The Loneliness of Being Done with a Good Book (and recommendations please)

I was writing to a friend this morning, talking about how this past week has been pretty decent–almost completely without that crushing weight that frequently makes my life feel relentless and untenable. Then I went on to say I was two hours away from the end of Ready Player One, and as eager as I was to finish it, I was anticipating how sad I’d be when it was over.

And then I thought, I wonder if this past week has been so bearable, because I was reading this great book that offered me another world I could escape to?

I honestly think the two are completely related.

I know I’m going to finish Ready Player One tonight, and my husband won’t be home when that happens. I’m absolutely anticipating a very real feeling of loneliness when it’s over and I’m sitting there alone. Sometimes, when I’m really into a good book, and I finally finish it, I feel the kind of sad you feel when someone you care about moves away. Like there is a very real hole left in your life, an absence that pains you, and you want desperately to fill it.

Am I painting myself the sad, social outcast? Perhaps. But it’s the way I feel. It’s my truth. It probably means I need more friends, but I already know this. And honestly, I don’t mind falling so head over heels for a book that I feel like I’ve lost something, or someone, when it’s over.

It’s such a strange feeling, to want to keep reading, and yet be dreading the moment when it’s over, a mixture or elation and heartsickness, all at once.

Anticipating the end of Ready Player One, I’m requesting book recommendations. Something I can lose myself into for another week or so. A book that can be my good friend while I’m reading it.

Am I the only one who feels lonely and sad when she finishes a good book?

Can you recommend something amazing to me?

21 Comments

    1. A book hangover! What a great way to describe it! I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one… Thanks so much for the reco.

  1. I definitely get those. Recent books I’ve loved: Everything I Never Told You, Station 11, The Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series (they get better as you go).

  2. This seems like such a negative way to describe this phenomenon. Why not think of it as, “I can make my whole life seem better & feel happier, just by reading a good book?”

    I have no recommendations for you, though. I tend to just walk into the library and grab a few off the shelves, usually quickly because my kids get loud. πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t meant to make it seem negative. Obviously I appreciate the positivity of being super engaged in a good book, or I wouldn’t ask for more books like that. I can see that it seems negative, but that wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to recognize the very real sadness I feel after I finish a good book, because it’s seems like kind of a weird thing, for a book to affect a person so viscerally.

      So to clarify, I absolutely LOVE that books can be such a positive force in my life. This week has been awesome because of a book, and I’m definitely very grateful for that. It’s a truly wondrous thing. I’m just focused on the sad ending part now, because that is looming…

    1. Yay! More series! Series are awesome. I can get so lost in a world when I get to read about it over several books.

      Speaking of which, when is Geoge R. R. Martin going to write the next GoT book already?!

  3. Oh yes, this is a very real phenomenon! you are not the only one, there is a whole subreddit about it I found once when I googled “sad that book ended”.
    series are great because you can look forward to jumping back into that world. I haven’t read a good series in years.

  4. Getting lost in a good book is so amazing! If you haven’t already read them, I’d recommend the following:

    – Lullabies for Little Criminals
    – The Gum Thief
    – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
    – A Million Little Pieces
    – Any of the Comoran Strike novels; Rowling really does have a flair.

  5. If you liked Ready Player One, I recommend “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman, and “Nexus” by Ramez Naam. Also, for some Bay Area Local stuff, “The Wonder Bread Summer” by Jessica Anya Blau and “Daughter of Fortune” by Isabel Allende.

  6. As we discussed tonight, this happens to me too, and I’ve sat in my bed crying as I finished a book I loved so dearly.

    Anything John Irving is a winner. I do like Pat Conroy. One of my favorite books ever is “My Name is Asher Lev.”. Maybe I should read that again!!!

  7. You are so definitely not the ONLY one! It started early for me- the first “adult” book I read was when I was 7 or 8 and it was “Gone with the Wind.” I remember reading most of it in a day and then just because I didn’t want it to be over. Fortunately I outgrew that, but I still get the feeling.

    If you like mysteries I recommend any of the James Patterson series- Alex Cross or Women’s Murder Club, or NYPD (but that’s a new shorter series so far). I will sit down and read 1 in an afternoon – super short chapters so easy to stop anywhere if you can put it down! LOL

  8. You are so not the only one; I read different things from Stephen King to Historical Fiction to yes, I’ll admit chick lit. Good reading!

  9. One reason I have so many half-finished books around is that I’m just not ready to know how they end yet… I really liked The Martian and also the Kintting in the City series by Penny Reid. The series is decidedly romances but very different romances across the series. Happily Ever Ninja is amazing but makes more sense (a little) if you know the characters from the first 4 books. I adore the idea of a romance novel about love between a married for a dozen years couple, plus adventures and working through relationships and children and… I’m gonna go reread it.

  10. Oh yes, I definitely get sad when I’m finishing a book I love. (I feel the same way when binge-watching a TV series). I think we all need escapism of some form or another. Which made me think – maybe being in a book is a replacement for the yurt? Maybe you don’t need to escape physically if you’re able to escape a little mentally? (Let’s face it, most of us don’t have room for a yurt! We certainly don’t on our hillside section.)

    Also – enjoying the recommendations.

  11. I am making a concerted effort this year to plan ahead so that I read fewer well-this-one-is-available-at-the-library books and more I-was-on-the-library-waitlist-for-this books. That makes me less sad to end a good one! I second the two mentioned above as the best I’ve read in a long time. Currently loving The Girl On The Train but I have the feeling it’s one of those suspense books that some people end up hating (Γ  la Gone Girl) so I won’t recommend it just yet πŸ˜‰

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