The Four Phases of a Relationship...

...with a book.
I posted on Instagram earlier this week that books have taken over my life. Literally. In every aspect.  Physically; the pile of books on my bedside table that wobbles taller, collects dust and never seems to diminish. Socially; conversations with friends and colleagues than transpires with more books I *have* to read right away! And financially; the Kindle receipts that keep landing in my inbox (whoops). I am literally binging on books. The thrill I get from buying them has replaced the thrill of buying a new lipstick. I know I shouldn’t, I know I have enough, but I *can’t* not!

Having just been lost in the ebook pages of a crazy, intense love story (The Hating Game, for those interested), I’ve realised how predictable I am in different phases of reading a book. Does anyone else join me on this roller coaster? 

Phase 1: Overwhelm. In relationship terms, we’ve all heard the old adage ‘plenty more fish in the sea’. Well, in book terms, I’m awash. I’m literally lost at sea drowning in the tide of never-ending recommendations. My Kindle wishlist on Amazon now stretches to six pages. The list on my iPhone is so damn long, I’ve had to take extra notes to remember who recommended what before categorising all those 'books to read' by ‘Kindle', ‘Bookshelf’ and ‘Audible. At present, I have ten books downloaded waiting on Kindle, seven books purchased on Audible (plus one credit spare) and don’t get me started on the stack of physical books on my bookshelf in my flat… and at my parent’s house. I often fantasise about my full-time job being reading. I think my husband has the same fantasy (so I'll clear some shelf-space). 

Phase 2: First Hurdle. I find starting a new book can sometimes be bit overwhelming. Will it be better than the last? Will I like the characters? The writing style? Will the ending leave me satisfied… or pissed off? With literally forty books to choose from (aka: spoilt for choice), picking one can be hard enough but I find having a good portion of time to dedicate to the start is key. That’s why on holiday, I can fly through four books in a week because I have zero interruptions.  In normal life, I am definitely guilty of getting a few pages in, my eyes start to droop and before you know it I’ve fallen asleep and I struggle thereafter to get into the swing of the book. The Hating Game being case and point. It sat at the difficult 3% mark for a good couple of days before a little bout of insomnia gave me a two hour block to break into it. Carving out time; a long journey, a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, are my prime opportunities.

Phase 3: Infatuation. I often say the main benefit of Audible is that you don’t have to stop reading when you're walking to the station or changing lines on the Underground. Well, the truth is with a bloody good book that’s not true. I love seeing Londoners wander nose-down in a book attempting to navigate the crowds with peripheral vision only and a sixth sense to stop you face-planting a lamppost. My train broke down this morning on the way to work and I was overjoyed at the legitimate excuse for more minutes to stay lost in the story. Sign of a good book, for sure. It's equally responsible for making me an antisocial hermit who will cancel plans, feign sickness and wish for rain just so I can selfishly sit in solitude with only those characters for company.

Phase 4: Mourning. The problem with infatuation is it never lasts. The more infatuated I am, the sooner I find myself in Phase 4 feeling bereft that the author selfishly stopped writing. I lap up those indulgent epilogues which jump into the future and give you the sugar-coated, chocolate-dipped strawberry of a ‘happily ever after’ just to leave you feeling truly satisfied. However, next comes the book-blues. I just raced through the final 40% of the book in the last 24 hours and I’m now sat contemplating, well, what now? Half of me wants to keep on the reading bandwagon and dive straight into another book. The other half of me feels emotionally attached to Lucy ‘Shortcake’ Hutton and Josh Templeton that, surely, no one can compete (for at least a few days). 

Perhaps that’s why you’ve got this blog post - "book-reavement".


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