I Got Dem Just Got Done With a Really Good Book Blues

by Maudeen Wachsmith (1998)

This article was was originally written for Love Letters in 1993, then in The Readers Voice in 1995. It was revised for All About Romance and is used by permission.

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How readers handle the Just Got Done With a Really Good Book Blues

As an avid reader, the following scenario should be familiar:

You have just finished reading a book that touched your emotions, a real page turner. You couldn’t put it down. You turn off the light and go to sleep savoring the story as you fall off into dreamland. In the morning you glance over at the nightstand only to smile as you catch a glimpse of the book you had finished the night before, remembering how special it was, continuing to have an emotional response to it. Now as you look at the pile of books in your TBR pile, you experience a great deal of trepidation selecting what you are going to read next – in fact, you are very near panic.

Every book you look at seems to pale in comparison to the one you have just finished. You are still reveling in the enjoyment of that special read. Why, even looking at the cover will evoke a smile, a poignant tear, or another memory associated with that truly wonderful book. How can you read another book so soon? To read another book you feel like a traitor – to the author, to the book, to the characters. You are still so wrapped up in the story that you are reluctant to leave that world and enter another one. You are fearful that you won’t be able to find another book as good as the one you’ve just completed. That longing sometimes makes you reticent to pick up another book right away.

Having so many books on your TBR pile (er mountain), the reading habit, and the time to read, and so many great books recently highly recommended, you feel you must pick up a book, but which one? Here are a few suggestions to help you get over those just got done with a really good book blues:

If you just read a contemporary – chose an historical (or vice versa)

Read another book by the same author; the style should be similar

If you only read historicals – pick up a book with an entirely different setting

If you’ve just finished a fairly intense book – pick up a book with a light, humorous style

If you’ve read a romance which was fairly “spicy” – try something a little “sweeter”

If you read a book with a lot of humor – chose a book that is more dramatic

Read a book that’s been highly recommended through a review, a friend, or on the Internet

Pick up one of those “old friends”; a book from your keeper shelf and read it again

If you have just finished a longer book – pick up a category romance or another short read

Switch genres – if you’ve just read a romance, read a mystery or a non- fiction book

If you must, read that “really good book” again right away, allowing yourself even more time to savor the words and emotions

Simply taking a day or so break from reading also works. Work in the garden, work on a craft project, listen to music, watch a video, go shopping, or do something else you particularly enjoy

Let’s see. I just finished re-reading a book which I picked up having read a really good book which I added to my keeper shelf. What shall it be next? Perhaps a highly recommended category romance, a nonfiction book, or maybe one of those Christmas anthologies I recently purchased???

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Reader Responses

Mary Dunn (mdunn@alltel.net):
Maudeen’s article – it is to the “T” how I feel when I’ve just finished a good book – or should I say a great book. When I have just read a book that has touched my every emotion, I usually pick up a book by the same author. Not every story that an author writes will be the same, but when you read a book by a great author such as Lindsey, Garwood, McNaught, Deveraux. . . , how can you go wrong?

There is just something about the style of that author that brings me back for more.

I usually find a book with the same story line, or setting to keep the feeling alive.

I never read a new author after finishing a great book.

Laurie Likes Books:
I recently read and loved Elizabeth Lowell’s Too Hot to Handle and found I could not pick up another romance for several days afterward. The book had been too intense for me, and I kept picking it up and re-reading certain scenes.

I tried several romances that were quite different from this short contemporary – Regency romance, historical – but I couldn’t get the book out of my mind and I was afraid any romance I tried next would pale in comparison. So, instead, I picked up Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a current bestseller. It did the trick by taking me out of the romance realm completely and let me cleanse my palate, so to speak. I was then able to return to romance.

Katsy (lynns@powerweb.net):
I have not read a lot of romances which I would consider to be 5 stars, but when I have been fortunate to have found such a treasure, I will take time off from reading romances, if only for a short while; I just know that I will probably be dissatisfied with any ensuing book for a short time frame.

Nora (n-schuette@nwu.edu):
I read it again!!!

Jere (medievel@hotmail.com):
I’ll grab a different genre anthology and sort of clean my palate. With these short stories I don’t get as involved and I can still enjoy the lingering effects from the great book I’ve just finished. By the time I’ve read all the stories in the anthology I am ready to grab a nice long book to immerse myself into again.

Ana Jones (msana@we.org):
I usually like to pick up another title by the same author.

Benita (bclar1@pop.uky.edu):
I usually think about it for a few days and savor the experience. Then after the glow has worn off a little, I go back into the trenches and read some more! Sometimes if the romance is really wonderful, I go back to some of the passages I like the best and reread them.

I usually read something other than a romance. Magazines, like Biography, In Style, and books about health food and supplements, etc.

(I’ll read) nothing, for about a week or two. This happened after reading Elizabeth Stuart’s Where Love Dwells and is happening right now after reading Claire Delacroix’s My Lady’s Desire. I find after I’ve read a great book that I need time just to absorb it and live with those characters before losing myself in another story. The only time this doesn’t apply is when I’m on vacation and taking advantage of the fact that I can read as much as I want to!

