the first four. Next up or me is The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday.
  • 44 Scotland Street series: I have read only the first of this (currently) 11-book series. Book 2 is Espresso Tales.

Clete Barrett Smith
  • Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series: I have yet to read Book 3, Aliens in Disguise. His stand-alone book Magic Delivery might also be fun to try.

Roland Smith
  • Cryptids series: I have yet to read Books 3 and 4, Chupacabra and Mutation.

Sherwood Smith
  • Inda quartet: I read the first two books, and I own Book 3, The King's Shield. I'm not sure, but I might also have a copy of Book 4, Treason's Shore.

Lemony Snicket
  • No particular series: I notice he (or rather, Daniel Handler) has written a number of interesting titles since ending A Series of Unfortunate Events. I might look in on them.

Alan Snow
  • Ratbridge series: I have read only one book (Here Be Monsters!) of the trilogy that inspired the animated movie The Boxtrolls. Books 2 and 3 are Worse Things Happen at Sea! and Thar She Blows!.

Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  • Game series. I have a copy of The Gypsy Game, which is the sequel to The Egypt Game, as well as one or two other books by this prolific author, many of whose titles interest me.

Justin Somper
  • Vampirates series. I have only read the first of this six- or seven-book series. Next up for me is Tide of Terror.

Elizabeth George Speare
  • No particular series. I just happen to have a bookmark in a copy of The Bronze Bow, somewhere in my library.

Jerry Spinelli
  • It seems Stargirl has a sequel, titled Love, Stargirl.

Michael A. Stackpole
  • Age of Discovery trilogy. I decided after reading A Secret Atlas never to read another book by this author, for approximately the same reasons I never read a second book by Terry Goodkind. Just for informational purposes, Books 2 and 3 are Cartomancy and The New World.

John Stephens
  • Books of Beginning trilogy: I have yet to read Books 2 and 3, The Fire Chronicle and The Black Reckoning. I'm glad I stuck with doing this, because I had forgotten all about this series; now that I've refreshed my memory, I want to follow it again.

Robert Louis Stevenson
  • David Balfour series: There's a sequel to Kidnapped; it's called Catriona, and I think I have it on Kindle somewhere. It took me ages to find it; you'd think I would have read it by now!

Caroline Stevermer
  • Cecelia and Kate trilogy (co-authored by Patricia C. Wrede): This is one of those series I've wanted to read for years, but could never find Book 1 (Sorcery and Cecelia). I already have a copy of Book 2, The Grand Tour. Another book by this author I would like to read is Magic Below Stairs.

Mary Stewart
  • Arthurian Saga: I'm up to Book 4, The Wicked Day, and I own a copy of it.

Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell
  • Edge Chronicles: I only read the first three books of what now number at least 12. Next up for me is The Curse of the Gloamglozer.

Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, The Prisoner's Dilemma. As with a lot of other popular series, there are also add-ons that might be interesting, such as The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.

Gillian Summers
  • Faire Folk quartet: I have read the first two books. Books 3 and 4 are The Secret of the Dread Forest and Queen of the Faire.

Shanna Swendson
  • Katie Chandler series: I read the first two of these seven books. Up next for me is Damsel Under Stress. I would also be interested in looking at her Rebel Mechanics series.

| T |

Cecilia Tan
  • Magic University quartet: I read the first book in this erotic fantasy series (I had reasons!), but I'm not very interested in continuing with it. If I did, the next book for me would be The Tower and the Tears.

G.P. Taylor
  • Mariah Mundi trilogy: I have yet to read Books 2 and 3, The Ghost Diamonds and The Ship of Fools.

Mildred Taylor
  • Logan Family Saga: Almost everything this author wrote is part of this series, including her two books that I have read. Of the remaining six books in the series, the next up for me would be Let the Circle Be Unbroken.

Patrick Taylor
  • Irish Country series: I have read five of the first seven books in this 11-plus-book series. I missed Books 5 and 6, An Irish Country Courtship and A Dublin Student Doctor.

Kathleen Tierney
  • Siobhan Quinn trilogy: I doubt I will ever go farther than Book 1 (Blood Oranges), but for what it's worth, Books 2 and 3 are Red Delicious and Cherry Bomb.

Stephanie Tolan
  • Applewhites series: I only now learned there is a sequel to Surviving the Applewhites, titled The Applewhites at Wit's End.

Roderick Townley
  • Sylvie Cycle trilogy: I think I have owned Book 3, The Constellation of Sylvie, for several years but never got around to reading it. I should probably admit that I have a problem dealing with the ends of trilogies.

Anthony Trollope
  • Barsetshire Chronicles: I have Book 1 The Warden on Kindle, and I was reading it at some point. One of those points, no doubt, when I was trying to read 20 things at once.

| The rest of the alphabet |

Anne Ursu
  • Cronus Chronicles trilogy: I have had Book 3, The Immortal Fire, on my self for years. See "my problem dealing with endings of trilogies." While I'm here, I'd like to leave myself a reminder to look at Ursu's other titles, including Spilling Clarence, The Disapparation of James, Breadcrumbs, and The Real Boy.

Vivian Vande Velde
  • User Unfriendly series: When I read Heir Apparent, I was either unaware or unconcerned that it was the middle book of a trilogy, the other two books of which are User Unfriendly and Deadly Pink. This author also has a long list of stand-alone titles that interest me.

Cynthia Voigt
  • Tillerman Family series: Of these six books, I have only read the first three. I also have Book 4 on my shelf: The Runner. I would also like to try some of Voigt's other series, such as the Mister Max trilogy.

