This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is about the very real book hangover. It’s been given a few definitions, but essentially it’s that feeling of disorientation a reader gets after finishing a book they had thoroughly been sucked into.
Where am I? What year is it? Are there still owls? And whY DID THIS AMAZING BOOK HAVE TO END?!
Since I started blogging, I’ve been reading a lot more than I used to. It’s been great adding so many books to my “read” list, but it also means that I’m reading a lot more books immediately after reading something else. It takes a lot now for me to get a book hangover that stops me in my reading tracks but when I get them, oh my do I get them.
You’ll notice a theme pretty quickly within my books this week, namely that several are part of the same series. It is probably the most amazing literary series I’ve ever read, with each book completely destroying me for days afterward (in a good way). The two authors behind the series really know how to dole out book hangovers.
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
Review coming this week. One of the most spellbinding books I’ve read recently and one that has made me love the fantasy genre again. Gender and genre busting, I was fully immersed in the worlds Larkwood created. After finishing it I was rendered completely speechless, unable to write a coherent review for the publisher for several days. The hangover on this one was real y’all.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Read as an audiobook, I reached the incredible ending as I was walking my dog. As if my neighbors didn’t already think I was a little odd, seeing me openly weeping as I stumbled back to my house with my poor dog in tow definitely cinched my reputation as the local weirdo.
Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey
Honestly, I have no idea what I’ll do with my life when the final book comes out this year. Give up reading? That may sound a little drastic but if you’ve read any of the books you’ll realize that I’m not being ridiculous at all. These books have kinda ruined all other books for me.
Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey
So not only was Leviathan Wakes one of the most incredible pieces of science fiction- nay, one of the most incredible pieces of fiction ever written- but the follow up was just as impressive.
For weeks afterward I was still fully immersed in the universe of the Expanse. I found ways to relate almost everything I said and did to the characters in the story or to scenes that stuck out for me, often bringing them up randomly with no prompt at all because I just couldn’t stop thinking about the books. I ended up having to join an Expanse Facebook group just so I would have somewhere to incessantly talk about the series with other fans.
It takes a lot for me to be fully whisked away into a story to the point where nothing else exists, but these books do so from the first pages of each installment. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have gotten through 2019 without this series and its equally awesome TV adaptation.
Nemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey
Like, seriously. omg. Nemesis Games was utterly explosive and probably the most action packed installment since the incredible first book burst onto the literary scene. My emotions were utterly shook on each and every page. I seriously cannot wait for the next season of the TV show to see how they translate all those epic scenes onto the screen.
The Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
This deeply moving story was a gut punch. Set in the slums of India, I learned so much about what life is like there and many misconceptions I had were totally shattered. My soul was a little shattered, too.
Luckily I finished it in the hot tub so my tears were masked by the water I was already surrounded in. I wasn’t able to actually get up and go inside for about an hour afterward, just sitting there suffering from one heck of a book hangover.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The book we all didn’t know we needed. Of course we all wanted to know more about Gilead and Offred, but The Handmaid’s Tale was a standalone for decades and that was okay. Then Margaret Atwood made the announcement a follow up was coming and the book world was all atwitter.
Like many others, I was worried this wouldn’t live up to the hype or do justice to the incredible first book. I don’t know why I was worried, it is Margaret Atwood we’re talking about here afterall.
It was an incredible story that picked up fifteen years after The Handmaid’s Tale. It had a lot more action in it than it’s predecessor, but it was the characters who really got under my skin, especially one in particular. All my previous feelings about that character were turned upside down, stomped on, then thrown out the window. It took me several days to come to terms with everything I was feeling about this person, making me realize that we all do things to survive that we never thought ourselves capable of.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
My review for The Only Good Indians will be posted on my blog closer to the release date in May.
For now, though, know that this remarkable book gave me a completely different type of hangover than the other books I’ve mentioned. It downright terrified me right to my little nerdy bones as I was reading it. I actually had to hide my Kindle for a few days to recover after a particularly frightening scene that kept me from being able to sleep.
Stephen Graham Jones has written a subtle type of horror that screws with your head far more than the actual blood and gore. Books don’t often scare me that badly, but this one left me rattled. I was on edge for days afterward, convinced that everything was haunted and every loud noise was an angry spirit coming for my hide.
** I’d also like to give a special shoutout to the two books that gave me the most memorable hangovers in my entire reading life. **
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
My mother gave me this book not long after I had finished high school. Growing up near Steinbeck country, I was very familiar with his books and several were already on my favorite’s list, but this was one I hadn’t read yet because the size was a little daunting.
Once I got going with it, I locked myself away in my room for a few days doing pretty much nothing but reading about the lives of the Trasks and the Hamiltons. I probably stopped to eat and nap here and there, but I doubt it was more than just autopilot because I seriously could not put this book down.
I remember laying in my bed for hours afterward rendered completely useless, unable to do anything but keep running through the story in my head. To this day whenever I’m in the cities mentioned in the book I’m immediately taken back to Steinbeck’s masterpiece.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Whenever people ask me which book made me cry the most, I immediately respond with this one. I didn’t just cry, I ugly cried for hours. I still can’t talk about this story without tearing up and it’s been a few years since I read it.
My husband came home one night to find me sobbing in the kitchen as I was chopping vegetables. He rushed over, worried something had happened to our parents or friends, but nope, I had been attacked by the written word. At least I didn’t need to add salt to the carrots that night!
Have you read any of these? Which books left you in the fetal position? Let me know in the comments!