The Space Between Books

I admire those people who can immediately delve into another book as soon as they finish reading one. Even though I can do that sometimes, especially if I don’t feel connected to the one that I just finished reading, I generally need to have some space between books even if it’s an hour or two.

Some people call this time between books as a “book hangover” because the reader’s thoughts are still in the previous book and trying to process it. Quite frankly, I don’t think this is an appropriate word for how I feel about it. I don’t get “drunk on books” so therefore I don’t get a “hangover” from them.

In the library world there are terms called acquisition and book processing. Acquisition is exactly what it implies, you acquire the books and catalog it into the system. And then the books get sent to the branches where circulation clerks and librarians process the books. This means checking the publication date to see if it’s the current year and if so, changing the status to new before checking it in and clearing the “processing” status.

I mention this because I feel like the word “processing” is a much closer fit to how I take a break between books. I acquired the book, I put it to my mind, and now that I’m done, I need some space to “process” what I just read about. It seems more gentle and less violent and painful than the term “hangover.”

This process is important for me. Even though I love to read and even if I enjoy the book that I’m reading, by the end of the book I feel like I’m in a marathon to finish it. It’s like the book will never end no matter how fast I try to read it. By the end, I’m exhausted and even thinking about touching another book is unthinkable.

If you need time to process a book, what is your ritual to get back in the mood to read? Or do you need one at all?

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