John Vornholt
  • Troll King trilogy: This has been another one of my most frustrating trilogy-collecting fiascoes. I've read Book 1 (Troll King), I own Book 3 (Troll Treasure), but for the life of me, I can't find a reasonably-priced copy of Book 2 (Troll Queen). So, I'm stuck for now.

Scott Westerfeld
  • Leviathan trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, Goliath.

Donald Westlake
  • Dortmunder series: Although my omnibus review of this 14-book series was based on reading about half of its books at random and trying to remember them years later, I would always welcome a chance to read any of the ones I missed. In fact, I would enjoy almost any Westlake title, any time. I'll just drop a link to the list of Westlake's books here and call it an all-purpose gift-registry.

Ysabeau S. Wilce
  • Flora trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, Flora's Fury.

F. Paul Wilson
  • Repairman Jack series: I read the first six books of this 15-something-book series - it's hard to get a precise count, because it crosses over with Wilson's Adversary Cycle - then, because it was there (at the library) and the intervening books weren't, I skipped to book 15. What a mistake! The series ended on a downer. I might be too depressed about it to read Books 7-14, but if I recover enough, my next book will hopefully be Gateways.

N.D. Wilson
  • Well, I'm actually caught up for the moment with those series by this author that I have been following, though I think more Ashtown Burials books should be expected in the future. I'm interested in Wilson's other books, including his debut novel Leepike Ridge and the new "Legend of Sam Miracle" series, starting with Outlaws of Time.

Jeanette Winterson
  • No particular series - I just think The Battle of the Sun looks good.

P.G. Wodehouse
  • Jeeves and Wooster series, etc.: The issue of which books I need to read to catch up on my Wodehouse is so complex and would require so much difficult research at this point that all I can say is, "There's a lot more of this that I could stand to read." And I've heard good things about his Psmith books, too. Unfortunately, I've lost touch with whatever website it was that I used to find very helpful and informative about navigating the Wodehouse canon. Oh, well!

Gene Wolfe
  • Long Sun series: This is another author who likes to make it tricky to slice and dice his body of work, but I believe the book in my possession, Epiphany of the Long Sun, is exactly the omnibus volume of Calde of the Long Sun and Exodus from the Long Sun that I need to finish this massive tome. And to think I got myself into this simply by falling in love with the opening sentence of Book 1.

Patricia C. Wrede
  • Again, I'm actually caught up on the series by this author that I was following, but I am interested in her Mairelon and Frontier Magic books.

Rick Yancey
  • Alfred Kropp trilogy: Book 3 is The Thirteenth Skull.
  • Monstrumologist series: Books 3 and 4 are The Isle of Blood and The Final Descent.
By the way, I am no more interested in Yancey's "5th Wave" series than in Suzanne Collins' "Hunger Games" series. Judging by the movie franchises both films produce, they are already doing fine without any endorsement from me. It's not that I take credit for the success of any series I have promoted, but I can't interest myself in everything. I know, it's hilarious for me to say it at this point, but I've got to draw the line somewhere. Also, I started reading the Twilight series because my readers pestered me non-stop about it, and then it became a pop-culture movie phenomenon that imploded so violently on every level that it started me thinking weird thoughts like, "If they're making a big-budget movie out of a Y.A. book, it must be terrible."
Jane Yolen
  • Pit Dragon series: I thought this trilogy was over, but now I learn a fourth book, Dragon's Heart, was added in 2009 - over 20 years after the original trilogy wrapped up.
  • Rock'n'Roll Fairy Tale (co-authored by Adam Stemple): I actually missed Book 1 of this two-book series, Pay the Piper.

Mary Frances Zambreno
  • Jermyn Graves series: I never got around to reading Book 2, Journeyman Wizard.

So what's the total? I didn't count exactly, but I reckon it's in the neighborhood of 310. Definitely more than 300. I am somewhere between the first and last book of more than 300 series of books. I have that many To Be Continueds hanging over my head. God help me!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Keep Up with Book Series (Part 5)

As I continue trying to figure out how many series of books I am in the middle of reading, my current estimate stands at approximately 210 after reaching the letter N in my alphabetical list of authors by last name. Could there be a huge bias toward the front half of the alphabet? Could the final total be somewhere close? Let's see about that!

| O |

Nick O'Donohoe
  • Crossroads trilogy: Book 3, The Healing of Crossroads, has my bookmark in it. I started to read it a while ago, but something shiny must have caught my eye. I'll get back to it by and by. I would also like to try O'Donohoe's "Gnomewrench" series, starting with The Gnomewrench in the Dwarfworks.

Kenneth Oppel
  • Silverwing series: I somehow missed Book 4, Darkwing.
  • Matt Cruse series: I own, but haven't yet read, Book 3: Starclimber.

Baroness Orczy
  • Sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel: There are loads of them, in case I ever feel a leaning to explore them. The immediate successor to the popular original is I Will Repay.

James A. Owen
  • Imaginarium Geographica series: I never made it farther than Book 1, but there are seven books in this series, and Book 2 is The Search for the Red Dragon.

Panama Oxridge
  • Tartan of Time series: I read Justin Thyme, but I have not yet read its sequel, Thyme Running Out.

| P |

Christopher Paolini
  • Inheritance quartet: Book 4 is Inheritance.

Gary Paulsen
  • Brian Robeson series: After Hatchet comes four sequels, which must involve some heavy continuity issues, unless the fault lies in my memory of how the first book ended. Several of the books have been published under multiple titles. Book 2 is therefore either The River or The Return.

Mervyn Peake
  • Gormenghast trilogy: Yes, I know. I haven't actually finished Gormenghast yet (that's Book 2, FYI). These things take time. Especially when you own an omnibus edition of the trilogy and you hate reading omnibus editions - like me. I found this out about myself too late to avoid the difficulty.

