I tend to read at a frenetic pace, the kind of pace that leads to eyestrain, paper cuts, and barely used bookmarks. It's an ill-conceived reality, I admit - devouring books. The idea itself is sound: read quickly so you can see what happens. Implementation, on the other hand, always leaves a gaping hole in your chest. Just imagine: The book of which you coveted for so long, anticipated for months if not years, is now here. Then, in a day, you've turned all of its pages, revealed the plot and its twists, and now you're left on your couch, staring at book cover thinking, "Now what?"
Unfortunately, that hollow, post-literary feeling never seems to sink into my long-term memory. I still read like the Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse stand outside my door (when, in fact, it's just that old lady from down the lane in search of her marmalade cat named Snowball). Take, for instance, my latest dive into a bestseller - Susanne Collin's final volume of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay.
I picked up this series not a month ago and proceeded in my normal, high-octane fashion. The Hunger Games, book one, was completed in a dedicated six-hour session on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Catching Fire, book two, was a step in the right direction: this book was devoured in four nights, as a 9-5 does get in the way of my typical pace. And then, Mockingjay hit the stage this week. I hightailed it to my go-to bookstore, Bridgeside Books, during my lunch break and prepared to savor Katniss Everdeen's last stand against the Capitol.
But then, of course, three nights passed and Mockingjay was done. In three nights, I watched as Katniss became the Mockingjay, discovered that the rebel leaders were just as bad as the Capitol, and that, in the grander scheme of things, she was a pawn in ways she could have never imagined. In just three nights I was left with a hollow contentment that sat alongside overflowing sadness. The contentment came with the fulfillment of a series, of a jaw-dropping adventure complete with thrills and chills and Buttercup the cat. The sadness came not from my typical, "Now what?" but with a *SPOILER* "The Girl on Fire is now just a wisp of smoke...that's just so....wrong."
This is all due to the frenetic need to read and read quickly. So now, I sit with Mary Roach's latest novel, Packing for Mars, and hope that I won't race to the end this time.
Emphasis on "hope."