Zoë Marcel writes in …
I have a bookish problem! What should I do when I’ve just finished a book and am still so in the book that I can’t read anything else cause it is not that book?
Brea: I would start by thanking the book gods for sending you such a glorious book. Seriously, if only all art affected us like this, what a wonderful world we would live in. People usually ask us about books they don’t want to finish, not the books that they are sad they did finish. So, you have found a true jewel of a book! Congratulations! What a joy!
Mallory: But how that joy quickly turns to longing. The dreaded book hangover! I get this all the time! Whenever this happens to me, I take a hard left turn and read something completely different. If it was a horror book that ruined me, I’ll read a western. If it was a literary fiction book, I’ll read a poetry collection, and so on. I’ve found that when I finish a book so fantastic that I want to swallow it whole, all I want to do is to read something exactly like it. The problem is that nothing will satisfy in the exact same way. So, I have an easier time getting into the next book if it is, as the Monty Python folks would say, something completely different and I cannot compare. If there is an author or a genre in your To-Be-Read list that you’ve been meaning to check out, go for it! Dip your toe into the world of romance, or YA, or essay collections.
Brea: If this is an ongoing problem—as in, every single time you put down a book, you just want to read that book again—maybe it’s time to invest your reading time in a series. Then you will get three or six or even ten books with Jack Reacher, Harry Potter, or Sarah Kuhn’s snarky heroines, Evie and Aveda. You can even start a series that is already three books in, knowing you will get to watch these characters learn, grow, and hopefully never die.
Mallory: I’d also recommend a different book format! It’s time for something new! This is a great moment to try an audiobook or an audio drama. Having your next book be in a completely different format than the book that gave you the hangover will help get your brain into a completely different space. If it doesn’t, at least you’ll be able to listen to a book hands-free and embroider an elaborate needlepoint tribute to the book that you’re still hung up on. Now’s the chance to use that free Audible one-month trial or sign up for a library card. Graphic novels are another cool way to shake things up! Trying out something new can be the aspirin and ice pack for your book hangover.