Dale Peck
  • Drift House series: Book 2 is The Lost Cities.

Richard Peck
  • Grandma Dowdel series: Book 3 is A Season of Gifts.
  • Here Lies the Librarian seems to be, on some level, a companion book to The Teacher's Funeral.

Alison Pensy
  • Custodian quartet: I'm up to Book 3, which is The Cypher Wheel.

Tamora Pierce
  • Immortals quartet: I have only read the first book, Wild Magic. Book 2 is Wolf Speaker.

Christopher Pike
  • Alosha trilogy: I am up to Book 2, The Shaktra, which I think is somewhere in my library.

Dudley Pope
  • Ramage series: Somehow, I missed the 18th and last book, Ramage and the Dido. Amazing!

Ellen Potter
  • Olivia Kidney series: I've read two books of this, but because the titles change from one edition to another, I have little confidence in my estimate that there are still two more books to go. I think one of them is Olivia Kidney and the Secret Beneath the City.

Terry Pratchett
  • Discworld series: I have yet to read the last two books of this 41-book super-series: Raising Steam and The Shepherd's Crown. I think I might have missed one or two others, such as I Shall Wear Midnight; and though I have a copy of the graphic novel The Last Hero, I've never read it all the way through. Me, falling down on the job!
  • Long Earth series (co-authored by Stephen Baxter): I only read the first book. Of the four sequels, the next up for me is The Long War.

Philip Pullman
  • Sally Lockhart quartet: I have read the first two books. Books 3 and 4, of which I own copies, are The Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess.

| R |

T.R. Ragan
  • Lizzy Gardner series: Of the five books in this series, I missed Book 1 (Abducted) and read Books 2 and 3 (Dead Weight and A Dark Mind). The next book after them is Obsessed.

Robert Rankin
  • Eddie Bear series: The sequel to The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse is The Toyminator.

Arthur Ransome
  • Swallows and Amazons series: Of this 12-book series, I am up to Book 3: Peter Duck.

Douglas Reeman
  • Blackwoods saga: In this five-book series about the Royal Marines, I am up to Book 3: The Horizon. After this series, there's everything else he wrote, which is quite a bit. And in case you missed the memo, Reeman is the same person as Alexander Kent (see Part 4) - so, one ridiculously prolific writer.

Dietlof Reiche
  • Golden Hamster series: Out of five books, I have read the first three. That leaves The Haunting of Freddy and Freddy's Final Quest.

Michael Reisman
  • Simon Bloom trilogy: I have only read Book 1. That leaves The Octopus Effect and The Order of Chaos.

Mike Resnick
  • Weird West series: I am gobsmacked by how many books this guy has written. Take a look! As for this series, I somehow managed to read only Book 3 of 4. It's time to go back and read Book 1, The Buntline Special.

Adam Rex
  • Smek "smeries": The sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday (basis for the animated film Home) is Smek for President! I may also try his "Cold Cereal" trilogy.

Anne Rice
  • Vampire Chronicles: No, thanks. I'm so over that series - though if I had to choose between it and "Twilight," Book 5 of 12-ish Memnoch the Devil is next up for me.

Kat Richardson
  • Greywalker series: I have read seven of the nine books. That leaves Possession and Revenant.

Ransom Riggs
  • Miss Peregrine series: I only read the first book. That leaves Hollow City, Library of Souls, and the story collection Tales of the Peculiar.

Rick Riordan
  • Heroes of Olympus series: I only read the first book of five. The next book for me will be The Son of Neptune. I may also try to fit in Riordan's "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard" and "Trials of Apollo" series. Also, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods looks like a really fun re-telling of ancient myths.

John H. Ritter
  • I enjoyed The Boy Who Saved Baseball, but missed its prequel, The Desperado Who Stole Baseball.

J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter stuff: I haven't read the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, nor have I kept up with the Potterverse e-books Rowling keeps putting out. It would be nice to see those published in a way cavemen like me could appreciate.

Laura Ruby
  • I've read The Wall and the Wing, but not its sequel, The Chaos King.

Marie Rutkoski
  • Kronos Chronicles: I have read Book 1 (The Cabinet of Wonders), but neither of its two sequels, The Celestial Globe and The Jewel of the Kaldrash.

Cynthia Rylant
  • No particular series: Holy cow. Have you seen how many books this lady has written? Look! I'm just saying. I have read her Newbery Medal book Missing May, and I may also read at least her Newbery Honor book A Fine White Dust.

Uff da. I don't think I'm going to make it through the rest of the alphabet tonight...

Keep Up with Book Series (Part 4)

How many series of books am I more or less following? After you see the final total, you'll never accuse me of slacking off just because my book reviews didn't keep up with your pet series. So far, my alphabetical review of authors' last names has turned up approximately 140 series that have moved on since the last installment that I read. And that only took me through the letter I on the list. To continue:

| J |

Brian Jacques
  • Redwall series: Lord, deliver me. I read 14 of these books about cute furry people living in a castle and fending off one vermin invasion after another. I got to the point where I couldn't read the next book, Triss, though it is still on my shelf. And now there are a total of 22 of them!
  • Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series: I read the original book, but not its two sequels: The Angel's Command and Voyage of Slaves.

Tove Jansson
  • Moomintroll series: I only missed the first book of the nine, clearly because it was the hardest to get. Its title is The Moomins and the Great Flood.

K.W. Jeter
  • Infernal Devices has a relatively recent sequel, Fiendish Schemes.

