Friday, June 24, 2016

Discussion Posts: How I Avoid Book Hangovers

Hi Friends,
It's time for another edition of My Thoughts Figuratively, a discussion post on My Thoughts Literally where I present my opinions on something other than books. I mean obviously it has something to do with bookish things but it's not a review. You get the picture.

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about book hangovers. If you are not familiar with the concept, (seriously? how are you not familiar with this?) it is the idea that when you finish with a particularly fantastic book you are not able to move on from it and it prevents you from reading and enjoying something else. Basically you are so hung up on that other book that you can't get it out of your head.

And the reason I wanted to talk about book hangovers is because in talking to someone about the book they had just finished, I realized I don't really get book hangovers. I honestly can't remember the last time I was so in love with a book that I couldn't read anything else. And the last time I loved a book so much it ruined the next book I read was months ago when I read The Raven King. I've read books I've loved since then but they didn't give me a book hangover.

Maybe this is because I am emotionally dead inside (which I really doubt because I'm a big old crier) or maybe it is because of these five things I do as a reader that helps me avoid book hangovers. Now because I don't believe in keeping my mouth shut about practically anything, I thought I would share these tips with you.

1.) Book Polygamy

What it means: I'm sure if you have been around for awhile you have heard me talking about book polygamy. If you haven't here is my discussion post about that. But the general idea is that you read more than one book at a time. I am a big practitioner in book polygamy and have been since I was a kid.

Why it helps with book hangovers: I feel like the fact that I am reading more than one book is one of the main reasons I don't get book hangovers. When I devote all my time and energy to one book that is when I am much more likely to be able to let it go. Whereas if I am spreading my thoughts around to multiple books it is more likely that I am able to move on when I finish a book that I love. It's pretty easy to focus on the next book when you're already half into it because you've been reading it at the same time.

2.) Gush With Other Readers

What it means: It's pretty self-explanatory but the idea is that once you finish with a book, you talk about it as much as possible with someone who has also read it. Get all those thoughts out there in the universe. Gush, vent, theorize, talk about what you feel and all the amazing, spoilery things that you thought about the book with friends you know have read the book.

Why it helps with book hangovers: This sounds counter intuitive doesn't it? But trust me when I say it really does help. Part of what I think causes book hangovers is when you sit with your thoughts of a book for too long. If you don't actually get the book out of your head then you will not be able to get the book out of your head. Doesn't sound so crazy now, does it? So find those people who you know read the book and felt the same way about it and spill your guts. Being able to babble and fangirl about it will also help in getting you to the next step as well.

3.) Catharsis

What it means: This goes hand in hand with the above point but it's more individual. Catharsis is the feeling of emotional release when you get something out that you have been feeling. Bookish catharsis is similar. You know what I mean, don't you? When a book makes you so sad that you just want to lay in the dark sobbing. Or it makes you so happy that you want to dance around hugging it. Or that cliffhanger makes you so angry you want to rip the book into pieces. Do all of those things. Get all of that out. (Except the ripping of books one).

Why it helps with book hangovers: Again seems counter intuitive, although maybe not as much. But it goes with what I said above. If you are not able to get a book out of your head it's because you haven't physically been able to get it out of your head. The emotions and feels are still in there and you need to get them out with a cathartic release before you can start something else. The above is more about plot stuff and spoilers where this is more about emotions. Bottling them up and not thinking about them will lead to repressed emotions that lead to a book hangover. So get it all out and then you will feel better emotionally about the book and are less likely to get a book hangover.

4.) Compartmentalize

What it means: Well this is kind of the opposite of the two previous ones. Compartmentalizing means not thinking about something that is bothering you. You put it in a box/compartment and then don't think about it ever again. Bookish compartmentalizing means not thinking about that book that you loved which will inevitably lead to you getting a book hangover. This is something that I have always been really good at doing. I think partially it's the book polygamy and I think it's also partially the next thing. Now a little disclaimer on this, I'm not saying never think about this book again. You can and should positively look back on books that you loved but don't fixate on every detail and how no other book can stack up. Compartmentalizing should just leave you with general feeling and not specific ideas that you can't let go of.

Why it helps with book hangovers: Remember everything I said about bottling up your emotions? I lied. Bottle that shit up. Don't think about it again after you finish the book. I know, it's easier said then done. But I think if you did gush about the book with friends and you had a cathartic release then you should be able to move on from there. I think being able to compartmentalize and move on from a book is what really prevents book hangovers. It's like drinking water and taking two aspirin of reading.

5.) Start Something Else Immediately

Except you're getting a new book. And maybe also cheese fries.
What it means: It means start something immediately. Yes, I mean immediately. Finish the book, close the cover, and then start something else. It might be hard sometimes because you're still kind of hung up on the book but honestly if you are able to do the four previous steps you will be able to start something else. You'll have gotten all your thoughts and feelings out so you can move on to a different book. Otherwise just force yourself to do it. And for bloggers, write your review right away. This also helps you move on from the books and get everything out there. Typically I will write my Goodreads review as soon as I finish a book and I'll use that as a guide for my blog review. It helps move on if you don't have to revisit the book a day, week, or month later to write a review.

Why it helps with book hangovers: This seems pretty obvious, but if you are able to move on right away it almost always prevents a book hangover. I've mentioned before that I don't finish books before I go to sleep because I need to start something immediately. This helps me get over a book hangover because I am physically able to move on to something else. It does sometimes seem unfair to the next book and in the past I have had incidents where a book I was excited to read didn't live up to my hopes because I had started it immediately after a book I loved but in general it does help me get over those pesky book hangovers.

So those are my tips. These are the ways I think I am able to avoid book hangovers. Do you get book hangovers? How do you avoid them? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I'm just like you - I almost never get book hangovers. I think the biggest factor for me is that I immediately pick up my next book. Even if I loved a book, I just move on right away before I've had too long to dwell on it.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. I usually avoid book hangovers by reading more than one book at the same time and starting a book right after I finish another, but don't always work... and then there's the DMing the bookish friends to talk ALL THE FEELS!!

  3. Great post! Definitely bookmarking this -- I rarely have book hangovers (maybe I'm reading the wrong books?!) but I totally agree with 2 and 5 -- my favorite things!

  4. Unfortunately, most of the time, I HAVE to read a (new) book in a single sitting. I really struggle to put something down if I haven't finished it. So my strategy is to start listening to an old favorite right away.

    My Most Recent Discussion: Love It or DNF It: Living with Chronic TBR Overflow Pt 3