Talk To Me 05: The Book Hangover effect

Do you ever wonder if the order in which you read books affects how you judge each one? I mean, given a bunch of standalone books, you’re bound to have some hits or misses with that group. What if you read a really good book to start yourself off? Does that end up “setting the bar” for the rest of the books in that group?

Allow me to explain what happened with me. After a rather long lull of not reading many Young Adult novels, I picked up a few to help me restart this blog. The first one I read from my pile was The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, and I really enjoyed it! I thought it was well-written, had a relatable protagonist, and surprised me with how it handled the “love at first sight” trope. I gave that book five stars. My review is here.

Okay, I read a good YA book and had more YA books to follow. I looked at them with both excitement and dread. Excitement because “Yay! New books to read!” but dread because “What if they don’t live up to my expectations now that I just finished a good book?”

The previous book is still fresh in my mind. Do I end up, whether intentionally or not, comparing the next book to it? If I read the next book and I don’t enjoy it, is it because I legitimately did not enjoy it or because I ended up setting some bar for it because of the previous book? Alternatively, if I had just read a book that I did NOT enjoy, will I be less harsh on the next book?

Wow, this sounded a lot less confusing in my head. Hopefully you lovely readers understood me. So let’s get to the question!

When you’re reading one book after another, do you end up comparing the next book to the previous book? Do you think that your perception of the next book was affected by how much you enjoyed the first one?

Let me know in the comments!

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14 thoughts on “Talk To Me 05: The Book Hangover effect

  1. Ye I feel that sometimes, I try and space genres out, and if I have a few of the same author I have learned not to read them back to back. I do try and not let it affect the next one, but you just got to go with it sometimes.

  2. I know exactly what you mean and it happens me too. When I read a five star I get all excited and want to read another just as good but it so rarely happens. But then it makes the next 5 star book all the more amazing again as you have waited so long for it! I think switching genres after a few only ok reads is a good idea otherwise you start to tire of all books within that genre. Better to try something different and then come back to it again with fresh eagerness.

  3. I think it’s quite inevitable that our perceptions would change. Reading makes us grow. It affects us in ways we might not even realize at the time. So I think you can’t avoid it. However, I never really compare a recently read book to the one I read next. I give each one a fair chance. Although when I have book hangovers, it’s definitely hard to choose what to pick up next. I usually just read something light to cleanse the pallet before heading off into another book.

  4. That’s true, I know I should not let it happen, but it just does! I also get what you mean by not binge-reading one author and their books. I think reading three books from even my favourite author would make me get a bit sick of it.

  5. So true! It’s like getting your favourite sweet from a mystery bag, then getting a not-so-good one. It makes the next time you get your favourite sweet just MUCH better. 🙂 It really is better to switch things up every now and again. Keeps you from getting sick if your favourite genre (or sweet, as my analogy was going. :P).

  6. I get what you mean by giving each one fair chance, but I can’t let the book I previously read (especially if it was good) NOT affect the books I read after it. The book hangover effect is much stronger for me, I guess. Especially when I really just want to binge-read. 😛

  7. I try not to let the previous book have an effect on me, but sometimes it´s hard. And I hate that, because I want to give every book a chance. I don´t think I will love a book more if the previous one was bad, but I do think that after reading an AMAZING book I´m less likely to love the one after that as well. I´m not sure why the difference, but for me it´s there. I do always try to have a little structure in my reading, so that I won´t read contemporary after contemporary. If it´s the same genre as the previous book I´ll be more likely to compare them (negatively)!

  8. This does happen to me once in a while. When I’ve read a good book and somehow the next one doesn’t feel like it’s going to turn out as well, I subconsciously put off reading it. I’ll find a lot of other things to do before I return to reading. Unless I picked out the subsequent book precisely because I expect it to be fluff. Kinda like candy in between the heavier stuff.

  9. I totally understand you there. After reading an AMAZING book, the next book has a lot to live up too, haha! I guess that’s why alternating genres is a good thing. 😀

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