The Book Hangover

There is more than one kind of hangover. There’s the one where you go out with friends and having a lot of fun that night and no fun the next morning. There’s the one where you have a really deep and emotional conversation and you wake up the next morning feeling like you’ve been crying for days. And then there’s the one you experience when you finish an amazing book.

For me, there are three types of book hangovers:

THE THRILLER HANGOVER

When I finish a good thriller, if I didn’t see the twist coming, or if I guessed at parts of it, but its so good I am left completely shocked, I don’t even put the book down when I have turned the last page. I go back to the beginning and skim through, looking for clues and signs that I missed. The reason I read so many thrillers is because I love the moment when the pieces fall into place and the whole thing comes together in a big shocking moment. I also love rereading that moment once I have all the pieces and finding details that I missed.

I frequently read this books late into the night and way past my bedtime. And then I have to sleep with the light on.

Three of the best thrillers I have read lately (where I definitely went back because I had to figure out what I missed and see where the pieces were in the story and how it all fits) were:

  • in a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware
  • (unreliable narrator with a head injury and lapses in memory!)
  • The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  • (Old school friends hiding a dark secret!)
  • Believe Me by JP Delaney
  • (Master manipulator is the ultimate unreliable narrator!)

THE WHAT COMES NEXT HANGOVER

Sometimes I find a book with a beautifully written a story and fully realized dynamic characters that I completely invest in. I cannot get enough. I want time to simultaneously speed up (so I can find out how it ends) and slow down (so it never ends). When I get to the last page I’ve been known to stare at the final, blank page hoping that more words materialize and I get to know more: what happens in the “next” part of the story.

These are all YA books but the storytelling, the characters and their relationships are so compelling. All three of these books have upcoming sequels – and I may or may not be planning all day binge reads.

  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • (one of my all time favorite books – Wayward Son out later this year!)
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  • (I loved this book so much I read it three times. In a row.)
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  • (Features two main characters with alternate narration – one of my favorite narrative devices. I am totally going to reread this book right before book 2 comes out – May 21)

THE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GO ON NOW HANGOVER

This kind of book hangover is rare for me. A few years ago, I went on a weekend road trip with a good friend. We went to Maine in January and got snowed in. We spent the day in our little airbnb reading. I was reading fun books but my friend was finishing a big series that she loved. I remember when she finished the book. She staggered out of her room, grabbed a handful of string cheese and could barely find the words to talk about it. But I could see the love and wonder she had for those books all over her face. We spent that night eating a pot roast, drinking wine, and talking about our favorite books for hours. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on.

The first time I fell so completely in love with a book series was Harry Potter. I remember staying up through the night and well into the next day reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, just soaking up every word, everything that expanded this world that I wanted to live in more than anything. I have read this series, all 7 books in a row about 4 times now. I just started the 5th. I have read the individual books countless times. When life gets hard, or my heart gets broken, or I just need some comfort these are the books I reach for. And every time I open one I am back at Hogwarts with Harry and Hermione (my spirit animal) and Ron. And every time I finish one I mourn the fact that magic and Hogwarts are not real.

Last month I gathered and organized all the books I own, but have not read. One of my biggest reading bad habits is YA Series. I tend to buy them all and then not read any of them. This year that changes. I picked the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas to kick off the challenge, because 1. it is so beloved on Bookstagram and 2. That’s the series that won the poll in my stories.

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • A Court of Mist and Fury
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight

To be completely honest, ACOTAR was a let down. But I am nothing if not stubborn, so I kept trucking and started ACOMAF . At some point in ACOMAF (I’m not saying what point, because #spoilers) it was like the heavens opened and I saw the light. The minute I finished ACOMAF I started ACOWAR. I was planning on finishing ACOWAR at some point last weekend. I was going to read for a bit on Friday, then I was going to Do Things. Instead, I spent ALL of Friday reading ACOMAF and the fourth book, the novella ACOFAS. The second half of ACOWAR was everything I love in a book. There was nothing else for me but reading that book. Every now and then I would emerge from the words and text a fellow book friend. I went on Instagram and posted a story asking anyone who read the book to message me so I could yell about it with someone. I spent the next day at work telling anyone who would listen how much I loved this series and how it’s been for me to return to the “real world”.

I have a very ambitious month of reading planned (that just got a little more ambitious, thank you 700 page book that I wasn’t planning on reading but has now jumped near the top of my TBR). I knew then and I know now that I have to dive into another book. But I’m not ready. So of course, I’ve returned to Harry Potter. HP3 is on this month’s TBR so two birds, one stone, I read a book I need to cross off my list and I get a helping hand back to reading other books.