The Breathers Between Books…

I was desperately trying to write a blog that explained some things which reading ‘The Woman Upstairs’ brought to my attention reading habit wise and some thoughts that your comments (which I will respond to) had set off in my head, they were actually quite clever and interesting points if I say so myself. For whatever reason though no matter how hard I tried, or how many edits I made, it was all just becoming a load of irrelevant twaddle/meandering waffle and so I gave up because I was in danger of throwing my laptop out of the window.

I think in part I am just a bit blog rusty, time poor thanks to work (selfish isn’t it that bloody thing called work, ha) and possibly just wasn’t making sense. So I decided that as the sun was shining that maybe I should ditch it and do something else outdoors for a break. So I dragged asked The Beard if we could go the nearby beach…

Sunset at Sea

Why do we not do this more often? It is literally twenty minutes down the road and it was just what I needed, a bit of quiet headspace. Well after a small drama involving some dead jelly fish, falling over in some very muddy sand and then The Beard discovering a whole families abandoned belongings and being unable to spot them so wanting to call the coast guard because he thought the parents had made a suicide pact. I kid you not on any of this, the latter has made me think of a really good beginning of a crime novel involving rock pools though.

A breather was what I needed, and then a simple thought popped into my head and I had a question for you all and then with the sandy dramas suddenly a whole post (if bugger all to do with what I actually wanted to write about) formed in the front of my mind. I then also realised I had two for tomorrow suddenly, sod’s law! Oh, yes so the question  – I am still thinking about the start of that crime novel I now want to go and write – that I had was this… What do you do for a breather, or indeed a cleanser between books? Do you have a break or do you simply dive into the next book? If the answer is a break, what does any bookish break entail? If you dive from one book to the next what do you do to make sure you aren’t going to confuse them, or do you mind if you do? I would love to know, so spill…


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

20 responses to “The Breathers Between Books…

  1. The books that I read start to finish are my favourites. Others I read several at a time and somehow I don’t confuse them. Once I am finished a favourite one, I turn off the lights, drink tea and listen to something soothing or if it is a rainy, windy day I listen to that and reflect/sleep. When I wake I have the book still on my mind and usually something subliminal from the book has revealed itself Friends drop by and ask about my finished books and I either promote them , loan them or tell them why it wasn’t my kind of book.Then I read cookbooks from my sizable collection before starting a new novel. Cookbooks are my favourite non fiction!

  2. I often switch from book to book quickly, but also I tend to read a fiction and non-fiction, both on the go at the same time, so once I finish a novel, I read a bit of the non-fiction before starting a new novel. That said, I can read loads of crime novels in a row without a problem, but if I’m reading something weightier I might need thinking time before starting a new novel.

  3. It depends on the book. Some grab me so much that I can’t read another fiction book until my mind has fully digested the previous on. In those cases I tend to go and read a non fiction book. While reading other books I sometimes get a trigger of a book I’ve read previously and then I’ll usually pick that up when I’ve finished the first one.

    However, having said all of that, I’m currently on a year of no fiction reading, so a very long breather, and I don’t know what I’ll pick up first in 2014.

  4. I just go see friends, take the dogs to the beach or take my big scooter for a ride on the road for a couple of hours. Then move on to another book.
    I was going to do a write up of a Woman Upstairs as read it for Book club tv show but am over it. Couldn’t cope with her whininess and she just got on my nerves and want to forget the book. Too much hype about it. That always puts me off. Besides my dog has a play date at the beach with a friend’s dog so that sounds like more fun. Pam

  5. Melissa

    I will switch genres. If I have been reading loads of crime, I’ll switch to fantasy or literary fiction, or nonfiction. If I am really in need of a break, I just run. I run marathons and shorter races, so I’ll spend extra time running or cross-training (while listening to my favorite podcast). If I can’t get out to run, I will just curl up with a movie and my cats.

  6. sharkell

    I usually pick up another book straight away but like many others, pick a book from a different genre. If I’ve just finished a really gripping or absorbing book, I’ll usually try something light to give myself a break. Sometimes I’ll pick up three or four books before I settle on a new one. I’m still alternating between library reads and my tbr pile so when it is time to pick up a library book I usually read the one that is due to be returned next.

  7. It really depends on the book; if I have read something that blew me away I need a break afterwards, otherwise I will hold the next book (unfairly) to the same standard. A walk on the beach sounds like an idea I may take up next time, seeing as I am five minutes away from sea and pebbles. Sometimes I will watch a TV show or do something where I am not really required to think. Most of the time, however, I do as you did and just socialise with some humans for a bit, then return to my own head with more reading.

