Are you a completist? Do you collect everything in a series? Watch whole seasons of TV shows? Read every book by an author?
I’m more of a dabbler, but there are times I just need ALL of them:
- I have read all the Sue Grafton alphabet mystery novels: from A is for Alibi to the current one, W is for Wasted.
- I’ve read all the books by Douglas Coupland and Nick Hornby, my favourite authors. Even the football ones.
- I have all the studio albums by the White Stripes, The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Tegan and Sara, and Sigur Ros (all of whom are recent bands without huge outputs) – however, I have also collected digital singles, B-sides and EPs by some of them, and everything by Arctic Monkeys!
- I have never watched every season of a TV show. However, I am up to the current season on Game of Thrones, and I hope to catch up on Downton Abbey.
- I am trying to watch all the animated movies by Hiyao Miyazaki (My Neighbour Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, etc.) but there are some obscure ones.
- Shockingly, I have seen all the Harry Potter movies but only read the first book!
- Rom has the extended editions of all the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings movies.
- He also has at least one booster pack of every edition of Magic the Gathering since The Dark expansion. (Kudos if that makes sense to you!)
- We have loads of LEGO sets at our place but have never tried to collect them systematically.
- Acquisition was at its worst when Link was young and it was the height of mania for both Beanie Babies and Pokémon. Link has played every Pokémon video game from Pokémon Yellow Pikachu Edition (1998) to this year’s X and Y.
- When I got an Ice watch, I craved one in every colour. Gotta catch ’em all? I got over it.
- Rom and I have visited every vegetarian-friendly restaurant in our area (all 12 of them) – over 3 years.
- When in Toronto or London, we want to see ALL the concerts and plays and museums, but fortunately, that is not physically or financially possible.
I try to keep my consumer urges in check but sometimes they get the best of me.
What’s your thing? Every colour of a nail polish? Every issue of Hello for the past 5 years? Every episode of the last 4 Dr. Whos? Are you trying every flavour of Lindt chocolate bar? What do have all of, or read or watch all of?
Interesting question. I’ve never really been into collecting things, so definitely not a “completist” in that sense. I’ve never even heard of an Ice Watch… is this a “thing”? And I thought Pokémon was a video game. Anyhow, guess that tells you where I am with that sort of thing! I do have favorite musicians, but can’t say I’ve ever owned everything that a particular band or artist has recorded either.
But I do tend to become obsessed with certain television programs, and have seen EVERY episode, at least once. Star Trek (all of them except for Dork Space 9 and the new one with the sexy Vulcan), Northern Exposure, The Wonder Years (LOVE that show!), numerous Spanish language soap operas, and even a few crazy reality shows that I found on Netflix like Sister Wives and Breaking Amish.
CatMan and I read all of the Harry Potter books (in Spanish) as well as the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy (also in Spanish) and we read a novel and sequel by Isabel Allende (also in Spanish, but we read them out of order because we didn’t know the one we read first was part 2 until after we read it – dammit!) We recently watched all the Star Wars movies (well, not the dopey new ones – just the originals) and the last of the Indiana Jones DVD’s just arrived from Netflix, so I think it’s safe to say that I am a “completist” when it comes to stories – whether they’re movies, books or television.
I guess I get caught up in the characters and want to know what happens to them. Like whenever I watch a film based on real life, I immediately have to go look it up online and find out what happened to all the people in it. But when it comes to collecting things or trying out every flavor of food… meh, sounds like WAY too much work!
I used to love Northern Exposure and The Wonder Years too! I have seen and rewatched all the Star Wars and LOTR/Hobbit movies.
I really love this question for some reason. I have a lot of book series that I have to read every book, but that was the only thing I could think of (since I read this article over an hour ago). Most of the time I just obsesses while I’m interested, but then I’m alright with not trying, owning, or finishing them all. I haven’t even bought a whole cd. I just buy the songs I like off itunes. I guess I’m anything but a finisher at heart. Thanks for this post. It was really interesting to think about
Hi Michele, I am not too obsessive that way. I probably follow up on TV shows the least of anything, but music/albums the most.
I used to be more obsessed with all of the things…for example watching Dr Who every Saturday night. I don’t tend to watch TV series like that any more, as I know I will get obsessed and neglect every other aspect of life!
I had every book in the Discworld series- I say ‘had’, as I’ve now swapped to electronic versions. I’ve never really had that drive to make a complete collection of anything- my excessess of things (such as knitting yarn) have been acquired in a much more random way!
Every Discworld – I am impressed! You raise a good point – there are some things, like yarn, for which it’s impossible to collect every kind, but it must be hard to resist going “over the top” with it!
I always say the words “set” and “limited edition” are a marketers dreams. When used in conjunction even more powerful! I understand the compulsion for completion, but my minimalist side seems to contain it. After too many moves involving boxes and boxes heavy with books I finally ruthlessly paired them down so now I try to limit myself to one small shelf of ever changing favourites.
