Welcome to another of my Bookish Ponderings instalments! This is the third one, I believe :D
So from this post, I asked everyone to vote on a topic I should discuss. The answer to the poll was book feels (BOOK FEELS HELP), and though that still is partially the topic, my posted ended up morphing into a discussion about coping with book hangover feels. So I'll just go with it and do a separate Musing and Pondering post on coping with spontaneous book feels another time :)
There is literally so much to talk about with this. First off, let's start with a Erika-given definition of what "book feels" really are in order to better understand how to deal with the intense wave of them that instigates a book hangover:
Short version: when the events in a book invoke strong feelings. Associated with terms catharsis (release of emotions), or pathos (invoking pity or sadness).
Long version: when the book is so good that it renders you completely mind-boggled due to an overwhelming amount of emotion.
Even longer version: when a book utterly destroys your life and just SOMEONE PLEASE SEND HELP BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY ANYONE CAN BE OKAY AFTER WHAT THE AUTHOR JUST DID TO THEIR CHARACTERS AND TO ME. Yeah, that about sums it up nicely.
There are different kinds of reasons causing book feels at the end of the book, ultimately causing a book hangover. Plot twist, identity reveals, cliffhangers, the most perfect or bittersweet ending, sadness/intense sense of missing from the characters or the worlds, and so forth. The list goes on. I mean, who knew there were so many ways a book could destroy us? So, how does one cope with these extreme emotions? Short answer: YOU CAN'T. YOU WON'T. YOU'RE DESTINED TO AGONIZE FOR ETERNITY. Long answer: well, this isn't much that can really be done. Everyone goes through it differently. Some simply go through the motions of continuing on with their lives while a hurricane of emotion destroys them from the inside (guilty), others find like-minded people and despair together, and then there are those who just sit and stare and wail endlessly at walls (guilty guilty guilty).
But realistically speaking, how does one cope? I have a few ideas, but they are by far not perfect, nor do they work for everyone. But here's some things that work for me once the wave of feels hits me after I finish a book: 1. Reading something else: this actually is rather effective for me. Once I've had time to realize just bad my book feels are, I'll jump to pick up the next book on my TBR to read in hopes to make me forget about the feels from the previous book. It's not a miracle worker, as often the book I'll pick up will have nothing on the previous book or my heart just won't be into it, but sometimes if I push through, it will help alleviate the intense feelings. 2. Predictions: if this is an ongoing series, making predictions as to what will happen works. That being said, it can either make your book feels better or worse, as you may find yourself even more excited at the possibility of one of your predictions coming true. But hey, making predictions is super fun, so why not do it anyways? If it's a standalone or the final book of a series, envisioning what will happen (dreaming up happy-ending scenarios) definitely works too. Did your ship sail? Think about all the fun they'll be up to, and all the adventures they'll have together! 3. Recovery time:this sometimes means not picking up any book for a period of time, let it be a few days or an entire week as you struggle to come to terms with the emotions the book has caused. (In extreme terms, it's also called a self-induced book slump, where you force yourself into a book slump in order to recover)
4. Bookworms unite: as mentioned before, this is when you jump to other readers who you know have read the book and have probably gone through the same emotions you're going through. It really does help! You don't feel so alone in the overwhelming book feels, and can wallow in agony over why the next book (if it's an ongoing series) isn't out yet or discuss all the feels the ending gave you. Chances are someone will sympathize and be in a similar state of agony! 5. Doing anything other than reading: similar to the first point, but this would be more for immediate relief of book feels. Just throw yourself into something else to not think about it: walking your dog or cuddling the cat, cooking/baking/eating, chatting to someone in person, listening to music, watching a movie, playing a game, anything.
6. Venting to someone who hasn't read the book: make sure they don't mind being spoiled! That, or they don't intend on ever reading the book (shame on them--they don't know what they're missing). But just letting everything out to someone who is completely new to the book actually is kind of therapeutic, I find. In the sense that you get to start from the very beginning with plot summaries and character summaries, and relive the events living up to the source of the book feels. You basically get to put into physical words why it's affecting you so much, and for some reason, making someone understand why you feel so strongly can actually help!
Aaaannnd that's all I can think of right now. Plus this post is way longer than I anticipated it to be, but oh well. There's so much that can be said about this topic! What about you guys? How do you deal with book feels? Do you employ any of my suggested ones? I'd love to know what you guys do to handle it!