How to Survive a Book Hangover

Hi everyone! Today I’m taking a brief detour from my series on Contract Clauses to talk about a problem every reader will eventually face (especially, I’m told, readers who’ve recently finished Crooked Kingdom).

Most of us have been there. You reach the end of a book that has wrecked you. You turn the final page, softly close the over, and stare out into the void, unmoving, unseeing, unable to rouse yourself to any purpose.  Your transition back in to the real world is a difficult one. You have a book hangover. 

Not every book leaves us a with a hangover at the end, and not all books that cause hangovers are alike. What they do seem to have in common is that they resonate deeply with the reader, and provide a totally immersive experience, not unlike coming out of a dark movie theater and stepping into the glaring light of day. Finishing an incredible book can leave you in a liminal space, between one world and the next, while you try to grapple with everything you’ve just read and the pages that have been burned into your heart and seared in your mind. It can be disorienting, but you’re gonna be fine.

Like real hangovers, book hangovers can plague a reader for hours or days. Here’s some things you can do to help ease back into the mundane reality of everyday life.


Find other readers suffering from the same book hangover as you. Wail and gnash your teeth on twitter or over a cup of coffee. Lean on others who share your pain. If you’re alone in your anguish, press the book upon others and badger them constantly until they read it and they, too, are wallowing in the post-book blues. Misery loves company.

Hair of the Dog

Read another book! But read something else, something different than the book that destroyed you. If you’re hung over from a contemporary drama, maybe try a comedic fantasy, or a graphic novel, or an old favorite comfort read. Something in a completely different vein to shake you up.

Swear Off Reading (for a little while)

Sometimes there’s just no way to follow up an incredible book. You might be better off just taking a breather for a little while. Listen to a podcast, watch some tv, take a walk. Sometimes giving yourself a little space between one book and the next is all you need to do.

Be Inspired

Make fan art or write fan fic to process you feels. Or funnel those same feels into an original work of your own. It’s easy to read an incredible book and feel like giving up, because how can you top perfection? But instead of giving up I urge you to create! Let someone else’s greatness spur you on toward your own!

Have any books given you an emotional hangover lately? What do you do to ride out the pain? Let us know in the comments!

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