I think the only “sets” I own would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I don’t know why I keep it, I’ve read it too many times to count, but it is an old paperback version and they are attractive…(excuses, excuses)
However, my son used to be an avid collector and I still have his Pokemon cards in a binder, mineral collection, lego collection… I’m sentimental, it’s much harder for me to divest myself of my children’s things than my own.
For a while I wanted to visit every country in Europe, but I think I’ve beat back that compulsion. This is about compulsive behaviour in a way isn’t it? 🙂
Yes, it is! I am guilty of keeping the LEGO and the Pokemon cards, too. I rarely buy books any more but I’ve kept the existing house full.
Cool question! I have seen every episode in all seasons of: Law and Order SVU (make more rape jokes than I really should as a result – completely not OK!) Sex and the City (France, limited alternatives), Gilmore Girls (I think), Breaking Bad (just finished after Easter), House of Cards etc. Actually now days I watch more ‘all episodes in the season’ cause we have them all on hand. There was even a Canadian rescue show, seen all those eps too!
Alas, I’m not like this with book, though I think I may have read all of Paulina Simons for some strange reason. I have read the majority of the Kay Scarpetta character books by Patricia Cornwell, but don’t like when she ventures off, likewise with Kellerman I think (Dectective Alex Cross?). But my mother reads the latter, so I don’t race out to buy or borrow the books. She has many more crime authors she reads all of, including the A is for, the ones with number (1 for the Money etc… can’t recall the author, but the first book was made into a film not so long ago). Of course, I read all the Harry Potter books!
As a child, I didn’t collect any of the common things marketed at children, other than stamps, which you can’t really get ‘all’ of. I continue to collect holocaust books from around the world (in English) that I get at different Jewish museums. I just buy one that interests me, that I haven’t read, that’s not in my collection, and might be from the ‘home’ country’s perspective. I mean, I don’t have the Diary of Anne Frank, and I won’t be buying it. I’d like to think I’m accruing a library for the future generations… if nothing else, the Jewish museum here could absorb it if they were willing.
Thanks EcoCatLady, you’ve given me some series to look into. There’s little about Amish here, so a series of any sort would re-whet (sp?) my interest.
I completely forgot that I have seen the whole series of Sex and the City (but only one of the movies)! The numbered books would be the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I used to collect stamps, too – maybe it’s a good thing that you can’t collect all of them – it gave me the idea that collections should be finite!
I want to be a completist with book series more than I have time, money or space for. I have always wanted all the Anne books, Secret 7, Famous 5, and Little House. Read and seen all the Harry Potter. And I can’t read a book which is part of a trilogy or small series, unless I’ve read the first one. At uni I bought every book of Evelyn Waugh. And read all of Graham Greene’s work one year.
I’m more a dabbler with TV series. Can’t commit the time.
As to things. I’ve never heard of Ice watches either. And can’t think of anything I wanted to collect
I read most of the Anne and Little House books when I was young (and Little Women) but my interest would trail off as the characters got older. Enid Blyton books were available at the library and I read a couple but they weren’t popular here. I read all the E. Nesbit books and I suppose they weren’t popular either! I definitely always go back to the first book in a series.
This is a good question. Somewhere along the way, I entirely lost any urge that I ever had to complete all of something.
I hate to even start reading books that are part of a series. My spouse hates that I will lose interest in a show or movie 10 minutes before it ends, and go find something else to do.
I guess one exception would be the “Dragon Tattoo” books. I find myself wishing that the Larsson would have lived a little bit longer, so that we could read more of the series.
I hesitate to take on series books and TV seasons, too. But if I spend an hour or more on a book or movie, I will finish it. I wonder if Stieg Larsson’s estate will eventually allow someone to continue his series?
Great topic! I think I’ve seen all episodes of most public broadcasting series over the years, going back to the original John LeCarre spy shows. Downton, of course. I have all of several authors including Wendell Berry, MFK Fisher, Laurie Colwin and others. All of Harry Potter, but I think I’ve missed the final movie. We still have all of LM Montgomery in paperback as well as other young adult series; can’t part with them.
Have you seen “Spirited Away” yet? It’s our favorite Miyazaki, so strange and beautiful.
I have seen Spirited Away; it was the first of his movies to make a big impact in North America. I would have a hard time choosing among my three favourites among Miyazaki’s work: Totoro, Kiki or Princess Mononoke. I am sorry to say I haven’t read anything by the authors you mentioned. What would you recommend to start with?
My husband and I have a few series of books that we read as they come out – mysteries, all of them, because they are quick. And at work we always trade complete sets of programs back and forth.. like Downton Abbey, 24 and Deadwood. My kids – one collects books and the resulting movies (Harry Potter), Stuart MacLean and his CDs and podcasts, and the other one collects Briar horses to soothe her horse addiction (3 of the real thing aren’t enough).
They all sound like manageable collections. Trading is a great idea. Better than collecting real horses? Rom has capped his guitar collection, for now, anyway.