Catherine Jinks
  • Actually, I'm all caught up on the series by this author that I had been following, but I've noticed at least one other that I would like to try: a trilogy (I think) whose numbers are How to Catch a Bogle, A Plague of Bogles, and The Last Bogler.

Jane Johson
  • Eidolon series: I missed the third installment, Dragon's Fire.

| K |

Karen Karbo
  • Minerva Clark trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, Minerva Clark Gives Up the Ghost.

Carol Kendall
  • Minnipins series: The prequel to The Gammage Cup and The Whisper of Glocken, which I think I own but haven't read, is The Firelings.

Alexander Kent
  • Bolitho series: There are 29 volumes in this series of naval adventures! Unlike the Redwall series, this is fine with me. When I'm in the mood for historical fiction with a scent of salt air, I just can't get enough. Seriously. I've only read through No. 5 on this list. I would have read more, but I couldn't find them anywhere. I've got a couple of the volumes much farther down the list, but I really want to read them in order. Command a King's Ship is the next installment for me.

P.B. Kerr
  • Children of the Lamp series: I thought it ended after the fifth book, but I was wrong. Books 6 and 7 are The Five Fakirs of Faizabad and The Grave Robbers of Genghis Khan.

Kaza Kingsley
  • Erec Rex series: I have read only two of the six. I think I have Book 3 on my shelf, titled The Search for Truth.

Dean Koontz
  • Odd Thomas series: I missed not only the last book in this oddly-numbered series (Saint Odd), but also a prequel novella, You Are Destined to Be Together Forever.

Caleb Krisp
  • Ivy Pocket trilogy: Book 2 is Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket.

Robert Kroese
  • Mercury series: In spite of being an Facebook follower of this guy, I've only finished reading one of his books so far. It was a lot of fun. Meantime, he has written six more books in this series, including Mercury Falls, Mercury Rises, Mercury Rests, Mercury Revolts, Mercury Shrugs, and prequels Mercury Swings and Mercury Begins. In other titles, I have The Force Is Middling in This One somewhere in my Kindle, mostly finished. My long-term reading list also includes a bunch of his other books, including the Land of Dis, Rex Nihil, and Big Sheep series.

| L |

R.L. LaFevers
  • Theodosia series: I have enjoyed the first two books in this series, but there are two more already: Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus and Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh. I am also interested in trying the "Nathan Fludd, Beastologist" series, starting with The Flight of the Phoenix.

Selma Lagerlöf
  • Nils series: The sequel to The Wonderful Adventures of Nils is, duh, The Further Adventures of Nils. I'm pretty sure I own a copy of it.

A.J. Lake
  • Darkest Age series: I have yet to read Book 3, The Circle of Stone.

Katherine Langrish
  • Troll trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, Troll Blood.

Justine Larbalestier
  • Magic or Madness trilogy: I think I own, but haven't yet read, Book 3: Magic's Child.

M.A. Larson
  • Pennyroyal Academy series: I have only read the first book. Book 2 is The Shadow Cadets of Pennyroyal Academy.

Stieg Larsson
  • Millennium trilogy: I only read the first book. Books 2 and 3 are The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest.

Ingrid Law
  • Savvy trilogy: Book 3 is Switch.

Michael Lawrence
  • Withern Rise trilogy, a.k.a. Aldous Lexicon: I've read the first two books and have owned the third for some time. It's just a matter of getting around to reading The Underwood See. When I'm up for some magical, juvenile fun, I might go in for the 13- (or 15-) book Jiggy McCue series by the same author, with titles such as The Poltergoose, The Toilet of Doom, and The Iron, the Switch, and the Broom Cupboard.

Madeleine L'Engle
  • Time quintet: This series grew from a trilogy to a quartet, and ended up with five books, of which Book 5, An Acceptable Time, has been on my shelf for a while. I may need a little liquid courage to tackle it. My enthusiasm for L'Engle's books cooled a bit after I emerged from puberty. But if it ever comes back, I know she wrote several other interconnected series of books.

Harper Lee
  • Go Set a Watchman, the prequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, came out with more of a whimper than a bang last year. It was actually written (mostly) before the masterpiece across which it cast such a disappointing shadow. I may need to read it in spite of the bad buzz, just to satisfy myself. Still, it leaves me curious what Harper Lee did during her 55-year career as a celebrated author, between writing her second book and belatedly publishing the first. I guess it's an example of the saying that everyone has one great book in them.

Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Hainish series: It's tricky to number these books, but I think I'm four books short of being caught up with this cycle. The next book for me should be The Dispossessed.
  • Earthsea series: Again, I'm not sure, but I think I have yet to read four of these books, starting with Book 5: The Other Wind.

Jason Lethcoe
  • Bartholmew Piff series: I've only read one of the four books, leaving Wishful Thinking, Wishing Well, and Wish You Were Here. I may also be interested in trying his "Mysterious Mr. Spines" and "No Place Like Holmes" series.

Gail Carson Levine
  • Enchanted series: I've only read Ella Enchanted and one of its companion books, but the series continues with Fairest and Ever and goes onto include a prequel, The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre. Then there are still more fairy-tale-based books by the same author, filled with princesses and castles. I don't know how many more of them I can take. But I seem to recall enjoying the ones I read, while I was reading them.

C.S. Lewis
  • Space trilogy: While it would not be true to say I never finished reading concluding installment That Hideous Strength, the fact is, I was re-reading it to prepare for a book review when life as a parish pastor finally became impossible, and I resigned. The whole episode was so painful that it left a bad taste in my mouth for everything I was doing at the time, including reading this book. I've never felt like continuing it since then. Besides which, I wasn't liking it much at the time.

