Letter from the editor.


Bookmarks readers have widely varying interests. Some focus exclusively on literary fiction, others on biography, others on nonfiction, and some readers select from all the genres we cover. Those who dabble in crime and science fiction are familiar with what we'll call the Series Dilemma. It actually has two aspects.

The 12th book in a series I've never read just got a great review. Can I start with it? Or do I really need to go all the way back to the beginning of the series?

The first book in the series (or, as is often the case with science fiction, the trilogy) has just come out with great reviews. Should I dive in, unsure if the series will falter?

If you're a reader of crime fiction, I don't think these questions are too taxing. These books are usually shorter and more self-contained, so checking out the initial entry or dipping your toe into book 12 before deciding to go back and read the whole series seems totally acceptable to me. Overall, I'm amazed by the consistency in quality of the longer crime series that we cover. If a series has warranted more than two or three books, there's rarely a clunker in the bunch.

As for science fiction...

I enjoyed Justin Cronin's The Passage (**** SELECTION Sept/Oct 2010) a couple of years ago and was looking forward to the sequel. We've just included reviews of the second book of the trilogy, The Twelve (***), in this issue. They are decidedly mixed. So I'm torn. Should I plow through all 592 pages hoping that...

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