Monday, July 6, 2009

book finishing blues

I finished all of the books in the Twilight Saga last week, and I've been in mourning ever since.

I'm fighting the inevitable post-book blues not because I hated the ending, or the last book disappointed me. On the contrary, I am very satisfied with the saga's conclusion, I believe that book four was one of the best of the series, and I love love LOVE the characters even more now than I ever did. I just feel so sad that the tale is over. I raced furiously to the finish... pulling some near all-nighters in the process... I couldn't help myself. But now that the story is over, I, as Stephenie Meyer would say, still thirst for more.

Reading has always been such a glorious escape for me. I grew up in such a rural area, only able to access two channels consistently on television (CBS and NBC) until I moved to college and discovered cable (but by then it was too late for me to develop any real TV habits), and as soon as I learned to read, books became my most favorite pastime. I carry them everywhere with me. I'm rarely caught without my current book in my purse, just in case I have a few extra minutes before a meeting or while waiting at the dentist's office. The Twilight Saga really brought out the worst in my reading habits. I barely spoke to Brad. I flew home each day to throw dinner together quickly so that I could have more reading time that evening. I blew off social engagements and did the bare minimum around the house. I became so addicted to the story, simply needing to know what happened next that I began reading a few paragraphs at each red light on my commute to and from work each day. Amazingly, I only was honked at twice because I missed the light change!

Now that I've finished the series, I plan to rent the first movie ASAP. And my calendar is already marked for the November 20th release of the second movie, New Moon. I can only imagine Brad's enthusiasm when I drag him to the theater in November. I'd better start preparing him now for a theater full of lovestruck teenage girls... and us. Today, I plan to download and read Midnight Sun, which is the unfinished and unpublished version of Twilight told from Edward's perspective. This novel was leaked on the Internet last summer before it was finished, and because of that, Stephenie Meyer decided not to finish or publish it, but to share with her fans what she had written thus far.

I pity people who don't enjoy reading. It pains me to think of all that they miss out on. Granted, I acknowledge that the world of vampires and werewolves and small towns and first love and eternity is not for everyone. But I do believe that everyone could find real pleasure with the right book, if they would only read enough to determine their literary tastes.

Most fiction authors that I've heard speak at the National Book Festival tell of the mourning period that occurs after they finish writing a book. The authors live with the characters' voices inside their heads for so long that they become real people in their minds. With books that really get under my skin, I feel a similar loss as a reader. Knowing my own despondence, I can only imagine what authors go through.

After the fantasy that I've lived in for the last two weeks, I am now struggling to read my book club's July selection. While Twilight was like drinking five cups of coffee before bedtime each night, Founding Mothers is like overdosing on Tylenol PM. It knocks me out within minutes of picking it up. I mean no offense to Cokie Roberts. I know that her book is good for me and one that, as an American and a woman, I should read. Had I not gotten sucked into the Twilight craze, I would probably enjoy reading her book much more than I do. But if given the choice, I'd much rather still be living in the magical world of vampires.


kerryandtorey said...

I know how you feel about the post-book blues! we will go to the movie with you in November :-)

Katie said...

I'm almost too scared to start reading the Twilight sounds like a real commitment. But I know what you mean it's so fun to really get enveloped by a story.

Susannah said...

Please let me know how you think the movie compares to the book. I'm anxious to hear, having only seen the movie...