The Book Hangover

April 29, 2014

You might have heard about it.

I had always felt that it was an exaggeration, as each time I finish a book, I happily move on to the next one. A few weeks ago, however, when I finished reading a 900-pages book, I experienced profound sadness. And I almost felt ashamed of it. As if the world isn’t plagued with enough issues, there is me bemoaning the fact that there were not enough pages in my book. It is not as if the book was a masterpiece or the best thing I had ever read, but I found glimpses of truth in it and, quickly after finishing it, I found myself thinking about it while getting coffee or carrying my groceries. I even animatedly talked to friends about one of the characters. Regularly.

Right?! Illustration by Nicola O'Byrne for the book Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite (Author Nick Bromley)

Right?! Illustration by Nicola O’Byrne for the book Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite, 2013 (Author Nick Bromley)

Although at first I felt uncomfortable about my discomfort, my initial feelings of guilt are gone. Because 900 pages are sort of a big commitment. And I showed up for each of those pages. I became attached, involved, invested. And so much life has happened as I turned those leafs.

So I decided to address the issue and, as every responsible person would do, I sought professional help for my book hangover situation. That means that I googled it. And I actually got some really good suggestions:

‘Start a new book’  I did, but I found myself wondering about the fate of the characters of the old book during the first pages of the new book, so that did not work out very well. And then I was really judgmental and unfair with the new book: ‘That book’s character would never do this and that writer would never use such weak metaphors.’ And that was not true. But I did abandon it after the first pages.

‘Re-read the book’ This advice I did not even bother to follow because everyone knows that nothing is as good the second time around.

‘Discuss the book with friends’ The book was not exactly a new title, and it was 900 pages long so, practically speaking, I could not get a friend to read it overnight. But I found that speaking about books in general with people who love reading and treat fictional characters as real individuals lifts me up.

So I did not find a quick fix for my book hangover and, although I am an unrepentant runaway, addicted to the dope of literary escapism, it took a while until I embarked on a new reading journey. I just paused to experience the temporary nature of things. Of happiness, of safety. Of fictional universes you can no longer inhabit. And I am an advocate for a lot of causes around difficult issues which impact my country, but when a book you really connected with ends-that’s hard too. Because it involves loss.

And that’s life for you. Losing something in order not to feel lost ourselves.




Did you enjoy this post?
Stay in touch!
Don't miss new content on the blog, upcoming workshops, book giveaways and creative writing competitions.


  • Shana Miller

    I can relate intimately with this situation!! I experienced that just recently as well! Im finding it irritatingly difficult to connect as thoroughly with another book!

    • Louiza

      Exactly, Shana! Did you wait too for a while until you started reading a new book or did you use any other ways to treat the ‘book hangover’?

  • Beatris

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could
    be a great author. I will make certain to bookmark your
    blog and definitely will come back someday. I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a nice morning!

Leave a Comment

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie