19 February 2017

How to Survive a Book Hangover

So, you finish a book, and - even though you loved this book with all your heart - you feel a sinking feeling setting in. You're suddenly hyper-aware of the fact that nothing you ever read will ever be able to match up to it.

That's right. You're slap bang in the middle of a book hangover, and you can't seem to shake it. So here are my tips on how to survive the process, and (eventually) make it out unscathed at the other end.

1. Don't fight it
Just give in to the hangover. Honestly, don't try and deny it, that'll just draw out the problem. 

2. Accept the hangover 
Like they say, the sooner you admit you have a problem, the sooner you can start to fix it. Once you can accept this particular book hangover for what it is, you can get moving with the next few steps.

3. Don't try and read if you know it won't help
When I have a book hangover, I still feel the urge to read, even though I know I'll end up not enjoying whatever  I pick up next. And this can ruin the experience of reading a perfectly good book, so I prefer to just wait it out before trying to read again. 

4. Allow yourself to wallow
Yes, this sucks. Yes, that means you can now moan about it to friends and family and all over social media. Chat to other people going through the same thing. Bond over your mutual misery. 

5. Enjoy the obsession while it's still this strong 
This is a rare opportunity for pure obsession, and you should take advantage of it while your brain allows. I'm talking fanart, fanfiction, author interviews, stalking Instagram for any mention of this book, gushing about it to everyone you know, and refreshing its Goodreads page every few seconds just because you can.

6. Let yourself fall down the rabbit hole
And let yourself fall far.

7. Or, try and distract yourself
If said rabbit hole doesn't really sound that appealing to you, or you're just worried you'll never emerge again, try the opposite, and distance yourself entirely from that book, and reading in general. Watch a film (or several), catch up on some tv shows (or several), do some exercise, or meet some friends. 

8. Eventually you'll be ready to start reading again
When I can tell I'm passed the initial stage of the hangover and ready to read again, I'm careful not to dive back in too quickly - as that can sometimes make the hangover even worse, and undo all my careful work up to this point. But on a more positive note, now we're on the home stretch!

9. Reread an old favourite
Instead of trying something new, I might reread a book I know and love. For instance, when I read The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, it turned me off other books for a full fortnight, because I was so in love with it. So afterwards, I reread the first Harry Potter book, because I practically knew it off by heart already. 

10. Read something completely different to the book you're trying to get over
On the other hand, you could really throw yourself in at the deep end hope the shock to your system will snap your reading-brain back to its senses. If the book that ruined you was a historical romance, try some hard hitting dystopian novels. Or if it was an intense, family saga over several generations, try a fluffy contemporary. 

11. Read something fluffy and light
Speaking of fluffy, a book of this kind can act as a sort of palate cleanser, to take you back to basics before you move onto another really great, but intense, book. 

12. When you're truly over it, you'll know
I promise that one day you'll suddenly realise that your hangover is gone, the skies have cleared, and a ray of light has fallen directly on your (probably overflowing) TBR pile. When it happens, you'll notice. When you know, you know, and it will feel glorious

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