Beating the Book Blahs

Written By: Dawn - Sep• 18•12


Have you ever looked inside your closet and thought you had nothing to wear even though the closet was full of items? You start trying on clothes and putting together outfits but nothing fits, looks right, feels right or makes you appear 10 lbs. lighter? At this point your body temperature begins to rise, signaling an imminent meltdown. Shouting occurs, perhaps a throwing of the offending garments across the room and most certainly the gnashing of teeth. It isn’t pretty.

It might surprise you to know that the same thing happens to book lovers. While there’s no official name for this malady, I like to call it Transition Trouble.

Transition Trouble is a dangerous affliction that affects your ability to dive into a new book after recently finishing an engaging one. In my case, I read new novels from my favorite authors all summer and then became stuck in the middle of a second book in a trilogy that seemed to be limping along. I decided to take a break from it (something I rarely do) and discovered two new fiction titles that I had trouble putting down.

It’s been about ten days since I finished that last book and now I’m the one limping along. Everything I pick up feels wrong. I even requested two books with Jane Austen themes from the public library, but unfortunately they both centered on Mansfield Park, my least favorite of her work.

I’ve discussed this problem with other book lovers and found that it happens to everyone at some point. And we all appear to have the same fix- the palette cleanser. This is a favorite book, reread many times, that serves to clear your head and settle anxiety (because now you’re worried you’ll never find another new book you want to read). My palette cleanser is Pride & Prejudice. I can open it to any page and immediately begin to relax. After two or three days I’ve calmed down enough to pick up something new.

So last night I grabbed my worn copy of P&P (I own several) and waited for it to work its magic on me.

And I waited.


I’m now in four-alarm crisis mode. I HAVE NO BOOKS!

Yes I realize this is a gross exaggeration considering I work in a library and own at least 1,500 books but believe me, I have no books right now. Nothing is appealing to me and I’m getting worried.

The first thing I did this morning was log into Amazon and look up the titles I’d read recently and loved. Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought____ Also Bought ______” feature is a fabulous way to discover new authors.  I searched and searched, then opened a new tab for the Scottsdale Public Library. As I found potential good reads, I requested them from the library or, if they weren’t available, added them to my Amazon cart. In the end I requested 8 titles, ordered 3 and will stop by the library on my way home from work today to pick up one book that was on shelf and waiting to go home with an avid reader.

I’d like to think that between 14 books coming my way in the next week, at least one of them can rescue me from this malaise.

Has this ever happened to you? What’s your favorite palette cleanser? I might need some suggestions!

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  1. BFF says:

    That happens all the time. Sometimes, I’ll buy a book that I want to read, and then get it home and not pick it up for a year. The timing just isn’t right. I”m still waiting to read “The Help” even though I’ve owned it since right around the time the movie came out. I bought it and then instantly didn’t feel like reading it!

    But, let me suggest my favorite historical fiction author, John Jakes. Love love love his stuff. North & South Trilogy (fabulous) – Kent Family Chronicles (by book 6 or 7, I was finished with the people and didn’t read the final book, but the rest were great) – and the Homeland books he wrote are all great.

  2. Reg says:

    This happens to me as well. I am someone who reads several books at one time, and I often read books in a series out of order. Sometimes I even read a book out of order! (Like Harry from ‘When Harry Met Sally”, lol!) My husband finds that very odd. But I do get book fatigue, and sometimes going back and re-reading old favorites helps, but not always. (My current go-to book is Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.) Sometimes I just take a break from reading all together- often for a few months, so I can just regroup. I felt that way after finishing the Game of Thrones series. It was just so exhausting reading those, I needed a mental break.

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