Josh Lieb
  • No particular series: I liked I'm a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President. So far, the only other book by this author is Ratscalibur, but it looks promising.

Robert Liparulo
  • Dreamhouse Kings series: I only read the first book of this now six-book series. Book 2 is Watcher in the Woods.

Sam Llewellyn
  • Darlings series: I have not yet read Book 3, Desperado Darlings. I also wish there would be more Lyonesse books!

Hugh Lofting
  • Doctor Dolittle series: I have only read the first two of the 14 books in this series. If I were to continue reading them, my next installment would be Doctor Dolittle's Post Office. I believe I own a copy of the eighth book in the set, but it would take some collecting to reach the point where I would want to read it.

Lois Lowry
  • Giver quartet: I only read the original book, and I have a copy of Books 2 and 3, Gathering Blue and Messenger, somewhere in my library. Book 4 is Son. That must be a pain to look up in a web search.

David Lubar
  • Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series: For some reason, I own Books 2 and 3, Dead Spy Guy and Goop Soup, but I have never yet wrapped my grubby fingers around Book 1, My Rotten Life. Typical. There are five books in all, but I won't read any of them until I can get hold of Book 1.

| M |

Jonathan Maberry
  • Benny Imura series: After Rot & Ruin come four more novels and two novellas. The next one for me is Dust & Decay.

D.J. MacHale
  • Pendragon series: I stalled in the middle of reading Book 7, The Quillan Games, and there are now three more after it. It isn't quite as dire a situation as with Triss by Brian Jacques or even That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis. More of a case of just not being in the mood. For like, 10 years.

Patricia MacLachlan
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall series: I read the first book because it was an award-winner. I cannot guarantee that I will ever read the other four, starting with Skylark.

Marianne Malone
  • Sixty-Eight Rooms series: I read only the first book of the four. Next in line is Stealing Magic.

Melina Marchetta
  • Lumatere trilogy: Book 3 is Quintana of Charyn.

Ari Marmell
  • Mick Oberon series: Books 2 and 3 of this series of hard-boiled faerie stories are Hallow Point and Dead to Rites.

Melissa Marr
  • Wicked Lovely series: I only read the first book of this six(ish)-book series. Book 2 is Ink Exchange.

Amanda Marrone
  • Magic Repair Shop trilogy: I only read the first book. Books 2 and 3 are The Shape Shifter's Curse and The Master of Mirrors.

Katherine Marsh
  • Night Tourist series: Book 2 is The Twilight Prisoner.

Adrian McKinty
  • Lighthouse trilogy: Book 2, The Lighthouse War, has been on my bookshelf for quite a while.

Scott Mebus
  • Gods of Manhattan trilogy: Book 3 is The Sorcerer's Secret.

O.R. Melling
  • Chronicles of Faerie: I think I have a copy of Book 2 of this quartet, The Summer King.

Colin Meloy
  • Wildwood series: I have yet to read books 2 and 3, Under Wildwood and Wildwood Imperium.

Stephenie Meyer
  • Twilight series: No.

L.M. Montgomery
  • Anne Shirley series: I read five of the eight books. Next up is Anne of Ingleside, which I might have somewhere at home. Again, be careful what you type into a web search. On Fantastic Fiction, clicking on the author page for "M.L. Montgomery" leads to an erotic book titled Hot Pink Passion. Probably unrelated to Anne of Green Gables.

Christopher Moore
  • Grim Reaper series: The sequel to Dirty Jobs turns out to be Secondhand Souls.
  • Love Story series: Typical of the public library, the one book in this series I was able to read was Book 3, Bite Me. The first two are Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck.
  • Pine Cove series: Again, thanks to the public library, I only managed to read Book 2 of this trilogy, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove. The two that I missed are Practical Demonkeeping and The Stupidest Angel.

John Morressy
  • Kedrigern Chronicles: Since I read The Domesticated Wizard, I so wanted to get Book 2, Dudgeon and Dragons, but I've never been able to find a copy that wasn't priced out of my range.

Gerald Morris
  • Squire's Tales: I've read the first five of the 10 books in this series. I'm pretty sure I own Book 6, The Princess, the Crone, and the Dung-Cart Knight, but I can never seem to lay hands on it when I'm thinking about it.

Brandon Mull
  • Beyonders trilogy: Book 3, Chasing the Prophecy, is somewhere on my Kindle. I paid good money for it (unlike most of the stuff on my Kindle). Remind me to read it one of these days.
  • Candy Shop War series: Book 2 is Arcade Catastrophe.
  • Five Kingdoms series: I have only read Book 1, but there are now four of them in this set. Book 2 is The Rogue Knight.

Matt Myklusch
  • Jack Blank trilogy: Book 3 is The End of Infinity. Myklusch has also started a new series called Seaborne, whose first title is The Lost Prince.

| N |

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Witch series: I haven't even read one book of it yet. This is what ticks me off: I went to a lot of trouble collecting second-hand copies of this entire six-book series. And now that I've had to pack, move, and unpack, guess which book I'm unable to find? Yup. Book 1, Witch's Sister.
  • Shiloh trilogy: There are two sequels to Shiloh that I have never read: Shiloh Season and Saving Shiloh.

Henry H. Neff
  • Tapestry series: I've read only two of these five books. Book 3 is The Fiend and the Forge.

Anne Nesbet
  • I already read A Box of Gargoyles, though it was the sequel to The Cabinet of Earths, which I have yet to read.

Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Ascendance trilogy: Book 3 is The Shadow Throne.

Jenny Nimmo
  • Children of the Red King series: I have read six out of eight. That leaves Charlie Bone and the Shadow, which I think I have at home, and Charlie Bone and the Red Knight.

