I mentioned previously that I devour books. Seriously, I read incredibly fast. I have friends that envy my ability to read quickly, but they don't realize the amount of money I spend on books - even at the local used book store. As a child in the fourth grade, I was placed in the advanced fourth grade English class because my teachers made the assumption that I was smart rather than just a quick reader. That didn't last long. Material boring? I read faster. Material interesting? I read slower. Do I consciously do this? No, it's all subconscious. Ask me about a horrible book I read and all I could tell you is the basics and that I didn't like it. Now ask me about a book I loved and you'll get all sorts of details.
Typically I read Christine Feehan, Sherilyn Kenyon and Laurell Hamilton. You know, the supernatural soft (and sometimes hard) porn type books. Werewolves, vampires, fey, humans with preternatural abilities mixed in with romance, sex and if I'm lucky some BDSM as well. However I've read all their series and there wasn't anything new by them to read the last time I hit the book store. As I was browsing the science fiction section I came across Busted Flush with George R.R. Martin in bold across the top of the cover. I've read his stuff, liked it and picked it up. It's edited by George R.R. Martin and a collaborative works book. I took it home, read it and realized I was reading book 19!! Oh Gods you are unkind. I hate picking up a book in the middle or end of a series and worse, to find out so after reading it. Idiot. Except for the fact I fell in love with it. It reminded me of X-Men except I don't have to read a comic. I prefer to have the images in my head based on the description of the authors, one of the things I hate about books turned into movies - the characters are never like I pictured in my head.
I liked it enough to go back to the bookstore and pick up book 18 (Inside Straight), then drove downtown to the used bookstore to see what I could find there, and then went home and searched ebay and half.com for more. I was able to pick up books one (Wild Cards Volume 1) and two (Wild Cards, Aces High). A week later while I was cooking dinner, I slide a bowl across the counter and to my surprise, books three (Wild Cards, Jokers Wild) and four (Wild Cards, Aces Abroad) were standing there. My boyfriend smiled at me and said, "I picked you up a present." Squeals came from me in response.
The series originated with an rpg game, SuperWorld, that became a "two-year-long role-playing orgy that engulfed" not only George R.R. Martin, but the rest of his Albuquerque gaming circle. They took their characters and and turned it into a collaborative project, a shared world. A world started in 1986 and is still being created today.
I have read, not devoured but read, the first three and am holding off on the fourth as I don't have any more of the series...yet. It's like the last delicious truffle that you are holding on to because you have no more delectable chocolate of this kind and you want to savor it.