My son still has all his Pokemon cards tucked away in case they are worth something one day!! I have a loft full of Osmond records! Thanks for the heads up on Sue Grafton who I have never heard of before, i checked our Library online and they have many of the titles so I am going to borrow ‘A’ to see if I like her style of writing. Will have plenty to read if I do! Just finished Dr Zhivago and that was quite a slog so looking for an easier read for a while. Thanks for a great blog.
Hello! I will have to warn you, the A is for Alibi book isn’t very good and it didn’t make me want to read the series. B is for Burglar is much better and they keep getting better from there on! You might just want to read a plot summary or a review for A and jump to B. Dr. Zhivago! That is a stretch. I love Russian literature and I hope to read more of it when my current reading project is finished.
I’m embarrassed to admit how many TV shows I’ve watched in their entirety: The West Wing, Castle, Alias, Friday Night Lights. The Wire, SATC…..I could go on! We own a few of them too. I’ve also read all of the Twilight books.
Box sets are probably the only thing I hold on too.
I would actually like to watch more TV shows on DVD. You can choose the series, not have to wait for new episodes, watch it on your own schedule, take breaks, etc. – makes perfect sense to me. I would especially like to go back and watch The Tudors, and Portlandia.
Will give ‘A’ a go now has have paid a small deposit for them to get it in from another branch but thanks for the advice.
Kinsey Millhone is one of my favourite fictional characters ever.
I’m chuckling at all of the Downton Abbey addicts. I watched season 1 and concluded that it was essentially just like a Spanish language soap opera, only set in Edwardian England! Seriously, the themes were remarkably similar!
It made me think of old shows like Upstairs Downstairs and Peyton Place. I thought Season 2 was over-the-top with its plot twists, but I still enjoy it!
Downton Abbey is shown on a Sunday night over here. I leave hubby downstairs and watch it on catch up with one of my cats Dozer. Mr Selfridge is also a good one to watch if you come across that, also watched on catch up with Dozer. He likes a good period drama you see x
Have you been watching Downton since the beginning? I just started watching it on DVD this year, so I have all 4 seasons to catch up on! One of my cats likes TV too!
I am definitely a completist; books, TV, movies and craft supplies. For favorite authors I will find a bibliography so I can check the books off as I acquire them. I keep this in check (some what) for new authors by convincing myself that if the library has it I don’t need to buy it. Yay for libraries!
You know, if I was more of a completist, I would be less overwhelmed by new authors, movies, TV shows, etc – I could stick to my lists and try something new occasionally. There’s a lot to be said for that! Are you tough enough to put your name on a holds list for a new book by one of your favourite authors at the library? At my library it’s typical to get lists of 400 people for a bestseller (we would then buy at least 40 copies of the book).
Wow, 400 on a waiting list! I’ve been on a few long lists, I think 80 was the longest. I am pretty patient though. I don’t need to read something the minute it comes out.
Funnily enough for someone who ‘doesn’t watch TV’ it seems after all that I’ve watched plenty of TV in my time! And very much a completist. I think I’ve watched every episode of: Seinfeld, everything ever from Monty Python, Black Books, The Office (UK Version), Get Smart, Flight of the Conchords, Game of Thrones, Cheers, Dr Who (Tom Baker years), the 7 Up Series (to 56), several Amish ones – arrgh, the list goes on (and on!)
With books I’m also very much a completist. Last year was all of the Deltora Quest books (read aloud with my son), there was a phase years ago of the Patricia Cornwall ‘Kay Scarpetta’ books, all the Bryce Courtenay’s; nowadays, Geraldine Brooks, Margo Lanagan…
Music again – completist, but I won’t fess up to my full collections in front of a serious music buff 😀
Interesting question and interesting to see the elements lots of us have in common!
I guess I have seen more TV shows than I thought – Game of Thrones, Season 1 of Flight of the Conchords, The Office (UK only) and all of the 7 Up series, too!
Fiona, you can’t imagine how silly my music collection is – that’s the fun of it! Everything from Buddy Holly to Abba to Black Sabbath to Raffi!
Lol…but I bet there’s very little U2 (completionist – guilty!) and (cough, cough) Dire Straits!
I love those bands. I saw U2 live in 2011. Every time I hear “Sultans of Swing” it sends a shiver up my spine. One of the best pieces of guitar playing EVER.
Cool question! I’ll complete a series only if it holds my interest – not just in an effort to finish the series. I’ve read way too many books series to list and plenty of the ones already mentioned: Little House, Harry Potter, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but have started and not finished tons as well: Twilight, The Hunger Games, Chronicles of Narnia. My interest holds even less for music and tv shows. Though my husband and I have watched all of Lost twice now, first online/TV and then again when we were gifted the complete box set.
I often just read the first volume of a series to see what it’s like and stop there (Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games). I have read all the Hitchhiker’s Guide, though! And have never seen Lost.
If it’s a series I usually try to read the whole thing if it’s interesting. Having said that I really loved the first 4 Harry Potter books but by the time the 5th one came out I lost interest. It’s on my list of things to do but I have to re-read them all as I don’t recall most of it.
I am one of the few people in the world who didn’t like the Harry Potter books. I made it through one and a half.
I thought that would be me until I picked the first one up.
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