Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Q [9] Book Anxiety: Is it a thing?

I wouldn't call myself an overly anxious person, but there are things that stress me out and make me feel nervous. Books are one of those things, and it's one of the best worst feelings. I dislike feeling anxious, because my chest feels tight, I start holding my breath, and occasionally grind my back teeth. It's an overall unpleasant feeling, and that's just the physical.

It's really distracting when I read, even though I know a book has a single and inevitable ending. My brain still wants to veer off in multiple directions and assess all the different possibilities. It's like my mind cannot sit still and wait for the story to get where it's going, so it comes up with all these other alternatives until I feel like I'm going to explode. I know this means a book is amazing, and I really love that, but it also means I start skimming pages before I can stop myself and force my brain to slow down.

As I'm skimming, I'm looking for the Big Details so I will have an idea about what's going to happen next. Depending on the level of my anxiety, I might look at the end to see what happens before flipping back to my spot. Blasphemous, I know, but I'm totally okay with it. It makes me feel less anxious, and my brain settles down, which allows me to re-enjoy the book. I don't like feeling super stressed waiting for the other shoe to drop, and would like to know where both shoes land before my feet get there.

A recent example would be The Girl in Red by Christina Henry, because the main character is constantly in danger. Every decision she makes is life or death, and that's scary. I was concerned for her well-being, and second-guessing every choice she made. It made me feel bananas waiting to see if she would be okay at the end. Also, you should definitely read The Girl in Red. It's remarkable!

These are often the books I get the most excited about, and the stories I want everyone to read. I know my process sounds insane, and I was wondering if anyone else felt that way? Do you feel anxious when you read? Do you skip ahead to make sure everything is going to be okay? If not, how do you deal with your book anxiety?

26 comments:

  1. I don’t think it happens for me often but there are definitely times that I get that same anxious feeling when reading. I recently listened to Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan and it dealt with domestic violence/abuse. There were some scenes that were so graphic and so upsetting that I could tell I was having an actual physical reaction to what was playing out in the book. Heart racing, pulse pounding, feeling anxious over the imminent danger. More often, though, are the times I am utterly heartbroken by events in books. Moved to tears over something so sad or tragic or unfair. If a character’s heart is breaking chances are mine is, too.

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    1. Yes! There have been books that made me feel completely synched with the characters. When they were afraid, I was honestly scared myself. When they were crying and heartbroken, my tears ran freely down my face. It's amazing when an author can make you feel like you're experiencing the story with the characters.

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  2. I used to love book anxiety. I remember a few series that kept me reading late into the night - frantically downloading the next book so I could find out what happened.

    But now I hate it. I skim ahead or will search for spoilers. I like emotion but not anxiety lol

    it also takes A LOT to make me feel that much though these days.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I feel like I used to love it, but now my heart is older and can't take the strain, haha. There are still a few books that I love to stay up reading, but they're few and far between. It's nice when they pop up randomly, though. I do remember frantically downloading books! I'm happy to find a fellow skimmer amongst my blogging friends. Most people would be appalled. ;) I don't mind spoiling a book for myself, but still get upset when someone else spoils it for me. Like you said, like the emotion but not the anxiety. <3

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  3. I don't do it as often with book on my Kindle but I use to skip and read the back page a lot with romances when I wasn't sure the couple would actually end up together and I felt like I just had to know that they would in order to get past whatever drama they were currently in. I try not to do it anymore but..sometimes you just have to know or else you can't sit still and enjoy the rest of the story so..I totally get it. ;)

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    1. Right?? It's too hard to skip ahead on the Kindle, and then finding your place always takes forever. Luckily, most of my book anxiety has happened while reading physical copies, so I've been able to sneak a peak. Oh! The worst? Audiobooks! I will start feeling super anxious, but skipping ahead on audio is worse than trying on my Kindle.

      Yes! If it's emotional and heartbreaking for them, it's emotional and heartbreaking for me. If I can look ahead and see that a couple is going to be okay/not okay, that helps me manage all the drama and complications.

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  4. I have definitely had books where I've done that- looked ahead to lessen the anxiety. :) Some books are just masterful at building that tension! I had someone tell me once they couldn't believe I'd look ahead to see what happens, and I could only shrug haha! what can you do? And at the same time those can be the best kinds of reads, because it means we're really into them!

