A Magpie recently wrote: “I just finished The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See and have a complete book hangover…will need in excess of a few days to fully digest and ruminate before moving onto my next pick. It reminded me a lot of Pachinko – beautiful storytelling, completely thrown into a new (to me) world and culture, complex relationships and family dynamics over decades – essentially, all of the makings of a great novel. I found myself googling so many things to help visualize aspects of the culture and day to day life (anyone else do this?! I’m a visual person…).”
I am new to the phrase “book hangover,” but I know intimately its symptoms, particularly the frisson of not wanting to finish the last few chapters, but needing to know what happens, and then the dimness of the days after you’ve shut the book jacket, they way they feel as though they are missing something. Which they are. Reading a great book is like being in a fabulous but short-lived relationship. It calls to you all day long, seeking your engagement. It rewards you. And then it ends, abruptly! Other symptoms may include:
+Manic googling, as the Magpie above mentioned; I’ve found myself doing this a bit with Remarkably Bright Creatures. I found myself watching videos of great Pacific octopi (can they really contort themselves through tiny openings?), and Google image searching Puget Sound, and all kinds of things. A hallmark of being sucked into a fictive universe.
+Light irritability when reading the next book in your queue. (“But I just want more of the same…”)
+Missing certain elements of the book in certain parts of your home, or neighborhood, or even during certain parts of the day. I feel this way about Taste by Stanley Tucci, which I listened to on audiobook last summer. Even still, I cannot turn certain corners of my neighborhood without thinking of him and wishing I could read it anew all over again. That book is an interesting one because though none of it is groundbreaking, Tucci is such a lovely companion, his voice so rich and conversational and self-deprecating and delightful, and he makes life feel warm and engaging. Reading him is a reminder of how short life is, and why we must take great pains to enjoy ourselves. There is a great quote by E.B. White: “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time.” Tucci left me in a similar headspace. Lean in, girl!
+Envying people who have not yet read the book.
+Exploring the author’s backlist hoping that somehow you’ll find the pre-story or post-story of one of the characters you loved from the novel you just finished.
+Contemplating how long is intellectually appropriate to wait before re-reading.
+Comparing other books through its prism.
+Needing to take a break from reading.
The book that gave me the worst reading hangover was The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. The writing is, simply, tremendous. The way she dresses her characters in words, their dimensionality, their hyperrealism — it absolutely blew my mind and transported me to a different world. I was deeply invested in those characters and missed them when they were gone. (Full, rave, fan-girl review here.)
What about you? What book has given you a bad hangover? I feel like this is a great prompt for surfacing a list of can’t-miss books! Please share!
+I of course immediately added The Island of Sea Women to my summer reading list.
+A list of 10 books that changed my life. I still stand by all of these though this is a very old post.
+Giving yourself a soft landing when you need one.
+A podcast that truly released something in me — or released something from me — on apologies.
+Summersalt is offering 30% off sitewide! I mentioned this brand recently — I know many of you are big fans! — as they recently reached out to me and I can’t wait to give their swim, especially their best-selling ruffle backflip suit, a try. A Magpie reader chimed in with this to say about the Backflip Suit: “I have both the ruffled and ruched versions and they are basically my dream summer-w-small-kids suit: the back frame is a little unexpected, neckline is plungey but totally stays put, and the leg has a very flattering high cut. I’m very picky about cuts and this one hits all the marks for me).” High praise! If that’s too chesty for you, I just saw a mom at our pool wearing The Sidestroke in white, and I did a triple take. Love the interesting back! I appreciate that the site showcases different body types in the suits and has its own grading system on cheekiness and chest coverage.
+This cotton eyelet button-front dress looks perfect for all the mom things, whether you’re nursing, pregnant, going from swim meet to dinner, etc. A great blend of casual and chic, and love the sage green hue.
+Zara just marked down a lot of very chic items. This dress is one of my top selling items this entire year, and it’s now under $60. Also love this cute mini caftan. More of my favorite Zara finds here, and most are including in the sale.
+25% off my favorite vitamin C product ever. You have to be a member of Biossance’s “Clean Crew” but it’s free to join and worth it.
+Love the pattern on this top. Under $120 and so great for white jeans/shorts.
+Last summer, a Magpie said she bought the enormous pump-style bottle of Supergoop sunscreen (my favorite — great, liquid-y consistency that is easy to apply, smells lovely, and really lasts) and kept it at her back door as an easy way to incorporate SPF application into her daily routine. I’m following suit this year!
+Loft nailed it with this striped everyday dress — SO good! LOVE.
+This SEA dress is speaking my language.
+My neighbor used some of those rechargeable stick lamps on her dining table over the weekend and they were SO clever and chic! Love the options with striped shades.
+Just came across this cute swim company that seems to have designed the most genius rash guard for children ever. They are UPF 50, they zip up the front for easy on/off (such a pain to remove a wet rash guard from a toddler), and are $25, which feels reasonable! I love that they have really cute patterns, like gingham, and great solid options, too. Target also has a great inexpensive option (currently on sale for under $10). Doesn’t have the zipper or UPF, and has more limited color options, but a good back-up.
+A great throw-and-go summer dress for under $50.
+Who else had one of these Simon Says games as a kid? I just ordered one for my daughter and she’s hooked.
+Loved this cropped fitness tee so much, I ordered in both colors.
+DYING over these bone china Tiffany espresso cups. SO fabulous and cute!
+Pam Munson just marked down a bunch of her bags — how fab is this one?
+Has anyone tried the running shorts from Jolyn? I randomly stumbled across this brand on Instagram and the fit looks good, and the price is right…!