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Old 01-20-2023, 12:58 AM   #1
Fat Abe
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Books in Order (reference on your e-reader)

This is a sign of my Banal-Retentive personality. When I task myself with reading books in order, I need a reference of the titles by year of publication. First, the process begins with searching the internet for lists of books in order. This site is my usual starting point:

https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/

Next step is to copy the list (as best as I can) into a text file, which is edited with Notepad. I annotate the file with ascii characters like $, *, #, etc., to indicate whether a book needs to be purchased, was already purchased, is available on gutenberg.org, etc. This is imported into Calibre, with the text to epub conversion set to not alter font size. The author is changed into Anon or other silly name. Voila, I now have each list in my Kobo reader, ready for reference at any time, without having to fire up my computer to look up the name of the next book to read. Super helpful for the Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels.

Now, it would have been preferable to have an Excel file holding the titles, publication date, author, availability of the ebook formats, ISBN, and other useful info. In the past, this was useful for movies (vhs, laserdisc, dvd, and blu-ray). I would annotate how the film ended, and add keywords, with terms like film-noir. Has any enterprising reader done this for books?
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Old 01-20-2023, 01:32 AM   #2
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You know your Kobo can display the series info, don't you? Why would you need a text file to do it?
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Old 01-20-2023, 04:17 AM   #3
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Or you could just add a number to the title. At leat for books you already own. I did that before I had my Kobo (that as @Sirtel says shows series info).
(I'm like you. I want to read in order! And I've though about creating a file to keep in my reader. I would probably do it in Excel and export it to PDF. So far a thought is as far as it has come.)
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Old 01-20-2023, 05:50 AM   #4
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Copy the series from several book series websites, goodreads, Wikipedia etc and check/compare in text editor.
Add to Comments Metadata in the first book on Calibre, or if you don't have it, then create an empty book.
If you don't have a Kobo, then add(<series> <number) to the title. Series can be abbreviated and even different to "official" name.

Also to be considered is that sometimes the internal chronological order is not the reading order (Publishers renumbered Narnia books, but we know Lewis deliberately had Magician's Nephew as penultimate, not 1st). Sometimes publish order is wrong, like Aiken's Wolves series (1962 - 2003) where she later added in "between books" and recommended reading in chronological order. So research is important.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_A...ves_Chronicles
"Midnight is a Place" seems to take place after all the main series in a rebuilt Blastburn?

Some series like Recluse by Modesitt may be best read in a mix of published order and internal chronology. The Pern (McCaffery) series mostly in publish order, except reverse order to chronological on two of the first six books.

You certainly want to read the original Dune books before later written prequels. Or watch original 3 Star Wars films before later releases.

Last edited by Quoth; 01-20-2023 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 01-20-2023, 07:36 AM   #5
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https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/ is only one place and it has issues:
May not have alternate title for your region or reissue.
May not distinguish omnibus editions of other titles listed
May simply be wrong
Doesn't distinguish original books from books created from stories commissioned for film or TV.
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Old 01-20-2023, 07:59 AM   #6
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If the books were written and released one at a time, published order is never "wrong." I'm not saying no one should ever read books out of publication order, but order is. Right/correct/wrong doesn't enter into it.

The C.S. Lewis case, while compelling, is very rare. I'm going to read series books in the order their authors chose to present them to the reading world. If the authors themselves later want to retcon things by suggesting different reading orders, I don't feel the least bit obliged to comply. Nor am I interested in any "best read/viewed" strategies that others come up with.

Everyone should read a series in any order they wish. Just don't apply labels like "right", "wrong", or "best" to those orders.
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Old 01-20-2023, 08:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
If the books were written and released one at a time, published order is never "wrong." I'm not saying no one should ever read books out of publication order, but order is. Right/correct/wrong doesn't enter into it.

The C.S. Lewis case, while compelling, is very rare. I'm going to read series books in the order their authors chose to present them to the reading world. If the authors themselves later want to retcon things by suggesting different reading orders, I don't feel the least bit obliged to comply. Nor am I interested in any "best read/viewed" strategies that others come up with.

Everyone should read a series in any order they wish. Just don't apply labels like "right", "wrong", or "best" to those orders.
This reminds me of learning that Asimov wanted the last-published Foundation books to be read before the first-published ones because they take place prior in-universe. IMNSHO, publication order is far superior!
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Old 01-20-2023, 09:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
If the books were written and released one at a time, published order is never "wrong." I'm not saying no one should ever read books out of publication order, but order is. Right/correct/wrong doesn't enter into it.