    Otherwise, I find it quite easy to go from book to book as long as I switch genres, otherwise I risk the stories running into each other.

  8. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Sometimes I dive straight into another book, but sometimes I have such a book hangover that I can’t and I haven’t yet sussed out what to do, except perhaps read a classic murder mystery to clear my head! Anna Karenina was the worst – after my recent read it took days to readjust!

  9. I have to say that I tend to go from one book straight to the next, but . . if I have read a book that was particularly ‘involved’ or required me to pay attention, then I will read something a bit light and easy inbetween to act as a ‘breather’.

  10. Jenny

    Intriguing that you should ask this question just now. It is exactly the question I have been planning to ask our book group members when we meet next week.

    Having just finished reading Tan Twan Eng’s ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’ I find myself, as usual, desperate to immerse myself in another book and experience again the delicious tugging that urges me to leave my tasks and go on and read another few chapters. But, again as usual, I cannot just dive into the next book without a breather.

    Here’s my usual process: I write a short, personal review of the book I’ve just finished reading (which requires about 24 hours’ distance). Then I sit myself down with a pile of things I might like to read next, and maybe read a few pages of some of them until I find myself hooked on a particular one.
    Sometimes, when I can’t settle straightaway, I will read a couple of short stories (William Trevor’s are wonderful, and I have also started reading William Boyd’s). Another thing I often turn to between novels is a spell of non-fiction – though not necessarily a whole book. A third option for the in-between days is Proust, whose masterwork I am reading slowly as a kind of meditative activity. His prose is mesmerising and there are no chapters, so you can pick it up and put it down at will.

    The whole process may take a day or two, sometimes as long as a week.
    I really like to allow a good novel to ‘settle’ and I don’t like to rush into the next one, however enticing the prospect.

  11. I would say that would depend on the book and where I happen to be when I finish it. I do always take a break though even if it’s as small as getting up and making a cup of tea (if I’m lucky enough to have time to continue reading).

  12. gaskella

    We’ve just got two new kittens, so that’s job done – after being mobbed by the ever-demanding Ginny and little Harry (yes, HP names), it’s a relief to read! 🙂

  13. I’m usually reading several books at a time, but I find it the hardest to start a new book if I just finished a book I absolutely loved – this year, it’s been after I finished The Interestings and The Son. I feel like nothing will compare and it’s almost unfair to a new book to read it right after that book I Just loved so much. In those times, I’ll usually pick up a quick classic or take a short break.

  14. Hmm…I usually dive right into the next book. If I’m not reading something, I feel a bit lost.

    As far as breathers go, I am usually forced to take them by my kids. Interruptions abound! Haha! So I guess my breathers are spent listening to my daughter talk and talk and talk (and talk), or cooking dinner, or taking one of them someplace, or chatting with my husband when he gets home from work. Forced breaks. That’s my life. Haha!

  15. I read fluff books (chick lit or crime thrillers) and magazines. If that doesn’t work I tend to watch the telly – West Wing, Lost, Gilmore Girls, etc. I think taking breathers is a necessity when it comes to reading.

  16. Vardit

    I like to read all related posts, reviews or whatever I can find about the last book I read, especially If it was very good and I couldn’t put it down.
    Usually, the next book will be in another language and in a different country. I also read some poetry in between readings.

  17. Kateg

    Usually it is the deep literary fiction that I am sorry to see end that makes me need a breather. I will pick an Agatha (Raisin or Christie) before I pick up another book. If it is a great suspense novel (like SJ Bolton’s Now You See Me), I can go to a classic or a couple of short stories. I love to finish a book on Saturday morning, do errands, chores, etc and then start a new one later in the day. Pure luxury as I have few Saturdays free from work.

  18. I tend to need at least some form of breather between books. That might just be a night’s sleep (or indeed a day at work) or it might be a day out. Yesterday we went to the park, had a picnic, did word puzzles, watched hot-air balloons overhead. I had fully intended to read in the park but I think I needed the break that doing those other things gave me. This morning I was ready to dive into a new book.

  19. Unless I’m in a situation (i.e. airport lounge, rainy tent) where I MUST be reading, I try and at least wait until the next day before picking up my next book, as hard as it is. I think it’s beneficial, whether you’re going to do a review or not, to let the feeling (whether it be love or hate!) sink in and mull around for a bit before moving on.
    If I feel like I’m pressurising myself in any area of my life I head to the great outdoors 🙂 It’s the perfect place to find your head again and gain some perspective. Good show.

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