Dyanne (Dtap7@aol.com):
I definitely have to switch genres! After reading a romance that good, I am under it’s spell for quite some time and cannot bear to read another romance until it’s hold dissipates. Starting another romance while still ‘under the influence’ of such a fabulous story would not be fair to the author of that next book – my expectations would be too high and my judgment too critical. Oddly enough, after reading such a good story, I am often restless and impatient with other books, even outside the romance genre, because they simply aren’t as ‘good’ as the one that still holds me spellbound. So – fabulous stories are both a blessing and a curse! Suffering through that period where everything else pales in comparison can be pretty tough…

I usually read lots of children’s books to my kids. There’s something about Henry and Mudge that can get my head back and ready to pick up another romance again. Though sometimes I’ll go out to the bookstore and buy all the rest of the author’s books if I don’t have them already. For example, I finally read Outlander last winter, taking it out of the library. I could not put it down. I headed to the nearest store as soon as I finished it and bought a copy of all of Gabaldon’s books. I spent a very happy winter and early spring.

Christine (jplcfl@inreach.com):
I usually take a breather and not read anything for awhile.

Lainy (medio@gte.net):
I read the book again!!!! Then I usually slip into whatever genre I just read and try and find more of that authors books. For example, I just read Claire Delacroix’s The Princess, and promptly went out and bought a ton of her books.

AAR Reviewer Rebecca:
There is only one thing to do – reread the thing. Then pull out an old favorite. I do not pick up a newly bought book though, unless it is by the same author. My first Garwood was last year. I had a lot of glomming to do, and I glutted on Garwood for quite awhile. I don’t expect that I’ll have too many more of those experiences. Bummer.

Julie (conmeo@webtv.com):
I usually reread the book (maybe more than once). Then I’ll take a day or two off & kind of ease back in by rereading old favorites till something new turns up that looks like it will be better than average.

After a fabulous read, I have to switch genres! Luckily, I enjoy many different genres, from mystery to fantasy and, of course, romance. The whole process is similar to satisfying a craving – once the desire is satisfied, I move on to something else. (Think chocolate as an appetizer to dinner!) Sometimes it will take a while before I am ready to return to the ‘forbidden’ genre, but I browse through my tbr pile until something appeals to me. If nothing appeals to me (and sometimes I make several false starts before giving up), I will watch tv or catch up on videos.

Mary Lynne (m.nielsen@ieee.org):
I tend to go and read the newspaper or magazines. And I tend to reread special sections of that novel for a while afterwards. That helps me to move on to something new.

Tanya (Tanya_Wade@pbpost.com):
Magazines. Definitely magazines. I have to keep the glow, and can’t go back to fiction for a few days.

Deanne (cayons@worlpath.net):
I have to say I savor it. I tell my co-worker about it the next day in detail. Try to tell hubbie about it. Mention it to the dog. And I do not pick up another book to really read for a day or two. Just to keep it with me. After all that, I put it in my pile of to be read again books and read it again. And again. And again.

Katherine Lazo (kdlazo@mnl.sequel.net):
I might spend a few hours sighing and mooning over the story, then I usually start another book. I sometimes change sub-categories to give myself a breather from the setting. If the book is a contemporary, I might read a futuristic next, or medieval, a historical of some other period, fantasy, suspense or a short category romance, just so that there’d be less of a comparison.

Barb (Diehlbj@aol.com):
I will normally read it once or twice more. I always pick up on things that I missed the first time through, which makes the book even better.

AAR Reviewer Lori-Anne Cohen:
I do the same thing when I’m in a slump as when I read a great book…I get away from romance for awhile. I either read general fiction or non-fiction or I will go on a magazine binge. SInce I read so voraciously and widely anyway, I usually have something I can pull off the shelves.

Monica Tiso (MLQR74A@prodigy.com):
I tend to go out and buy every book by that particular author. Sometimes I am sadly disappointed because the others don’t measure up. Very often I check out the If You Like. . . page in your This ‘N’ That feature.

Juliet (jjbeier@ix.netcom.com):
I often read all or part of it again, this time analyzing what made the book so successful for me. Then I read something very different, before going back to romance.

Alecia (alecial@computrac.com):
For me, this generally means the story packed a very emotional wallop. Another romance is out of the question for a while (2 weeks). I usually switch to Mystery, Fantasy, or Science Fiction. If I don’t have any of those in the house, I’ll read magazines or skim catalogs. I can’t go more than a day or so without reading something, even if it’s only the back of my shampoo bottle in the shower.

Carol (carol4yak@mindspring.com):
I’ll reread sections in the book for ahile. Then I’ll get on the ‘Net and read others’ comments. Then I might read the author’s backlist.

Z. Medina:
I stay some days in a cloud of daydreaming about the characters and story I just finished and then read another romance of the same genre hopping to find another wonderful story.

It is a very sad, sad day when you finish a book that was so wonderful, so enthralling, so believeable that you stayed up into the wee hours of the morning (knowing that the kids will be up at the crack of dawn) and now you are finished. I always get an almost panic attack sensation in my gut. I try to rationalize the feeling, identify and deal (as a therapist once told me), and do the next best thing that satisfies – I cook. I get out all my favorite cookbooks and I start a major feeding frenzy. My husband, neighbors,and friends all benefit from this time. I’m a baker too. I’ll try the hardest dessert I can find.

After numerous days in a cooking bliss, I’ll go to your web site and start looking for another book. Although, I have to say that I am my most critical after reading a “keeper” and it really isn’t fair to the authors whose books I might have enjoyed otherwise.

Well, for all the cooking I do, I have to work out and it’s time now. Great site.


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