All of us recognize the one universal truth of being a biblioholic: There’s no greater joy than reading a good book and getting transported to all kinds of amazing far away places. Most of the time, loving books as passionately as we do is a blessing. Each read is like a new adventure, full of the usual highs and lows. We love the books that make us cry, or the ones that make us laugh. 95% of the time it’s a gift, and it’s why we wouldn’t change our love of reading for anything.
Then there’s the other 5%, when that level of passion feels like a curse. Those are the times when that level of emotion, over a fictional world, is the worst feeling in the world. What I mean is, sometimes reading and feeling the world so deeply makes it harder to regulate your own real world emotions. Everything doubles up on you. It’s in these very small time periods that I wish I didn’t read quite as much as I do. It’s when I wish I could separate myself from the story, or put it away for a while. No matter how good it is.
For example; you’re angry, something has happened in your personal life and you’re just pissed. Then you are reading a book, and the characters are just the stupidest asses on the planet, and your anger level skyrockets to the point that you want to rip the book in half and scream because your own anger is adding to the book anger, and the emotion of it is too incredibly overwhelming.
Or, how about you’re down in the dumps. Life is hard for everyone, we all feel bouts of sadness when we struggle with something (bills, work, family…). You’re reading a book, and the feel of the entire story is melancholy, meant to pluck at your heart strings. The problem is, you were already emotionally low when you started, and now the book has catapulted you into the depths of despair. Your gut is clenched, you have a lump in your throat and, where books are usually your relief, this time it’s making everything harder.
Do you know what the worst part is? What I feel makes me the most crazy? It’s that what really bothers me is how my real life emotions affect my enjoyment of the book. I struggle more that my thoughts on the book are clouded, than I do that my emotions are ricocheting all over the place. Who cares if I’ve become manic! My feelings on the book have been perverted! That is its own level of blasphemy!
As I write this, I wonder if it’s something other people feel or am I actually crazy? Has anyone else wrote a scathing review about a book, then wondered if their enjoyment level was tainted by personal problems or emotions?