Symptoms of a book hangover:
- Pounding headache – This symptom arises when the events of the book you’ve just read refuse to vacate your head space, choosing instead to ricochet off the walls of your skull as you over analyse every minute detail of said book.
- Unrelenting thirst – A thirst for answers is a common symptom of a book hangover, particularly when you’re reading a series and the next book isn’t out until next spring.
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound – A by product of the days spent cooped up in your reading nook, far from the harsh realities of everyday life.
- Nausea – A common symptom, particularly when a favorite character dies and there’s zero chance of them being resurrected.
- Dizziness – A symptom often suffered by fantasy and sci-fi readers. It can take time to adjust to a world that isn’t populated by tall, dark, handsome elf princes or intergalactic space lords. Be gentle with yourself during this difficult transitional period.
Other symptoms may include:
But don’t worry. It will get better *slaps my hand over my heart* I, Jazz of I swoon over fictional, non-human men, do solemnly swear to walk this long road beside you. This road is dark and cold, encased within an eternal winter from which no one ever seems to escape…but you, my friend, are strong. You will escape if you simply heed the advice of a fellow bookworm who has been at the mercy of a book hangover one too many times *holds out my hand* Are you ready to take the first step?
- Make bookish friends – I recommend doing this before you embark upon a series that will potentially leave you with a book hangover. I mean, would you put on a life jacket after the ship had already sunk? No, of course not. Preparation is key. Join a fan forum or the author’s official fan group on Facebook. The people populating these places are the people who will ease your headache. Forget the aspirin. Talk to fellow fans and vent your feelings and unanswered questions. Get those pent up thoughts and emotions out of your system!
- Trawl the internet in search of fan theories – It won’t give you the solid answers you need, I know, but it will ease your thirst somewhat.
- Take baby steps – Don’t jump back into society feet first. Take time to adjust to your unfamiliar surroundings. When your mind has been engulfed in the happenings of Middle Earth for the past four days, the voice of your colleague asking you to photocopy a document can be an unsettling thing. Simply flash a forced smile in their general direction and photocopy the document. Afterwards, I recommend making yourself a cup of over-sweetened, soothing tea and sitting in the back office for a few moments. A few days and many cups of tea later, you’ll find you can take bigger steps,such as interacting with your family over dinner. Don’t, though, begin another full-length novel. Perhaps opt for a novella instead, thereby ensuring you can split your time evenly between reality and fiction.
- Fan fiction – The death of a favorite character is a traumatic experience to go through, especially if you have watched them develop over the course of many books. In the midst of your anguish, though, remember that there is alternate reality, a realm known as ‘Fan fiction’. In ‘Fan fiction’, our favorite characters live on, either at own hands or at the pen-wielding, keyboard-typing hands of other fans. Be warned, though, it’s not uncommon to find your favorite character has suddenly had a personality transplant in order to fuel a ridiculous plot that would never have arisen in the official book or series.
- Cosplay – Ask a kind, understanding friend to cosplay as a tall, dark, handsome elf prince or an intergalactic space lord. Seeing a familiar face as you acclimatize to reality will offer you some much-needed comfort.
How do you deal with a book hangover? Let me know in the comments below!