Garth Nix
  • Old Kingdom series: I read three books and thought I was done, but now there are more, including Clariel and Goldenhand, plus a novella, The Creature in the Case.
  • Keys to the Kingdom series: I read five books, and two more remain: Superior Saturday, which I might already own, and Lord Sunday.
  • Troubletwisters series (co-authored by Sean Williams): Book 4 is The Missing.

Mary Norton
  • Borrowers series: It now looks as though I missed Book 5 of this six-book set, Poor Stainless. How did I manage that?

The only surprise here is that "J" wasn't such a big letter, when it comes to series of books I haven't finished reading. I guess it was just the looong list of titles by Diana Wynne Jones that made me think there would be more authors under that initial.

Keep Up with Book Series (Part 3)

Taking the authors whose books I have reviewed in the past in ABC order by last name, my current tally of series of books that I am in the middle of reading stands at almost 90 - an I have only gotten through the D's. Shall we go on?

| E |

Paul England
  • Favorite Operas series: I have the volume on German and Russian composers, but I haven't read all of it yet.

Steve Englehart
  • Max August series: I wasn't aware before now that Point Man was only the first of four "magikal thrillers" featuring the same main character. The other three are The Long Man, The Plain Man, and The Arena Man, and were written about 30 years later than the original book.
Michael Ende
  • No particular series: I've loved the two books I have read by this German author, who died in 1995. I would be interested in reading some of his other books, which (in translation) include The Dream Eater, Mirror in the Mirror, and The Night of Wishes.

Eleanor Estes
  • Moffats series: I have reviewed two of the four books about this family. The other two are Rufus M and The Moffat Museum.

| F |

John Fardell
  • Seven Professors series: The 7 Professors of the Far North has two sequels: The Flight of the Silver Turtle and The Secret of the Black Moon Moth.

Nancy Farmer
  • House of the Scorpion series: The original book has a sequel, The Lord of Opium.
  • Sea of Trolls series: The original book has two sequels: The Land of the Silver Apples and The Islands of the Blessed.

Raymond E. Feist
  • Riftwar saga: Magician, the only book I have read by this author, counts as the first two books of this six-book series. The next installment is Silverthorn.

Jasper Fforde
  • Chronicles of Kazam: The Last Dragonslayer has two sequels that I haven't read: The Song of the Quarkbeast and The Eye of Zoltar. I have been checking regularly for updates on this author's other series, but nothing new has appeared for a while.

Victoria Forester
  • Further to The Girl Who Could Fly, which I loved, there is now a sequel titled The Boy Who Knew Everything.

| G |

Diana Gabaldon
  • Outlander series: If I was going to continue reading this extensive series (which Fantastic Fiction, again, numbers in a confusing way), the next book for me would be Dragonfly in Amber.

Jack Gantos
  • Joey Pigza series: I only read the first two of five books. The others are What Would Joey Do?, I Am Not Joey Pigza, and The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza.

Neil Gaiman
  • Interworld series (co-authored with Michael Reaves): Book 2 is The Silver Dream, and Book 3 (also co-authored by Mallory Reaves) is Eternity's Wheel.

Jean Craighead George
  • Julie series: The Newbery Medal book Julie of the Wolves was the start of a trilogy. Who knew? Books 2 and 3 are Julie and Julie's Wolf Pack. There is also a possibility I may read the same author's four-book series that starts with My Side of the Mountain.

Adam Gidwitz
  • Grimm series: In the series that started with A Tale Dark and Grimm, Books 2 and 3 are In a Glass Grimmly and The Grimm Conclusion.

Cassandra Golds
  • No paticular series: I have only read one book by this author, but descriptions of her other books reveal a very strange and gentle creative mind. I would like to explore it further, starting perhaps with The Three Loves of Persimmon. Note to self: Be careful how you spell this author's name when searching the internet. There's also a "Cassandra Gold" who writes gay erotica featuring werewolves and psychic phenomena!

Terry Goodkind
  • Sword of Truth series: I only had to read the first book (Wizard's First Rule) of this 15- to 17-book series to realize that I wasn't interested in reading further. If I was, the next book for me would be Stone of Tears.

Delores Gordon-Smith
  • Jack Haldean Mysteries: I've only read the ninth and latest book in this series. So to continue, I would have to go back to Book 1, A Fete Worse Than Death. That's not a typo.

Adam Gopnik
  • No particular series: But after reading The King in the Window, I am interested in his other novel, The Steps Across the Water.

Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams
  • Tunnels series: I have only read the first installment in this six-book series. I think I own a copy of Book 2, Deeper.

Chris Grabenstein
  • Mr. Lemoncello series: I have yet to read Book 2, Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics.

Holly Grant
  • League of Beastly Dreadfuls series: Book 2 is The Dastardly Deed.

Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
  • Vampire Empire series: I have read only the first book of the current four, but I look forward to Book 2: The Rift Walker.

Lev Grossman
  • Magicians trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, The Magician's Land.

| H |

Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Palace series: Just Ella turns out to be the first book of a trilogy. Its sequels are Palace of Mirrors and Palace of Lies.

H. Rider Haggard
  • Allan Quartermain series: King Solomon's Mines, so far the only book I have read by this author, was in fact the first installment in a series of 14 books featuring the "great white hunter." Book 2 is called simply Allan Quartermain.

Shannon Hale
  • Books of Bayern: I haven't yet read Book 4, Forest Born.
  • Princess Academy trilogy: I have yet to read Books 2 and 3, Palace of Stone and The Forgotten Sisters.

Victoria Hanley
  • I have read The Seer and the Sword, but not its sequel, The Healer's Keep.

