Ah, the inevitable consequence of reading too many awesome novels. When authors just decide to take your feelings and put ’em in a blender and just pulverized them. It’s a wonderful but exhausting feeling. You get me?
You know, i think book hangovers are a valid excuse for missing work, school or any horrible life-sucking outing you have to go to. It’s practically the equivalent to the flu!!! IT’S JUST WORST AND LESS GROSS. (That’s a win right there) If I were to tell someone who doesn’t understand book hangovers, I would get the weirdest look ever. I say book hangovers should be universal knowledge and eligible for work/school absences. Just saying.
Anyway, I decided to outline and identify some distinct phases or moments of a typical book hangover we book addicts encounter.
Let’s get started shall we?
*There is totally an order to this…But this is a free world and people are different so your book hangover might not be the same as my book hangover. But you know, if this isn’t what your book hangover looks like that’s okay, we won’t judge you too hard.
Phase 1: Pre-Ending
This is the preliminary stage where you’re almost done the book, plot twists are happening left and right, and the author decides to torture your beloved characters with some kind of terrible, painful decision, revelation, discovery, event, etc. Your emotional levels of sanity are stretched thin and your body is actually preparing your soul for the book hangover by flipping pages a mile a minute and eating up the rest of the novel so you can finish it…so the book hangover can actually start.
But, truth is, book hangovers start waaaaay before the last line of a book. Think of book hangovers as the bomb going off (I think my analogies need more work?) You’ve been working up your book hangover since the very first page, it’s like as you read, your feels just increase until the very end when you get the hangover. (This totally explains the varied strength of book hangovers we may all have!!)
Phase 2: Death of My Emotions
You’ve finished and now you’re dead; plain and simple. The abrupt stop of words just kills you inside. Your brain is now unable to function because processing the novel made it blow up in feels. Here, you tend to go over every single scene in the novel that you can remember as a last chance to savour it ALL. You flip back to pages you’ve bookmarked or sticky-noted and reread scenes to burn them in your memory forever. You immediately enter this phase when you close that book, because your thoughts are a mess.
Think of it like this: you are literally dying from words or the lack of words, depending how you look at it. (Most of the time it’s a beautiful creation of words, mind you) Now, the length of this stage varies from reader to reader and from book to book. Cause once it all kinda settles in and your body tries to the best of its ability to catch up with your emotions, then you enter Phase 3.
Phase 3: Withdrawal
You hit this low after reading an amazing novel. Sort of like nostalgia, and sort of like you’re having a withdrawal from reading. You just kinda feel empty inside. I would say it’s the calm before the storm. This moment means you’ve processed every single part of the novel and the extent of the pain, the happiness and the beauty has been reached. You feel this heavy pressure on your chest every time you think about it. Because you’ve just realized: you can never read this book again like it was the first time. You can never experience this kind of hangover ever again.
So, you’re having a withdrawal. Collect fuzzy blankets, and assume fetal position; you won’t be reading anything for a while. Correction: you won’t be able to function period. Your body shuts down as your mind prepares itself to heal…or it’s refusal to recovery.
Phase 4: Spreading the Love
Phase 4 can occur before, during or after the withdrawal phase (which itself can last as long months or years or never…). Depending on how good the book was, this is when you pretty much talk to anyone and everyone about this book. You read review after review, and you pretty much find any chance to talk about the book. You praise this book and how much you enjoy the pain. When things get desperate, you talk to your pet and for those who are petless, hugging the book and talking to it works too. Actually..I like that idea better; hugging the book sounds very nice and comforting.
You visit author’s websites, you look for extras like playlists, deleted scenes, or yes, BOOK TOURS. And don’t even get me started on the merch for book series, us bookworms are god-sent. You pretty much reach out to anyone on the internet or in the flesh who just gets you and your crazy emotions. By the end, you would have expressed your love for the book in every way possible.
Phase 5: Two Worlds Collide
Your mind is trying to catch up to the “real world” which doesn’t compare to the world of the book. This whirlwind of memories and emotions force you to take cover in more rereading and more tumblr posts that you can just relate to. This leads to you using the same language as your books, or literally channeling your favourite characters from the novel in your everyday life. I’m guilty of channeling Ron Weasley sometimes. You compare the fictional love interests to your actual relationships and begin to dream about them too. (Guilty of that too) There are moments where I’m in the middle of the grocery store and I just whisper the character’s name just to feel connected to them again. All in all, you have one foot in the book and one foot in the boring world that is your life. It’s a confusing time for you.
Phase 6: Withdrawal 2.0
Yup, that’s right, you hit another withdrawal after being the dedicated fangirl/fanboy that you are. Because it’s exhausting. You think the Withdrawal was bad, this withdrawal is worst. I see the fangirl phase as you trying to convince yourself you’re alright with everything that is that novel (which you are, but at the same time you aren’t). It’s your attempt to heal..which honestly doesn’t work. This is the cold slap of reality hitting you in the face: you can never be the same again.
You think you’re healing, but actually you’re not. One look at cover, the mention of the character, a picture that reminds you of a line in the book, pretty much anything that triggers you to get the feels of Phase 2 again. Hence, why book hangovers can take so long. It’s like you love that book so much you can’t handle it, and sometimes that love gets to be too much. You’ve exhausted yourself to the point where no matter how much fanart, merch, tumblr posts, etc, you’ve collected, the actual book is your only comfort. You have no idea what to do other than be with your book and reminisce.
Phase 7: Waiting Game
Next book? HA. Not for another year. Who are we kidding here? One can never actually move on from a great book they love so much. We just learn how to make room for more. We have big hearts, us bookworms. Until we’re ready, reading another book just isn’t possible. But once we do inevitably pick up another book, the cycle begins all over again!!
WELCOME TO THE NEVER-ENDING CYCLE OF BOOK HANGOVERS!!
It feels so weird to release this post into the world!! (This has been sitting in my Drafts for months, guys!!😂) It just doesn’t feel complete or good enough yet!! Ahh! 😱 But nevermind my ridiculous blogging insecurities, book hangovers are just so abstract that it’s totally worth it!! There is really no set recipe of what each book hangover will be like or how long you stay in each phase that I’ve identified. They’re just a whole new world of pain and suffering!
I actually love book hangovers (the sadistic person that I am)!! It means the book was great and the author did their job to torture and entertain. Honestly, I live for the book hangovers even if there’s a long period of hurt and pain ahead of me. But I’m used to it. All book nerds are used to it and what can you say, it comes with the job. 😉 Once you enter the bookworm life, you can never leave it.
Can you relate to any of these moments/phases?? Am I just imagining all of these emotions? What is a moment/phase you would add to this list?? What was the last book that gave you an epic book hangover?! Share a book hangover remedy!!