The C.S. Lewis case, while compelling, is very rare. I'm going to read series books in the order their authors chose to present them to the reading world.
I'm not sure it's rare and it's baffling that the publisher very much later reordered it in internal chronological order, which spoils The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The box sets (since 1966?) did originally have the correct order (as Lewis wished and in published order. He'd even held back a finished book to ensure it!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
If the authors themselves later want to retcon things by suggesting different reading orders, I don't feel the least bit obliged to comply. Nor am I interested in any "best read/viewed" strategies that others come up with.

Everyone should read a series in any order they wish. Just don't apply labels like "right", "wrong", or "best" to those orders.
Generally I agree with that. Exceptions are rare. In fact the only ones I can think of to not read in Published Order is the Joan Aiken Wolves series and swapping order of maybe two books in first 6 published McCaffery Pern novels.
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Old 01-20-2023, 09:07 AM   #9
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This reminds me of learning that Asimov wanted the last-published Foundation books to be read before the first-published ones because they take place prior in-universe. IMNSHO, publication order is far superior!
If you liked the first three Foundation books you might not want to read the ones he wrote very much later at the demand of the publisher. Or indeed any of his post 1980 SF.
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Old 01-20-2023, 09:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
If the books were written and released one at a time, published order is never "wrong." I'm not saying no one should ever read books out of publication order, but order is. Right/correct/wrong doesn't enter into it.

The C.S. Lewis case, while compelling, is very rare. I'm going to read series books in the order their authors chose to present them to the reading world. If the authors themselves later want to retcon things by suggesting different reading orders, I don't feel the least bit obliged to comply. Nor am I interested in any "best read/viewed" strategies that others come up with.

Everyone should read a series in any order they wish. Just don't apply labels like "right", "wrong", or "best" to those orders.
If order is, and you don't seem to define order, it seem like it is up to the individual to define what is right and wrong, so order can be right/correct/wrong (relatively)?
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Old 01-20-2023, 09:15 AM   #11
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For books by an author not in a series that I want to read in publication order, I use calibre and the sub-title field on my Kobos. On the Kobo, I use sort by author and then look at the subtitle to determine the next book.
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:25 AM   #12
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If order is, and you don't seem to define order, it seem like it is up to the individual to define what is right and wrong, so order can be right/correct/wrong (relatively)?
Sure. For themselves. Just not universally.

And I DO define order. The Order of books in a series is the order the books were originally released in. People can state their preferred deviations from that, but the order itself is unchangeable. That bell has been rung.
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:39 AM   #13
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If you liked the first three Foundation books you might not want to read the ones he wrote very much later at the demand of the publisher. Or indeed any of his post 1980 SF.
I appreciate the words of caution. If memory serves (which it doesn't always do very reliably!) then I've read them previously, in publication order, which is why I was so surprised to read that the author recommended them in some other order!

I must say I agree with the sentiment that generally, the order in which they were published to the reading world is reliable no matter what the in-universe chronology or author's wishes might ultimately become.

Not to say I'm at all dismissive of other orders – just that I find original publication order to be fairly reliable. For series I enjoy enough to reread, I'm more open to trying something new to see if it lands differently.

Concerning publishers interfering with C. S. Lewis's intended order, is there a reliable way of finding out the “proper” order for books published out of the author's intended sequence? (This does start to blur the line of, “published order is always right”, but I suppose the concession that I'm willing to make is that if it's a big enough deal to the author to try to ensure the books are published in a certain order in the first place, then I'll consider that more than an opinion they gave much later on, as with my Asimov example. )
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:42 AM   #14
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If you really want to have <sarcasm>fun</sarcasm> playing with series order, try figuring out the correct order for the books and stories in Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion saga (and all of the individual series that are a part of that saga). If you choose to do so, I suggest being sure that there are no sharp objects nearby, though a helping of your favorite adult beverage may be helpful.
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Old 01-20-2023, 10:45 AM   #15
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Any librarians in the house? There must be a database of ebooks that the libraries use to decide what to order and when to order it. Did they never graduate from the old Dewey Decimal system on index cards? Google spent millions of dollars scanning most of the published books they could locate. Where's the meta-data in one flat file?
There are a handful of books in the 87th Precinct series that were published in the same year. Amazon and other web sites seem to have these books in swapped order. There has to be a more definitive method of getting the plot order correct. For those who ignore plot order, there are series like the November Man and Matthew Scudder novels where the authors describe acts that can be considered to be spoilers if one reads the books in non-chronological publication order.
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