Tuesday, December 03, 2019

End of book depression

by Rick Blechta

First, let me set you straight what I’m referring to here. This post is not about being depressed when you’ve finished writing a book, but finished reading a particularly good book.

Obviously there is some connection between the two things. One point of conjunction is the fact that you won’t be hanging around with these very interesting people any longer. If you’re a writer, of course you can begin to craft a new story for your characters and just carrying on being with them. If you’re a reader, you’re at the whim of the author (or publisher), plus if you’re reading a current series, you know there’s going to be a wait of most likely a year of more.

And that’s depressing if the novel and characters you’ve just finished enjoying is particularly good.

Fortunately, the depression doesn’t last long. In my case, it’s generally just a few hours, but it is actual depression.

I’ve been down with a particularly bad cold the past week, with the result that I’ve been staying indoors and allowing myself to just relax and focus on getting better —Christmas season being what it is for musicians (lots of gigs) and get-togethers with friends and such.

So I went over to my favourite bookstore, the excellent Sleuth of Baker Street, and bought some novels by my favourite authors who thoughtfully released books in time for the Christmas season.

I finished a Peter Robinson novel yesterday, and as always, he didn’t disappoint. It was excellent. As I lay the book down for the last time, a strong wave of sadness filled me. I couldn’t hang out with Peter’s invisible friends until the next book is published. Bummer that!

My question is this: am I weird or are there others out there who get depressed when they have just enjoyed a particularly good book?


Sybil Johnson said...

You're not weird, Rick. I feel the same way after I read a particularly good book. I'm sad that there's nothing left to read. That the characters don't have anything left to say or do. It's particularly sad for me when I know it's the last book in the series and there won't be any more.

Rick Blechta said...

Sybil, you must be really depressed when it's a one-off! ;)

Sybil Johnson said...

Ha ha, Rick. One-offs are different. I'm still saddened, but I don't expect to see the characters again.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I picked up "Five Smooth Stones" by Ann Fairbairn (because I liked the cover). I read it and loved it, loved the characters, ached with their losses and cried like a baby when David died. That was 40 some years ago and I still mourn the loss. Fairbairn's one other book was not like "stones".

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

And the pain of lost books. I read a book when I was a teenager -- a paperback that I picked up in a bookstore in my hometown and read one weekend. Set somewhere in Africa, with a wonderful female protagonist who had come from England to stay with wealthy relations. And then a murder and an intriguing police inspector who arrived to investigate.

Left that book in my bookcase when I went off to college. All those books long gone now. But I would love to read that book again. None of the book sellers I've asked have been able to identify from my vague description. Probably more romantic suspense than mystery. But, alas, whatever the genre, I've never been able to find it, again.

I'd love to curl up on a rainy Saturday afternoon with that book, Starlight mints, and a mug of cocoa and have the fun of reading again. I'd like to figure out why I loved that book so much the first time I read it. Definitely something the author can teach me about writing.

Donna S said...

I agree wholeheartedly with everyone above. I also stop reading an author if they kill off a one of my favourite characters or make them a villain all of a sudden. This has happened with two authors whose series I was thoroughly enjoying and then wham! I know the author does not care if I do not read any more of their books but I feel a sneaky satisfaction for not doing so.

Anna said...

Frankie: that elusive book - Ngaio Marsh? Margery Allingham?