The reading hangover is one of the worst feelings a reader has after finishing a really good book. You’re happy because you just read an amazing story. But also sad at the same time because the story is over and there’s no going back to having that first reading experience over again.
You want to just silently absorb all the words from the world you’ve just left so that you can still be in that world. You’re in wonder because you just read a good story, but sad because you don’t know what to do with your life next.
You’re at a loss for words. Because you loved every minute you spent, reading that amazing book. But it’s over. You can’t go back. Sure you can read that book over and over again, guaranteeing that the story never really ends for you, but you can’t get that first reading experience with that book back.
And it sucks. Finding books you really love, reading them only to discover that you’re sad the book is over, that you can’t return to the amazing surprise and euphoria you felt the first time you read that book.
Sure, you can reread said book and have all those feelings about the characters and the world all over again, but the reading experience is completely different than the first. You still feel the sadness, but it’s different somehow. You can’t exactly put your finger on it but in some ways, it feels like you’re saying goodbye to the story this time. As if you’re never going to read the book again, even when you know that isn’t true.
All readers experience this feeling at some point in their lives. Whether they are revisiting one of their favorite classical stories or reading a book they’ve never touched before, a reader has this experience at one point during their reading journey.
It’s a feeling readers love to hate. Because they feel stuck in their imagination, not sure what to do with their life next.
I know for me what I normally try to do is listen to music, to do anything that doesn’t revolve around books so that I can get through the muddle and figure out what book’s world I want to enter next. This usually works for me because it distracts my thoughts from the story and allows me to concentrate on something much happier.
But I also sometimes just sit in silence after reading an amazing story. I put the book down and just sit, contemplating the story I’ve just finished reading. And just stare at the book I’ve finished reading in wonder because I’ve just read an amazing story. Knowing that in my heart, this amazing book will be in my heart forever.
It is both a happy feeling and sad feeling, all at once. But like J.K. Rowling says, something magical can happen when you read a good book. Especially when the good book in question makes you have all sorts of feelings.