13 Ways of Coping with a Book Hangover

Posted by Marie on June 24, 2018

Have you ever finished a book that was so good, you couldn't move on to another? If so, you've likely experienced a book hangover. A common affliction among avid readers, book hangovers can be emotionally distressing to say the least. Symptoms can vary between spontaneous fits of sobbing to repeatedly shouting the word "why." But don't worry: There are ways to recover.

We asked our followers on Facebook and Twitter for their best coping strategies and listed some of the most popular comments. Which ones have you tried?

1. "When the grief is overwhelming, I just turn back to the beginning and read it all over again," says Sanna.

2. "I try to switch genres or pick up a light read. If all else fails, I marathon a T.V. series and let the book hunger build up again," says Rebecca.

3. "Writing a review, telling my friends about it, or journaling can help process what made it so impactful. What's at the center of that emotional core, and how can I apply it to my life?" says Melissa.

4. "I actually take a break from reading. I won't pick up another book for a few days," says Jessica.

5. "Pick up a book of short stories, poetry, or essays so it's less of a commitment before finding the next great novel," says Jen.

6. "This might sound really bad, but in order to move on from a book I'm having a hard time letting go, I read a few bad reviews. It helps to put things in perspective," says Leslie.

7. "Read some fanfiction," says Charlotte.

8. "I like to reread my favorite parts and if there’s a good movie adaptation or a modern retelling, I go for it." says Erin.

9. "I listen to bookish podcasts," says Yanira.

10."As I get down to the last five chapters or so, I start the next book hunt," says Maureen.

11. "I immediately look for something else written by the author," says Edwin.

12. "Sometimes I’m not ready to give a new book a try, so I reread a well loved one," says Carol.

13. "I go and get a real hangover," says Steve.

Comments Showing 1-50 of 146 (146 new)

message 1: by Amber (new)

Amber I do #3 on the list then find more awesome books to read from my TBR list and if I discover any at my library not on my TBR list that look interesting and I want to check them out. I usually give a book hangover a couple of days before I write my review out giving me enough time to write my thoughts out about it. That's how it was with when I read My Best Friends Exorcism by Grady Hendrix.

message 2: by Tracey (new)

Tracey #11 works for me; finding other books by the same author. If there aren't any or are hard to find, I look for books that others who liked the original book also rated highly. My library system gives recommendations of such as does goodreads.

message 3: by Nichole (new)

Nichole I do #4. Book hangovers are persistent. A really good book won't leave my soul for days, and I will mope. Book retail therapy is my cure. I will visit the book store and browse for hours, absorbing the atmosphere and shopping for another one. Book-buying always soothes me.

message 4: by Andres (new)

Andres Borbon When a really really good book is over, it is Ok to be sad for a while. I let the grief go its course, mourn the loss a little and then I can go on! Two or three days and then... I go for an easy reading. Nothing deep, nothing challenging. It is like those few days after running a marathon!

message 5: by JPT (new)

JPT I do a mix of some of the above: try a totally different genre, retreat to one of my comfort reads, or take a reading break altogether while I process and recover. The intensity is real; I still remember book hangovers from decades ago.

message 6: by fran ☻✨ (new)

fran ☻✨ I felt EXACTLY like this after reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara so I started reading a a light hearted read which was probably something along the lines of Sophie Kinsella...

message 7: by Hamsini (new)

Hamsini I have a lot of anxiety about not not enjoying the next book and that it will not live up to my expectations after one I loved.

message 8: by Ulla (new)

Ulla #3 and #4 work for me, sometimes #2 with a DVD

message 9: by Penny (new)

Penny I once wrote a poem about it. I called it 'The Novel Sonnet'. It still didn't fix the problem, but I agree with switching up the genres. I can't follow an emotionally heavy literary gem with one of the same. Humour works for me in that regard. But TV series's and movies work for me too.

Be thankful that you HAVE the hangover though...it would be worse to spend time on a bad bad book than to love a book and miss it. Take that as the old cliche - better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Except, with a book, you can always re-read it!

message 10: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth #2 Always works for me!!

message 11: by Zohal (new)

Zohal I always have a stack of library books next to me, so I literally know what book I want to pick up after. Sometimes I change my mind and read a different one or something on my shelf. Sometimes I reread a book, sometimes I just don't read for a while and I feel fine or I just watch bookish videos which get me excited about reading. :)

message 12: by Lala (new)

Lala #7 is my old reliable.

message 13: by Jocelyn (last edited Jun 25, 2018 03:01AM) (new)

Jocelyn 3, 4, and 8 for me.
I like to relish the book more a bit longer.p

message 14: by Jolly (new)

Jolly Per I am number 4, 5, 6, and 11.

message 15: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth I consume other forms of fiction: comics/manga or TV. After a few days a book on my TBR pile will start "staring" at me, asking to be read...

message 16: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Afer the Burning Maze, I have been suffering from book hangover for days now. I needed this list. I'm gonna try #7 for a bit, then move on to #4

message 17: by lulu carmen (new)

lulu carmen after reading A Little Life i had a book hangover that lasted several months. i could not for the life of me pick up another book so i did number 13 and 2( the tv marathon part)

message 18: by Catherine (new)

Catherine "I go and get real hungover", that is a really good idea. #7 is something I do but not fanfiction of what I just read usually. I have couples I fall back to, ships from tv mostly.

message 19: by Claudia (new)

Claudia IF it's non-fiction, I want to find out more information.

