Discussions & Rambles // How much can a favorite series impact you, and why?

I remember the exact moment I finished Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

I remember precisely where I was, how I felt, and what kinds of emotions I was going through. Reading that series over the course of a month was one of the highlights of my time as a young reader, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget how special those moments of reading were to me. 

With all the news about Percy Jackson being adapted by Disney+, this got me thinking… how much can a favorite series impact us, and why? 


Although Percy Jackson and the Olympians is not my #1 favorite series, it is a series I still hold close to my heart. The Lightning Thief is one of the few books I’ve read 5 times, and I will not hesitate to make that a 6th time. 😌 But why does it mean so much to me now, still eight years later? 

Life Circumstances

I think, for a lot of us, books can affect us depending on our life circumstances. I’m talking about where we are in life, and all of the other factors that could potentially change the way we think back on our lives. 

When it comes to nostalgia for our favorite books, we’re often referring to a book we read when we were a lot younger, perhaps between the ages of 8 and 14. During this time, maybe those favorite books helped us deal with growing up or with school. Or, maybe they were some of the first books we ever read, and those books opened up a world of possibilities which lead us to where we are today.

harry potter GIF by Box Office

There are so many different circumstances which would have lead to what makes us who we are as readers, but as lot of our favorite books are a big part of the path which lead us here.

I don’t mean to sound all mushy about this, but I think it’s true for a lot of people. I mean, who would I be without Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games? I guarantee you, I would not be here on this blog without them.

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Comparisons

More often than not, I find myself comparing books and series to my other favorite books depending on the genre. “This book ended just like that other book,” I sometimes think to myself. “It was too similar, but not as good.” The most recently read similar book is usually the lesser of the two. But why? 

It think it all depends on what we’ve experienced in life so far. When I read Harry Potter for the first time, it was my first Fantasy series, and every Fantasy book I read after that was automatically compared to Harry Potter. Not because I was super biased or anything, but because Harry Potter was the beginning of my knowledge of Fantasy. I had nothing else to compare it to! 

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If you’re anything like me, perhaps you make comparisons between certain elements of your favorite books, for whatever reasons. For example, I often make comparisons between mystery books, depending mostly on the way the mystery unfolds or how predictable the plot is. 

The predicability of a mystery is a trait specifically connected to mystery stories, and for me, it’s really easy to compare this trait against other mystery books I’ve read. But I wouldn’t be able to compare anything if I’d only ever read one mystery!

In addition to making way too many comparisons for my own good, I also tend to compare one series to another based on character arcs and the overall story throughout the series. Certain traits are almost always guaranteed to make me happy about a series, and that leads to my next point…

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Particular Traits

There are certain traits I will always love, and even if all of my favorite series have these same traits, I will still love them all, no matter how similar they are. 😌

Traits I love in a series:

  • Friendships!! 💕 I love close friend groups, especially when they just get closer throughout the series. 
  • Unpredictability! I love surprises and twists! 
  • Relationships! Not specifically romance novels, but 😌 I do love a good slow burn romance side plot. 
  • Reoccurring jokes and side plots! 
  • At least one snarky character!
  • Character arcs and redemption!
  • Increasingly interesting main plots for each book!

When it comes to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, for example, all of the above things are in that series… and I love it for that. 

Series with most or all of these traits are almost guaranteed to make me fall in love with it. Standalone books with these traits are also good, but when a series delivers these traits several times over the course of many books… that’s just *chef’s kiss*. 

Reading a series is like binging a TV show for me. I love reading all of the books back to back, or within a few months.  

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Nostalgia and Longing 

I think the biggest thing that impacts me is just the nostalgia. 

Most of my favorite series today are the ones I read when I was a lot younger, and they were basically the first series I ever read. Their lasting impact on me has a lot to do with the fact that they were my first, and I am forever grateful for that. 

These series aren’t perfect. If I read them for the first time today, I’m sure I wouldn’t love them as much. But they’re important to me, in my mind, because they made me the reader I am today. 

harry and hermione GIF
Me, hugging all of my books
I also believe that, at least for me, there’s also an aspect of “longing for the past” when it comes to those series. Using Percy Jackson as an example again, I was 12 when I finished the series, and I wish I could go back to that state of mind and enjoy it all over again. I wish I could enjoy myself and my reading again like that. Rereading The Lighting Thief over and over makes me feel like I’m a kid again, and it just gives me a warm feeling of comfort. 😊

Of course, this doesn’t always apply to the series we recently fell in love with, but sometimes it does. I read Strange the Dreamer last year, and I already feel a sense of nostalgia for last year and my first time reading it. Strange the Dreamer gives me a sense of comfort, too, and I was just a slightly younger adult when I read it! 

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What are your favorite series? How many of them did you read as a kid? Do you think they impacted you in a big way?

Chat with me about it! 


You can also be my friend on Goodreads!

Happy reading, everyone! 💕 Have a lovely day! Stay safe and healthy!

Starry Sky Books-13

 

25 thoughts on “Discussions & Rambles // How much can a favorite series impact you, and why?

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your favorite, formative series! When I think of books I love, I think of books that have little pieces of something that speaks truth to me; I think of discovering many pieces of what adds up to my truth, scattered throughout the library as I read my way through life. A book that I LOVE is a book that has a major concentration of this truth, rather than just bits and pieces – and it is told in such a way that I want to take it on as my own and live it out, however I can. Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, and Nick Bantock were each major influences in shaping my mental world.