    Now you have me thinking of giving Girl in Red a shot...

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    1. It seems I'm not the only one, haha! I'm surprised how many other people look ahead in their books. I love books with tension, but sometimes I have to sneak a peak or I'll snap. There's always a point where I feel too tense and anxious, and skimming a little helps lessen that. Yes! They ARE the best kinds of reads! It means the author is really delivering and making you feel invested in the story.

      You MUST read The Girl in Red, Greg. It's a YOU book! 100%.

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  5. I sometimes get anxious when I read, but I try not to skip ahead. If I’m anxious, it means the book is really good, and I don’t want to spoil it for myself. Sometimes I can’t help it, though! I flip ahead a few chapters to see if the characters are still alive.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Yes! Feeling anxious about a books means your invested in the story! I try not to spoil it for myself, but sometimes I enjoy the book more when I stopped feeling stressed about what's going to happen. ;)

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  6. Totally a thing..but I never look ahead. I suffer through!

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    1. You're a champion! How do you handle the anxiety?? Is there wine involved?? ;)

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  7. I definitely feel this way with some books. I was just reading a book last night and I didn't want to put it down because I NEEDED to see how she ended up dealing with everything that was happening. I didn't look at the end, but I kind of wonder if I should have---it was definitely giving me anxiety!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. I would have totally looked! Sometimes I can't sleep unless I know how a story is going to play out. I either stay up waaaay to late to finish the book, or skim ahead until I feel less anxious about what's going to happen. When I do that, I feel okay enough to finish reading it the next day. <3

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  8. I don't tend to read too many thriller/suspense type books, but I always seem to find the books that make me emotional. I will rarely find myself in a state of panic or anxiety, but I am often crying over my kindle.

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    1. Is your Kindle waterproof? ;) I even like to peak when it's a romance or a comedy! If something terrible is happening in the moment, I like to make sure everything is going to be okay. Even if things don't end up how I want them to, it's nice to be prepared for the bad.

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    2. The Oasis IS waterproof, actually.

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    3. Hahaha! I've heard about those! Do you like it?

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  9. I often read the ending of a book first, because I just can't wait to know how it ends, and I want to be prepared, especially for tears!

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    1. Yes! This makes total sense. I don't start out reading the ending first, but I will if the story becomes too stressful, haha.

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  10. GAH YES! So these are also the books I fall most in love with too. Because you are obviously SO invested in the outcome, if it is stressful. I do not skip to the end, ever, but sometimes I will skim through a battle just to see if my faves made it out hah. This actually happened with me and Mockingjay, and I had to reread a whole chapter when I realized that one of babies died! (Incidentally, I have now added Girl in Red to my wishlist because it sounds AMAZING!)

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    1. Yes! The books that makes me anxious and crazy, are often the books I fall in love with. They're just SO GOOD! Right? We're completely invested in the story and the characters, and that takes some seriously awesome writing. I can understand wanting to know if your favorite characters live or die, and then going back to see how it actually happened. Even if it's bad news, at least you're prepared for it now. I hope you enjoy The Girl in Red! It's amazing. <3

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  11. I will jump over super nail-biting scenes, but I can't really call it skipping over them because unless I think I missed something important to the plot, I don't go back; even when I know the outcome. 😅

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    1. Saucy! ;) If I plan on finishing the book, I'll go back and read everything I skimmed. If my skimming made me realize I didn't want to finish the book, I just stop right there. You don't feel you're missing crucial details??

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  12. I kinda have this! I have to stop reading books when they get too stressful! Most people want to know what happens next, but for me it's more important to remove myself from the story and calm down before starting to read again. Books definitely cause me anxiety, which is why I'm careful to read the books I think will be most stressful when I feel I can handle it!

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    1. I totally understand! It's better to remove yourself from the situation instead of letting the stress and anxiety build (which is what I usually do), and then come back to it later when things don't feel so intense. I'm glad you've found something that works for you! When I'm in the middle of something exciting and bananas, I HAVE to know what happens next. ;)

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― Marissa Meyer, Heartless