There’s nothing quite like being so wrapped up in a book that you feel emotionally let down when it ends, when the last page has been read and you’re cut off from the life of those characters going forward. You’re sad, but at the same time, you feel satisfied—full from the experience, if only for a little while.
That’s why I’m a weirdo and end up delaying the inevitable, saving the last few pages for some other time when a) I feel a bit more prepared to move on or b) I have another book waiting in the wings.
Yes, I will actually walk away from a book for a week or so—even if I only have a few pages left—because I don’t want it to end.
But it doesn’t just stop with that, my friends, as I take it one step further.
Money is an issue, which makes the fact that I have the attention span of a manic gnat slightly helpful because I can re-read things I read a couple years ago and find new details that I missed, but I will splurge every couple of months or so on something new.
And although I look forward to having one or two books I can read, I then get stressed out because I am suddenly overwhelmed with quality reading material. It’s like I go from famine to feast and I feel the need to go on a bender and read everything, just because it’s there, or stash it away for those times when I have nothing new.
It’s been like this since the beginning.
As a kid I was the one who read all the time—when we were driving, watching TV, waiting in line somewhere—and going to the store to get a few more books was a reward that I always looked forward to.
And Book It? I was the Queen with my little purple button full of stars to indicate books read and personal Pizza Hut pan pizzas earned.
Of course I went through that adolescent phase were books were replaced with New Kids on the Block cassette tapes and multiple viewings of “Clueless” followed by college years that often required so much studying that any “fun” reading was out of the question.
But I eventually came back to books—a way to distract myself, to escape from the reality of my world and instead get absorbed in the reality of somebody else, if only for a little while.
There are times I think about getting an e-reader — I do appreciate how they get more people to read — but I like the feel of a book in my hands, being able to mark the pages that really stood out and then finding those notes when I read it again in the future. I like the anticipation of an Amazon package arriving in the mail, and as odd as it sounds, I like being able to actually turn the pages myself…until I get to that last page.
All of this could be avoided if my favorite authors would just continually write sequels and ensure that I will always have quality material waiting for me when I finish something up, or at least provide Facebook updates on what the characters are doing now.
But regardless, the ups and downs—the anticipation of starting to read something new, the resignation when that book is read—are worth it. Reading is something that molds you and adds to your character because you often take a little bit of something from every character you meet.
Foe me, C.S. Lewis said it best:
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”