On Mon­day, C. Alexan­der Lon­don wrote about being an acci­den­tal adven­tur­er. He will be blog­ging all week for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ings Vis­it­ing Scribe.

It’s a flat­ter­ing ques­tion for an author, and one of the many bless­ings of writ­ing series fic­tion. If the char­ac­ters and the sto­ry res­onate, read­ers will demand more. Hav­ing only pub­lished the first book (We Are Not Eat­en By Yaks) in a planned quadrol­o­gy about the TV-addict­ed chil­dren of world famous explor­ers, it is grat­i­fy­ing to know that read­ers are eager for more.

The hype sur­round­ing The Hunger Games tril­o­gy or The lat­est Diary of a Wimpy Kid book or, of course, the moth­er of them all, Har­ry Pot­ter, shows just how eager fans of a pop­u­lar series can be for its con­tin­u­a­tion. Younger read­ers, who strug­gle with the con­stant state of change and loss that is child­hood, yearn for famil­iar char­ac­ters and the per­sis­tent worlds that exist in well-made series. It’s only nat­ur­al. There is a sad­ness that comes with fin­ish­ing a beloved book, whether you’re the writer or the reader.

I grow fond of these char­ac­ters I bring into being,” the acclaimed Eng­lish nov­el­ist, David Mitchell, told an inter­view­er, explain­ing why he brings some char­ac­ters back in book after book. In my adult life I have spent more weeks in [their com­pa­ny] than I have with my own flesh-and-blood par­ents or broth­er. Let­ting them dis­solve into noth­ing­ness feels too much like aban­don­ing an incon­ve­nient cat by a reservoir.”

This dis­so­lu­tion into noth­ing­ness is feel­ing well known to read­ers, the hol­low feel­ing when the pages have all run out; the long­ing for more time in that imag­ined world when the author has no more to say.

Series books can keep this dis­so­lu­tion at bay, for both read­er and writer, for years at a time. It was eas­i­er to bear send­ing Har­ry Pot­ter back to the Durs­leys when you knew he’d be back at Hog­warts in the next pub­lish­ing cycle.

Of course, there is a dark side to the love of these series. A recent arti­cle in the New York­er, Just Write It,” about George R. R. Mar­tin, the author of the Song of Ice and Fire tril­o­gy, describes the mad­ness that can descend on fans when the next book in the series is delayed, how ado­ra­tion can quick­ly turn to resent­ment and the toll that can take on an author’s rela­tion­ship with his readers.

It can be painful for an author, strug­gling to deliv­er. The more suc­cess­ful the series, the more pres­sure the sto­ry­teller is under to meet the needs and expec­ta­tions of fans. And for the fans, there is always the lurk­ing sense of the doom that their beloved world — whether it be Hog­warts or the con­flict-rid­den dis­tricts of the Hunger Games — must come to an end. After the 7th Har­ry Pot­ter book, many peo­ple I know felt a real and pro­found sense of loss.

There is, how­ev­er, a tech­nol­o­gy that has shield­ed the read­ers of one series from this sense of loss: Sim­chat Torah, the Jew­ish hol­i­day that cel­e­brates the com­ple­tion of the read­ing of the five books of Moses.

Every year, Jews read aloud these holy books and every year, at the end of the read­ing of the fifth book, Deuteron­o­my, Moses dies. Moses is the clos­est per­son that Torah has to a pro­tag­o­nist and, by some accounts, is him­self the author of the whole she­bang, or at least, the amanu­en­sis for the Cre­ator. And then boom, he’s dead, after a year of read­ing and study that has cre­at­ed more argu­ments than 1000 Tolkien mes­sage boards combined.

So what do the Jews who have been read­ing this series with more faith and fer­vor than even the most die-hard Twi­light fans do to pre­vent that dev­as­tat­ing feel­ing of completion?

They par­ty and they start over.

Sim­chat Torah, which cel­e­brates the end of the annu­al read­ing of the Torah, also cel­e­brates the begin­ning of the annu­al read­ing of the Torah. After fin­ish­ing the final pas­sages of Deuteron­o­my, the first pas­sages of Gen­e­sis are read. The last breath of Moses goes right into the breath that cre­ates the uni­verse, that brings light into dark­ness and sets off what is, for believ­ers, the first sto­ry ever told.

And then, to top it off, there’s dancing.

That emp­ty of feel­ing you get when you fin­ish a real­ly good book doesn’t ever come, because you nev­er fin­ish. You read it again, and you dance. When the Rab­bis are faced with the inevitable what next?” they can answer with the cre­ation of the world.

This didn’t hap­pen by acci­dent. It was in the 14th cen­tu­ry that the idea of going right into the book Gen­e­sis after Deuteron­o­my was intro­duced. It was an inno­va­tion to give com­fort at the end of read­ing and an affir­ma­tion that study and learn­ing of Torah nev­er ends.

As a thor­ough­ly sec­u­lar author, I do not pre­tend to have illu­sions of holi­ness for my books — there are wed­gies and lizard poop and talk­ing yaks, after all — and I don’t think my books could bear 2,000 years of reread­ing (maybe 200?), but Sim­chat Torah, does offer some help for sec­u­lar authors and readers.

We rely on our own sages of lit­er­a­cy — librar­i­ans and teach­ers — informed, pro­fes­sion­al, and sen­si­tive to the needs of read­ers, to find their own inno­va­tions to keep the cycle of read­ing going. There are sum­mer read­ing cam­paigns and par­ties; there are new social web­sites for book lovers; there are always new series to discover.

No beloved series can last for­ev­er, but a read­ing life can, as one book breathes into another.

C. Alexan­der Lon­don is the author of We Are Not Eat­en By Yaks: An Acci­den­tal Adven­ture, and the forth­com­ing sequel, We Dine With Can­ni­bals. As Charles Lon­don, his grown-up alter ego, he wrote One Day The Sol­diers Came: Voic­es of Chil­dren in War and Far From Zion: In Search of a Glob­al Jew­ish Com­mu­ni­ty