Friday, July 23, 2010

An Explanation on Why I'm No Longer Going to Read Books

Here's where it starts this time: I just finished The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Which were excellent. Really, really excellent. Excellent in the way that I felt like I was nursing an open wound throughout the days it took to read them. Excellent in that now I think of nothing else, and as I run, and I spend miles piecing together plot and reviewing characters. Like I said, excellent.

This is the problem. I'm too impressionable--when it comes to books.

The Hunger Games is the most recent, but definitely not the first, or even the worst. I remember reading Catcher in the Rye, and cursing in my head and self-narrating for weeks. Days after reading While Oleander, I imaged myself staring out at the world through hollow, haunted eyes. The combination of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women made me a homebody for an entire summer.

I suppose it's part of the reason reading is so important to me, because I give myself over to a story so completely. Or, I do when I feel the story has worth (because I'm also a snob about books--and, let's be frank--about lots of other things, too). I suppose it's a little over-dramatic to talk about how the way I read allows me to experience, really emotionally experience, living another life by proxy, but, I ask you, how else would you explain me wandering the aisles of Ikea, tense, paranoid, and lonely like Katniss is lonely?

I want to meet Suzanne Collins, so I can thank her for giving me such a breathless week, and also, so I can ask her what she's trying to do to me, and how she expects me to handle this kind of stress.

In any case, I'm done, and I'm reading Jane Eyre to cleanse my system, because Jane's incessant preaching is bound to do that. Then I'm going to read something totally banal, like shampoo bottles. And then that's it. I'm quitting reading. I just can't handle the pressure.

well, maybe I'll finish Gone with the Wind. and then I have the Strand 80. And then, of course, Mockingjay comes out August 24th, so...

*photo Strand Bookstore, NYC


  1. You have hit it on the head. I am with you,after a good book I go into what I call "book depression", it is where I sit around trying to relive the moments in the book, rehashing the plot and characters or even worse imagining myself in the characters place and how I would handle it differently. This goes on till I find the next story and the process starts over again.

  2. After I finish a book I become obsessed casting the movie version of the book - I'm pretty sure I got this from Kim. So who would you cast as Katniss, Peeta, Gale, etc.?

  3. I generally like to start a new book right after finishing one. But I had to give myself a few days after Catching Fire because I wasn't ready to let it go, even though it made me feel exhausted and a little paranoid for a week.

    When I finished Rebecca I had to stop myself from calling every one darling.

    These books...they get in my head.

  4. Chalise, whenever I read a book (or books) like this, I always tell myself, "I'll never feel this way again". But, I always do. Wait, is this what love feels like?

    Julie, I am only sure about one of those roles. I would cast me as Katniss, because I am her. Isn't a reader identifying with the main character the mark of a good writer? Also, it's casting myself as Katniss the mark of a deluded, self-important person?
    Who would you cast?

    Rachel, I know what you mean. and I forgot about Rebecca. Do you know how much stationary I bought after reading Rebecca? A lot.

  5. I truly feel the same way. I was a huge idiot once and tried reading Of Mice and Men while pregnant with Jane. I was a nervous wreck after the first chapter. But I think I'm even more impressionable when it comes to movies. I can't even see a preview for a scary movie without thinking my house is seriously haunted for the next month, or that some psycho is going to kill me and my entire family if I don't have curtains to cover the slats in the blinds where said psycho could peek in, or that I have to watch my children ever moment of every day so they don't get stolen out from under my nose, sold, and tortured. It's bad. Maybe I just need to get a grip.

    Anyway, my point is, books/movies get to me. I love it, and I hate it. I'm never sure when I open a book I don't know much about how it's going to change me, because it almost always does.

  6. I finished the hunger games in 4 hours. Catching fire in 6- and that was only because i can't read as well while in the car.

    I also really want a t-shirt that says "I sponsered Katniss: Girl on Fire"

  7. You and I must be related. I call it binge reading.

  8. Crystal, I know what you mean about the love/hate relationship. I think I have some unhealthy feelings. I don't exactly seek these things out, but, when they find me, I love them.

    Carrie, I have this tendency (anther one) to kind of string out books when I really like them. Of rationing them out, knowing how crushing it will be when I finish. But, I know what you mean; these books read really quickly.

    Ana, I think you might be right. And I like your term. It sounds accurately unhealthy.

  9. I can totally relate to your post, that is why I love reading so much. I love books that just take me away. I read The Hunger Games in one night and I just finished "Catching Fire" last night. Some people like to slowly read books, but I devour them as if my life depended on it. I can't wait for Mockingjay!! Have you read the new Rick Riordan? It is called The Red Pyramid and deals with Egyptian Mythology- it is next on my list.
    Also, I re-read the Westing Game. Have you read it? I think you would love it.

  10. I just have to say I agree to all of the posts! After reading a good series I feel like I need to go to an AA meeting. I just can't seem to get out of the worlds I've just read about. Also I have made the cast in my head, and I want to then live in that world. Gah! I love reading, but I hate going through the withdrawls!

    Right now I have to read 50 plays before I start my European Theatre MA in a month, and I just keep wishing they were book series'!


  11. Kjersti, I suppose, if I'm being honest, this is also the reason I love reading.
    And, I haven't read Rick Riorden's new series, which is a shame, because I looooved Percy Jackson.
    And I also love the Westing Game. It's just the perfect book; so well written, so suspenseful, so fun.

    Sarah, I know what you mean about needing the AA meeting. I described the month after the 7th Harry Potter book as post-Potter depression.
    Wowza about the 50 plays. Best of luck with that.