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  2. Ohhh this is amazing!! There are so many series that have impacted me over the years, and I think a big part of that for me is the life circumstances – many of them I read when I was younger, and now there is a lot of nostalgia attached to them (definitely Harry Potter and Percy Jackson for me too). I agree that I probably wouldn’t love them as much, or in the same way, if I read them for the first time today, but that’s okay! They’re part of my personal history and, like you said, they made me the reader I am today.

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    1. Thank you!! I think nostalgia is one of the biggest reasons why I still adore my favorite books from when I was younger, but I’m also glad that books like Percy Jackson are still fun to read, even though I’m so much older. My favorite childhood books inspired me and made me the reader and writer I am right now, so they definitely hold a special spot in my heart.

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  3. This is such a great post ❤ I love all those traits in Percy Jackson ❤ and I totally agree that nostalgia probably plays a big part; Harry Potter is undeniably an amazing series and if I read it for the first time now I would probably like it, but since it holds so much childhood nostalgia I just love it forever ❤

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  4. All the Harry Potter gifs definitely brought back that childhood nostalgia wow <3.
    For me nostalgia is probably the biggest thing I remember with books that have impacted me. Harry Potter especially is one of the only books that has that magical feel to it, even though I loved so many others at that age! I love getting that same feeling when I’m rewatching the films or reading the books for the hundredth time (or when I’ve been to the studios – would love to go to Universal where that would be amplified even more?!).
    I don’t tend to get that same feeling anymore but I definitely am impacted by books! The Six of Crows duology has definitely impacted me & The Hate U Give too – both for totally different reasons.
    Loved reading this post!💗

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    1. Other than books I love for nostalgia reasons, I would love to feel impacted by some newer books, too! I’ve heard so much about Six of Crows, and I can’t wait to read it! I also have yet to read The Hate U Give, but I’m planning on reading it soon as well. Thank you!

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  5. Yet another amazing discussion post. Yours are the posts I just want to sit down with some snacks and just *enjoy* and ponder on for ages. honestly.

    So true about Life Circumstances and also Nostalgia. Some of my fave series are from when I was a teen, waaaaay back (okay not that long but also like, that long) when I would smuggle books under my covers after my bed time with a flash light. Reading the books now, I pick out flaws in the writing, in the plot, in the characters’ motivation. But my love isn’t diminished because that nostalgia is so strong. I grew *up* with those books. We went through so much together. I talked to those characters when I had a bad day at school, or I was grounded. They’ve become real people to me, something that the books I read today don’t as much because I’ve already got my crew. Again like you say– we’ve already picked our fave series, the ones that standout, a little comparisons sneak in.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sha! That really means a lot to me. ❤️

      I remember reading under the covers quite often when I was younger! That was a great time in my reading life. I agree, it’s a lot easier to notice the plot and character flaws now, especially since we’ve read so many books since then, but I still love my favorite childhood books. Those books are a huge part of who I am as a reader today, and I feel like I would have been a different person without them!

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  6. I feel like the time in your life that you read a book is SO important! Like a book could be absolutely rubbish & you could 100% know this but then there’s this little thing that just perfectly relates to your life at that moment & you’re like screw this I’m balling my eyes out this gets a million stars.
    Great post 💕

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  7. I completely relate to this post. My first two series are still and always will be my favourites – it doesn’t matter how much time goes by or what I read after, because they just mean the world to me. The Morganville Vampires is the first proper series I read – I devoured all 15 (15!!!) books one after another and it made me feel as though I was actually part of the story and the world. A little piece of me will always live there, and every time I reread the first book I’m instantly transported back to my first bookish home. The Chronicles of Ixia was the first fantasy series I read, and I automatically compare every fantasy to it.

    And more recently, I love The Illuminae Files because it was the spark that caused me to join the bookish community, and led me to where I am now! I loved reading this post, it made me experience all the feelings for my own favourite series, and I think pretty much any reader out there could relate. Another great discussion! 😄❤

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    1. Thank you, Abi! 💕 And wow, 15 books is so many for just one book series! I would have been so intimidated by that, haha. On the other hand, 15 books also seems like a great way to get to know the characters and feel for their story, so perhaps that’s why you loved it so much!

      I have read the first two books in The Illuminae Files, and I loved them so much! I’ve been putting off the last book because I don’t think I’m ready for it to end! I’m glad you loved it, though, and that it brought you into the community. 😊

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  8. This is such a well written post!! Nostalgia is a huge factor I think, and also what we value most in a book. The books that impact me the most often have characters that I can relate to lot or at least some sort of story arc I relate to?

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  9. My main two fav series would have to be Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. (shout to the Morganville Vampires series though by Rachel Caine!) All three of these series were with me throughout secondary school, so they really helped me get through some of my rougher years in terms of mental health. Morganville Vampires was a series full of friendships, witty characters and I just really fell for the main characters. Chicagoland Vampires is an adult series that I found in my library when I was 11/12 and I didn’t realise it was adult, as my parents have never controlled what I could and couldn’t read I just gravitated towards books and they were like sure xD

    Anyway that series is one that’s super close to my heart, I fell hard for the world, the characters and the way each book had it’s own focus that managed to feed into a larger plot. I laughed, cried and looked forward to when a new instalment would come out each year. TID was a series I discovered when I was around 12 I believe, there was something about the characters that just felt like I was being wrapped in a warm hug when I needed one the most.

    For Chicagoland Vampires as well I adored the slow burn romances I think I’ll always be a huge fan of slow burns xD They just make me fall even more for the series haha. Lovely post Xandra ❤

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