This past weekend I read a great book and I have a book hangover!
I’ve experienced such an event many times in the past, but I’ve never attempted to write about it. So . . . I googled the words “book hangover” to make sure I had accurate information before confessing to such emotions.
I soon realized that there are many types of hangovers that don’t involve alcohol or any other substance abuse, but the effects can be just as unpleasant; and a book hangover is only one of many that can make a person feel as if they’re in a boat without a rudder in an ocean of waves.
A book hangover is defined as the condition one experiences when finishing a book causes a psychological effect—either good or bad—resulting in the person wanting to remain emotionally immersed in the story.
It usually lasts from a few hours up to a couple of weeks, depending on the severity of the emotional response, usually psychological distress, resulting from reading that last page. The cure is often one of two things: 1) replacing that loss with a book of higher quality to erase the distress, or 2) “time heals all.”
The usual symptoms can be quite severe—crying, irritability, anger, inability to express those feelings to loved ones or the opposite effect of an irrational elation that colors the world around you and everything you do. The primary result of a book hangover, however, is the inability to pick up another book. Starting to read another book can seem like a betrayal of either the author, the characters that you emotionally connected with so well, or both.
That’s where I am today! I liked how the author treated the subject matter so much that I want to savor that experience and carry it with me a little longer before washing it out of my brain.
I usually write during weekdays but read on the weekends, and I always have another offering in my “book pipeline” that’s next on my reading list. I must admit that I don’t want to read anything else at present! Maybe time will remove the feeling and, by the weekend, I’ll be ready to pick up that next book on my “to read” shelf and dig right in. Right now, however, I can’t commit to that.
I’m even having trouble getting back to my writing. I was supposed to continue the editing on my next novel that’s coming out this summer—the sequel to my Lethal Medicine thriller—but I simply had to finish reading this book first and now I can’t seem to extricate it from my mind.
So what was this book that intrigued me so much? The events leading up to reading this book actually started about a month ago when my wife finished Inside the O’Briens written by Lisa Genova. My wife praised the book and said that I might enjoy it. I read it and certainly did enjoy it . . . so much so that I ordered another one of Ms. Genova’s books, Still Alice.
Still Alice is the book that’s left me with such a hangover. Ms. Genova’s fictional treatment of a very real, extremely devastating disease that ruins not only the lives of patients but the family and friends around them. The plot involves a person navigating the progression of early onset Alzheimer’s disease and the emotional connection the author achieves with her readers is stunning. That’s not only my opinion but it stems from the many glowing reviews this book has received.
I must admit that I might have been a bit more invested in the characters since I have a friend who is a caregiver to both of her parents who have Alzheimer’s disease. This friend is writing a book that guides caregivers to a better understanding of how to deal with the extensive issues involved in managing loved ones who slowly become mental shells of what they once were. I’m offering some editorial and composition support to her book project and possibly that’s a major contributing factor why I can’t get this book “out of my head.”
At any rate, I loved the book and this author’s writings. I suppose the best thing I can do now is get right back on that proverbial horse and find another book that intrigues me—possibly an epic thriller may be just the hangover remedy I need at this point. Any suggestions?
Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!
~ ALMOST DEAD ~
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Erudite as always, James. Thank you. I didn’t read the book (should have) but the movie ‘Still Alice’ was exceptional. Julianne Moore’s riveting portrayal of Alice won her best actress awards from the Oscars, BAFTA, Golden Globes, SAG and Critics Choice.