Reading a good book is depressing

3 Aug

Every time I read a good book, I mean a really good book, I’m sad when I finish it. Depending on how much I loved the book, the sadness ranges from feeling slightly blue to feeling like I want to crawl in bed and stay there for a week.

Why?

Because when I’m reading a fabulous book, I’m enthralled. I’m enraptured. I’m in love with the characters. They’ve become more than friends, they’re part of me, and I them. As I turn each page, my internal conflict grows. I am that much closer to the resolution of the story, the denouement of the saga into which I have poured my time, energy, concentration, emotions. I stay up late reading, knowing with every page I turn that the next morning I will regret breaking my self-imposed curfew. I have four kids – my sleep is precious, but for a good book, I’m willing to endure a little sleep-deprived insanity.

The final chapter approaching is good news and bad news. I want to know how it ends, but I don’t want it to end. I want the story to continue. I want to know how my friends go about their lives after the last sentence. Have you ever watched ripples on the surface of a bowl of water? The ripples go outward in concentric circles at first, but then they reach the edges of the bowl and bounce back toward the center, bumping or even crashing into more outward-bound ripples. The shape of the ripples change. This is how I imagine repercussions after the story ends. I want to watch the ripples.

The good thing is that I can read the story again. I can relive the action. This gives me a little solace, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking, there’s only one first time to read a story. 

I guess it’s a good thing that I have a horrible memory. That way I can go a few years without reading a book, then feel the thrill of the first-read all over again because I’ve forgotten so much.

I still get depressed, though.

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One Response to “Reading a good book is depressing”

  1. Marianne August 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I can so relate. This summer, I’ve allowed myself to stay up late every night reading book after book (since the kids are sleeping in later), but I keep being so sad with each ending. It’s a deliciously vicious cycle.

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