IF it's fiction, I switch back to the non-fiction, a few short magazine articles or something light. Arbitrarily opening a Chicken Soup book and reading a couple helps bring it - at least for me - back in perspective.

message 20: by Elinor (new)

Elinor These are really good tips!
Number 6 normally helps me.

message 21: by Bhawna (new)

Bhawna Widhani #3 and #11 works for me :P

message 22: by Anissa (new)

Anissa A bit of 2, 3 & 4, works for me. I really do lean toward telling all who will listen about a book that affects me that much (my hubs endures my most ardent proclamations). I write reviews for almost all the books I read so I jump right into that and that helps to resolve a bit of the hangover. I generally will choose a different genre to read after such a book and that leaves me the ability to still mull the finished book but not get mired down to the point of a slump.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

#9 is how I deal with it :)

message 24: by Natalie (new)

Natalie I take a break or read something light. It's not meant to be work.

message 25: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Fitzgerald I always wait at least a few hours after a book hangover to start another. I also tell my husband about it, usually beginning the commentary with, “Oh, my goodness, I just read the BEST book; you’re gonna want to read this one!!!” Strangely, though, if I try to write a review right away, somehow that spoils the book’s magic for me, so I wait a few days to review.

message 26: by Honesty (new)

Honesty Expanding on #7, you could also write fanfiction.

message 27: by Annika (new)

Annika Nah I just drill through other books in the vain attempt to ignore the pain. It's a bad practice, seeing as usually I end up getting twice as much book hangover, after which I refrain from reading for either a few hours, days, weeks, or even months.

message 28: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Cox Cathy Gohlke's books generally do that to me. I usually take a brief break, choose a novella, or read a fluffy romance afterward.

Lelyana's Reviews Leave the book world, get some coloring done. It works all the time.

message 30: by Maria Nicole (new)

Maria Nicole #4 works for me all the time 😭

message 31: by Claudia (new)

Claudia oh, I like the idea of coloring. Total break. I may use that in the future

message 32: by Dr Rashmit (new)

Dr Rashmit Mishra Anybody know of a good book podcast that covers book not in YA gente

message 33: by Jason (new)

Jason I do a combination of these.

message 34: by Vera (new)

Vera (Estante da Vera) My problem with the book hungover is that nothing else seems to satisfy me or hold my attention during the period. I finished Everything I Never Told You and started two novels from a different genre but they didn't couldn't hold my attention. Now, I'm reading The Immortalists and it looks like I'm finally getting out of my reading funk.

message 35: by Janice (new)

Janice I usually don't have that, as I usually read long series.

message 36: by Ashlen (new)

Ashlen 2, 4, 8 and 11 usually help me move on. I have had a couple book hangovers this year. Time usually helps heal the wound.

message 37: by Katy (new)

Katy Penny wrote: "I once wrote a poem about it. I called it 'The Novel Sonnet'. It still didn't fix the problem, but I agree with switching up the genres. I can't follow an emotionally heavy literary gem with one of..."
I love your "better to have loved and lost" comment. To have read a book that really grabs you is a treasure.

message 38: by Diana (new)

Diana I like the idea of #6, I'll have to try that. Normally I switch genres or pick up something I know will distract me.

message 39: by Caro (last edited Jun 25, 2018 10:53AM) (new)

Caro #4 is the best for me...but I guess I'll try the #13 at least once... 😂

message 40: by Constantine (new)

Constantine I usually pick a different genre from my previous read book. No matter whether the book was good or bad. This way I don't get a hangover or even a slump more often. But yea, when a book is so good even when I am reading another book sometimes my mind thinks about that great book.
A disadvantage is that I become more critical about the book I read after the one which caused a hangover!! maybe because I expect the new book to be at the same level of awesomeness.

message 41: by Hannah (new)

Hannah I would usually go with either 4 ,5, or 11 but sometimes I'll go with a bookish podcast. Probably one about that particular author or book that induced the hangover, just to hear other people gush about it too.

message 42: by Elise (new)

Elise Can't say I've really had this problem. I'm usually excited and ready to move on to a fresh new book. Not that I didn't enjoy the one I just finished, it's more like keep the books coming for me. I get anxious if I don't have something to read, so I'm always thinking about my next book and I dive right in.

I will admit though that it is a little sad once I've completed a series. That's especially the case with something like Harry Potter. It was sad to have to say goodbye to those characters. I wanted more, just not The Cursed Child. :P

message 43: by Sarah -`ღ´- (new)

Sarah -`ღ´- I do both : 3 & 4 :)
Talk a lot about my reading and take some time to process and enjoy the benefits of this book. I also make researches to know about the opinion of other persons (sometimes it's hard especially when they didn't appreciate the book)

message 44: by TraceyL (new)

TraceyL #6 reading bad reviews will often point out negative points of the book that I never thought about. It doesn't make me like the book any less, but it does help with the hangover.

#7 is the best option though. Fan fiction can cure any hangover.

কৃষ্ণকলি o my god! I do follow most of them to get over!
But mostly I stop reading ASAP and start watching worst movies like twilight! or read that book until my heart and my mind can't take it anymore!

message 46: by Distant (new)

Distant Sounds I laughed at No.13, but fact is I've never had a hangover, and don't plan on one anytime soon. I just finished, 'A Gentleman In Moscow' recently, and it is fabulous story. A hangover hit right away, but has been cured by going to a favourite genre, favourite style of story, where, 'Rabbit Cake' by Annie Hartnett has filled the void very impressively.

message 47: by Kristen (new)

Kristen Peppercorn When I first read Lord of the Rings, it was so good, I had a book hangover that lasted almost a year, until I read Harry Potter for the first time and fell in love with that. Every thing I tried to read between those two sucked in comparison.

message 48: by Mariah (new)

Mariah What bookish podcasts are good? This is a great idea!

message 49: by Sonny (new)

Sonny #4 followed by #2. If that doesn't seem to work then #13, tbh.

message 50: by aPriL does feral sometimes (last edited Jun 25, 2018 01:39PM) (new)

aPriL does feral sometimes I do #4 - and read magazines for awhile.

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