I have what can be described as an overactive book metabolism. What I mean by this is when I finish a book at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I can be found starting a new one by half past. I rarely feel the need to process or digest the previous book. A few books have left me feeling “hungover.” This is when my mind is struggling. It’s not due to a crazy plot twist, but something deeper that is difficult to describe. On those rare occasions, I do give myself time perhaps a day at max. The Stand was one of these. I needed time to come to terms with the epicness. Honestly, this is the only word I can use to describe this book.
However, there are many people I know that upon finishing any book take a couple of days before starting the next one. My mother is one, and as I kid I never understood this. I thought, “What if someone asks, ‘What are you reading?’” It was completely unacceptable to say nothing right now. What!?! That’s crazy talk? I still feel this way.
Even in college when I would go months between free reading sessions I always had a book in progress. I couldn’t possibly have it any other way. I get this hivy feeling when I finish my book at work and must ride the train home, and I don’t have anything to read. It’s only a half an hour ride but it is torturous without reading material.
My lack of digestion might mean I have a serious addiction problem, but I don’t feel that it’s necessary for me to ponder books in post. Most of the time, I know how I feel about the book by the time I close the back cover. I feel that I do need more digestion time than the book was probably a rare gem. An alternative explanation is that I’m a slow reader so it could be argued that I digest as I consume.
I think my slow reading has left me feeling behind as well, so I have this urge to rush into the next book because it took me so long to get through the previous one. Over the years, I’ve gained reading speed, but my super slowness of yester-year still haunts me from when I was a kid and I had to read so many books or pages in order to get a reward.
While I tend to digest books at lightning speed I understand why some people need to wait before delving into the next story. They need time to adjust. They may need their brain to re-calibrate. In cases of really good books I think people need to come to terms with the idea that the story is over, and it might be quite a while before they read a book that invokes this feeling.
I admit I should probably take a slower approach to books and reading. I should enjoy the journey and process more. It’s not about how many you can get read in a year. It’s not a race. And I’ve improved on this. There are just so many wonderful works out there, and I want to get to as many as I possibly can.
I suppose it is a balance and perhaps some more digesting time might not be a terrible idea. How long is your book digestion?