It’s a real thing, you guys.
The other day my friend asked me, “So, what book are you currently reading?” It took me a moment to realize that I’m not reading anything at the moment. Why?
My only explanation was because I was still reeling from the ending of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, the last book I read. Upon further scrutinization, I realized that the other last books I read were Tempting Fate by Jane Green, The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner and Looking For Alaska by John Green.
The gaps and patterns of when I read these were interesting too. I realized I would read books for two to three months straight, stop and then read again. Could this be characterized as a form of binge drinking? Except in my case, it’s reading? But what could have caused this?
I suppose one of the explanations would be is that after reading and enjoying a book, I get a book hangover.
A serious book hangover.
Yes, it’s a real thing!
Falling for a book and its characters, forming an attachment, only to be led to an end; it can take a toll. After reading the last Harry Potter book, all I could think of was, “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” followed by, “That’s it?!?! But what will happen to them now? James, HP’s son is going to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermione’s daughter! Will they become friends, too? Will they end up together? Oh my gosh, my mind is blown! I need to know more! More, I tell you! What am I supposed to do with my life now?!”
To be honest, I’m still reeling the effects.
When a book is so enjoyable, its influence will linger in my consciousness. I try not to, but somehow, I always get attached. Like breaking up with a relationship that wasn’t real, what if, to get over this book hangover, a reader’s mechanism is to read another book?
It can happen. As humans, in this postmodern world, we’re attracted by the allure of escapism from reality, that’s why we love virtual worlds, vacations and other things. Drowning in an imaginary world is fleeting and captivating. But after awhile, you get to a state of burned-outness from reading.
The disappointment from an end of a book leaves you wistful. So much so, that the thought of books makes you gag for a while–much like tuna fish sandwiches or the thought of your high school gym teacher in a speedo–, so you push them away. It’s only when it’s November and you look at your Goodreads account that you realize that you haven’t actually finished your reading challenge, so you finally pick up to start one of the books you’ve hoarded throughout the year.
And the cycle starts again.
So, how do you get out of this funk? I have some suggestions.
1. Have a rebound.
Like in relationships, perhaps you need to read bad literature for a while. You know, the chick lit and other books you hide behind your shelf. Yeah…those.
2. Finish unfinished books.
Don’t tell me you don’t have one! It’s those books you bought for the sake of its pretty illustration cover and then realized it’s just bland. Or those books people gave you as presents. Why do people assume you’d like any sort of book just because you read books, right? I mean, usually I do, but in those rare occasions…
3. Something new.
Admit it, in relationships, someone new is a great distraction to get you back in the dating arena, not in that I would know, I’m only assuming, of course. In the same way, a book from a completely different genre always helps a book hangover.
4. Let it out of your system.
You know how it always feels good to rant about the jerkface who dumped you via text to your girlfriends? Why not spare your friends’ ears and ramble on the Internet? Start a blog, write a ravenous review on Amazon or Goodreads or compose a 146-character, heartfelt yet heartbreaking tweet.
True love waits, and likewise, so does great literature and good writing. A good book, series, characters and plot are bound to come again. They are rare, but yes, like nice guys, they do exist.
Well guys, I think I’ve waited long enough. A girl can only be in a book drought for so long after all. I’ve let it out of my system and am doing some serious rebounding–the greasy bacon and egg sandwich to my book hangover– with Emily Giffin’s The One and Only. I started it this morning before work and while I’m only 65 pages in, I have a feeling this has “Book hangover” written all over it.
Question of the day: Have you ever suffered from a book hangover?