Deborah Harkness
  • All Souls Trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, The Book of Life.

George Harrar
  • No particular series: I just noticed the list of books this guy has written, and their descriptions look pretty interesting. Where have his books been hiding?

Mette Ivie Harrison
  • Princess series: I just learned The Princess and the Hound has four sequels, beginning with The Princess and the Bear.

Michelle Harrison
  • 13 Treasures series: Book 3 is 13 Secrets.

Markus Heitz
  • Dwarves quartet: Book 3 is The Revenge of the Dwarves.

Joseph Helgerson
  • No particular series: Horns and Wrinkles was fun. I might also enjoy Crows and Cards.

Joseph Heller
  • Catch-22 series: Catch-22 has a sequel I still haven't read: Closing Time.

Carl Hiaasen
  • Juvenile series: Hoot has three sequels I haven't read. The first among them is Flush.

Michael Hiebert
  • Detective Leah Teal series: I have only read the first of so far four books in this series. Next up for me is Close to the Broken Hearted.

Michael Hoeye
  • Hermux Tantamoq series: I have read only two of the four books in this series. Book 3 is No Time Like Show Time.

Mary Hoffman
  • Stravaganza series: I have read only three of the six books in this series. Book 4 is City of Secrets.

Charlie Holmberg
  • Paper Magician trilogy: Since I read the first book, I have been trying to find the other two; but again, not even Inter-Library Loan seems able to find them. Books 2 and 3 are The Glass Magician and The Master Magician.

Tom Holt
  • J.W. Wells & Co. series: Unfortunately, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages, which is the only book I have read in this seven-book series, was also its last book. To catch up, I'll have to go back to Book 1, The Portable Door.
  • YouSpace series: I inadvertently read Books 1 (Doughnut) and 3 (The Outsourcerer's Apprentice of this four-book series. Books 2 and 4 are, respectively, When It's a Jar and The Good, the Bad and the Smug.

E.W. Hornung
  • Raffles series: I thought I had read this whole series, but there's a fourth book I seem to have forgotten about: Mr. Justice Raffles.

Anthony Horowitz
  • Alex Rider series: I have read only the first seven of so far 10 books in this teen spy thriller series. Book 8 is Crocodile Tears.
  • Diamond Brothers series: I have only read the first three novels about this crime-solving duo. It turns out there are four more book-length mysteries, starting with Book 4: The French Confection. There are also several sets of short stories, one of which I already have on my shelf: Three of Diamonds.
  • Sherlock Holmes novels: Horowitz has been tapped to continue Conan Doyle's Holmes canon. I have read his first novel in this new series (The House of Silk, but not the short story The Three Monarchs, or the related book Moriarty.

Polly Horvath
  • Coal Harbor series: There's a sequel to Everything on a Waffle that I haven't read yet, titled One Year in Coal Harbor.

John Hulme & Michael Wexler
  • The Seems series: Book 3 is The Lost Train of Thought.

Aldous Huxley
  • Did you know there's such a thing as Brave New World Revisited? I would be more interested if anyone ever talked about it.

| I |

Eva Ibbotson
  • No particular series: This author had two parallel careers - the one, writing goofy ghost stories for children, and the other, writing young-adult romances set in approximately the historical period of World War II. I've read most of the former and a couple of the latter, but there remain some of each that I have not yet read, including The Ogre of Oglefort.

David Ives
  • No particular series: Mostly a playwright, Ives has also penned three books for kids, of which I have read only Monsieur Eek. I am most interested in trying Scrib.

That should do for Part 3. "J" is another big letter, I seem to recall, and "H" was big enough!

Keep Up with Book Series (Part 2)

So, how far behind am I on my reading? Going down the alphabetical list of authors I have reviewed since the inception of The Book Trolley in 2003, already within the A's and B's I have counted a mindblowing 45 series of books (give or take) in which I started to read but haven't stayed current. To be sure, the B's, C's, and D's are three letters of the alphabet particularly fraught with the last names of authors whose books have interested me. So, at the risk of breaking 100 before we even get to E...

| C |

W. Bruce Cameron
  • Roddy McCann series: I just read the first book last month, and the second book, Repo Madness, comes out next Tuesday. So give me a break!

Orson Scott Card
  • Alvin Maker series: I have only read the first of these six books. The second is Red Prophet.
  • Ender Wiggin series: Strictly speaking, there are six books in this series, of which I have only read one (Ender's Game). The second is Speaker for the Dead. There is also a spinoff series of five books starting with Ender's Shadow, which is on my to-read shelf.

Gail Carriger
  • Various series: I have legitimately finished reading her five-book Parasol Protectorate series, a loopy bunch of steamy, steampunk paranormal romantic comedies. I have been looking for a way in to some of the spinoff series, such as the Finishing School series, but the first book always seems to be missing wherever I spot the set.

Kristin Cashore
  • Seven Kingdoms trilogy: I have yet to get hold of Book 3, Bitterblue.

P.W. Catanese
  • Books of Umber trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, The End of time.

Raymond Chandler
  • Philip Marlowe series: Of Chandler's seven completed novels in this series, I have read five, but only by skipping Book 5, The Little Sister, which I have not been able to find even through Inter-Library Loan. Book 7 is Playback. I do have Chandler's short story collection Trouble Is My Business on my shelf.

G.K. Chesterton
  • Father Brown series: This comprises so many books of short mysteries that I'm more than leery of attempting to untangle which ones I need in order to read all the Father Brown stories with a minimum of duplicates. Fantastic Fiction hints the next safe bet would be the 1914 collection The Wisdom of Father Brown.

