My Bookshelf

Post-Book Depression

We’ve all experienced it, haven’t we? That dread that begins to creep up on you as you near the end of your favorite book or trilogy. You start to read slowly instead of quickly because you don’t want to turn the page when there are so few left. So instead, you pause, reread a certain phrase, stop in a moment because you know that all too soon, you will have to say goodbye to these characters.

(Spoilers Alert!)

As a reward for finishing my manuscript, I took this weekend to reread an older series that I only ever read once back in middle school. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini follows a young farmer boy named Eragon who is thrust into a world of magic, love, politics, and danger when he encounters a dragon egg in the Spine. His story spans four books, over 3,000+ pages. Maybe you have heard of this brilliant series?

Paolini wrote the first books while still in his teens. Paolini was one of the first authors who inspired me during my youth that age was not a deterrent to becoming a great author. Regardless of his youth, Paolini self-published Eragon and spent a year promoting his own work until it was picked up and re-published traditionally.

These past four days, I lost myself in pages that I remembered whimsically and was able to digest the story in a whole new light. There were things I had forgotten, or not understood back then, things I had taken for granted. Now as a story teller myself, I can image the pain-staking detail that went into Paolini’s work. Indeed, because of my own maturity, this time felt like the first time reading the series. As I sped through the pages, I endlessly devoured the old story until I suddenly realized I only had a few pages left. Suddenly I was terrified, I didn’t want the story to end (especially since I remembered how it ended).

But finished, I did.

And I was left with this overwhelming melancholy, this feeling that I had lost someone. In fact I had lost many someones and somethings: I lost the opportunity to ever ride on the back of Saphire with Eragon, I lost the ability to walk through Ellesmera with Ayra, I never got the chance to see Murtaugh happy or Roran rebuild his home with his family. Of course I can always reread, but there is something lost after that initial read, after the first time that you truly understand a series. I’ve searched online for a word that adequately describes how an individual feels after finishing a book and most refer to it as “Post-Book Depression,” which is mostly accurate. But not entirely, as I was not only sad but happy and also longing for more…

Instead of saying that I had Post-Book Depression, I propose a new word: Saudade.

It is a Portuguese folk word that is practically untranslatable in most languages. But generally it means:

A deep emotional state of melancholic longing for someone or something that is absent.

Indeed, this word helps describe how I feel every time I come to the ending of something beautiful. The characters that I read in every book are not only characters to me. They are alive in my imagination, teaching me, directing me, warning me, instructing me, encouraging me. It is the characters that stay, long after the words fade.

Do you too suffer from Saudade after finishing a new book or series?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

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87 thoughts on “Post-Book Depression”

  1. This is so very true! I loved this series, I remember eagerly waiting for the last two books to be published, talking to a friend about all the possibilities to come in the story, what might happen and then trying not to finish the last book as I knew it would all be over and I’d just be left with a sense of longing for all the characters and places! Saudade is a beautiful word that I have now adopted as my word of the day. I feel myself doing the same with ‘The demon cycle’ by Peter V Brett. I have another friend waiting to discuss all the events from the last book but I haven’t been able to bring myself to finish it yet, I will soon but today I am just not ready 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for but I guess it’s a little like life, never what you expect it to be! I would have preferred the happier fairytale ending but sometimes the world needs hero’s and not lovers and this was true to the story although it did make me sad.

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            1. Exactly! He kept playing it and playing them up and then it was just like nothing happened with all that build up. Plus he just saved the land, he should get to celebrate that victory with his brother and new family

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              1. I know, I had so much hope for the two of them! His only reward in the end was a lonely island with lots of eggs and more work to be done. I suppose such is life, love doesn’t always triumph but they definitely deserved for it too so maybe one day in their future (as they are looking to live a very long life as elves do) they can come back to each other and finally be together.

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                  1. Well this is good news! I hope he does, and even if it doesn’t follow the two main characters I hope they will make an appearance to satisfy my hopes for them 🙂 I will have to keep an eye out for anything new he releases. Thank you ❤️

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I have too, very much so 🙂
                      No I did not, that would have been very interesting, but I’m glad he went with Nasuada as Queen, I love a strong female character!
                      What book are you currently reading? Or any recommendations? As I am currently on the look out for a new adventure to get my mind stuck into.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. It would have been interesting but it wouldn’t have been fair to Nasuada or to Roran. Nasuada deserved to reign after everything she accomplished and Roran deserved to go home and rebuild like he always wanted.
                      I recently reread an old series called “Uglies.” That one is great! I’ve also really enjoyed the O’Malley series by Der Henderson

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  2. This is a relatable post. I think your word, “Saudade” is much more appropriate. Thanks for thinking of a better way to talk about this experience. Isn’t it great to know that we will never run out of books to read?!

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  3. I’ve always dealt with this, afterwards I can’t stop thinking about the book and wishing it continued so I can see the next chapter of the lives of the characters I feel that I know so well. They almost become friends, even through the borders of the book covers.

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  4. I was definitely sad when I finished this series! This happens with most every book I read. I wind up enthralled in the story, feeling as though I am living it through the characters. I am always sad to say goodbye!

    Liked by 1 person

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