Cinda Williams Chima
  • Heir series: I am one book short of being caught up with this (currently) five-book series: The Sorcerer Heir.
  • Seven Realms series: I did manage to read all four books of this series, but a spinoff series titled Shattered Realms has started with the book Shadowcaster.

Gennifer Choldenko
  • Tales from Alcatraz: I am missing third book of this trilogy, Al Capone Does My Homework.

Cassandra Clare
  • Mortal Instruments series: I have only read the first three of these six books; on deck is City of Fallen Angels.
  • Infernal Devices series: I haven't read any of them yet, but I have copy of at least the first book in this trilogy, Clockwork Angel.

Henry Clark
  • No series in particular: I just read, and loved, his debut book What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World. I don't know of any connection between it and his follow-up novel, The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens, other than the fact that I plan to read it as soon as I can.

Susanna Clarke
  • No series in particular: The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a book of short stories set in the same reality as Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I've owned a copy of it for a while, and I know just where it is on my bookcase. I don't know what's holding me back from reading it, other than a preference for long-form fiction.

Beverly Cleary
  • Various series: There are just too many titles by this author, and my interest in them is lukewarm. I've read the ones that struck me as important (notably, the Newbery Honor book Ramona and Her Father and the Newbery Medal book Dear Mr. Henshaw). Please, don't hold me to reading all of them!

David Clement-Davies
  • Sight series: I've started reading The Sight; it has a bookmark in it and is close to the top of the wading-poolful of books about which I can say the same. But it also has a sequel: Fell.

Andrew Clements
  • Things trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3, Things That Are.

Chris Colfer
  • Land of Stories series: I have read the first two of five books. The remaining three begin with A Grimm Warning.

Eoin Colfer
  • Artemis Fowl series: I have read the first five of eight books. The remaining three begin with The Time Paradox.
  • Hitchhiker's Guide series: I don't normally take any interest in one author's continuation of another author's series, but based on Colfer's body of work, I wouldn't mind seeing what he did with the late Douglas Adams' universe in And Another Thing...
  • Plugged series: I look forward to reading he second book, Screwed.

Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini
  • House of Secrets series: I got to do a pre-publication review of the first book, but I've lost touch since then. Book 2 was Battle of the Beasts, and Book 3 (co-authored by Chris Rylander) was Clash of the Worlds.

James Fenimore Cooper
  • Leatherstocking series: I happened to read The Last of the Mohicans, only to find out it is the sequel to something called The Deerslayer. Hmmm.

D.M. Cornish
  • Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy: I own, but have not yet read, copies of Books 2 and 3, Lamplighter and Factotum. I am sorry to say, at least the latter (2010) was sent to me as a pre-publication proof. They're huge books full of difficult vocabulary and require an immense attention span. They also contain helpful appendices, such as a map of a world so big and detailed that it's overwhelming, and a glossary whose definitions are full of other terms you have to look up in the glossary, world without end. I found reading the first installment, Foundling, almost but not quite more work than it was worth, and I gave up a short way into Book 2. Yet I keep them around after all these years, too guilty about accepting a pre-publication copy to go back on my commitment to reading them (eventually, even if too late).

Bruce Coville
  • Magic Shop series: Though Fantastic Fiction's numbering of this series is confusing, I gather there are several more books that I haven't read yet, such as Charlie Eggleston's Talking Skull, The Vampire's Tooth, The Mask of Eamonn Tiyado, and Goblins on the Prowl.

Alison Croggon
  • Pellinor series: Though I've finished reading this quartet of novels, there are now a prequel novel The Bone Queen, and a novella, The Friendship.

Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • Arthur trilogy: I think I own, but haven't yet read, Book 3: The King of the Middle March.

Marianne Curley
  • Guardians of Time trilogy: I have yet to read Book 3: The Key.

| D |

Anna Dale
  • No particular series: Having read her first three books, I'm just interested in her fourth, Magical Mischief.

Gitty Daneshvari
  • League of Unexceptional Children series: I enjoyed the first book, and look forward to reading its sequel, Get Smart-ish. While I'm at it, I would also like to try the author's School of Fear trilogy.

James Dashner
  • 13th Reality quartet: I have only read the first book; Book 2 is The Hunt for Dark Infinity. Which sounds kind of like what I'm doing right here.
  • Maze Runner trilogy: Book 2 is The Scorch Trials.

Charles de Lint
  • Cerin Songweaver series: When I read it, I didn't know The Harp of the Grey Rose was the first of a three- or four-book series. The next installment is And the Rafters Were Ringing.

Kate DiCamillo
  • No particular series: I just happen to own a copy of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but I haven't read it yet.

Chris d'Lacey
  • Last Dragon series: I've only read the first two of the seven books. Next up is Fire Star.

Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Sherlock Holmes series: I have read the first five of the eight or nine books in this series. Next up is The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Tonke Dragt
  • Letter for the King series: I have yet to read the second book, The Secrets of the Wild Wood.

Diane Duane
  • Young Wizards series: I somehow missed Book 10, Games Wizards Play. Really!

Alexandre Dumas
  • King's Musketeers series: I still haven't read the sequels to The Three Musketeers, starting with Twenty Years After.

Glen Duncan
  • Last Werewolf series: I haven't read past the first book - and I may not, due to the strength of the sexual content. The remaining titles are Talulla Rising and By Blood We Live.

Jeanne DuPrau
  • Ember series: I haven't yet read Book 4: The Diamond of Darkhold.

Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Wild series: Book 2, Out of the Wild, is another one towards the top of the kiddie-pool-sized pile of books I started to read and stuck a bookmark in so I cold read something else. I'm getting to it. Don't rush me.