books / death / memory / story

The End of a Book

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The other day I finished reading The Book Thief. A couple days after that I read Mockingjay, the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy.

Have you read either of them? They are filled with death. So many characters die in both books. I feel drained.

How do you feel when you finish a book? Most of the time I feel a bit lost. I get so sucked in. I always get sucked in. It’s one reason I don’t write reviews. I get too suckered every time. I have no perspective.

The Book Thief and Mockingjay are massively different books, except for all the dying. Well, and war. A war that really happened and a war in the future, and people dying because of the people in power.

Both books end on a hopeful note of sorts. The heroines in them don’t die. Not when they’re young anyway. They both move on from tragedy and have lives.

I usually avoid stories set in WWII because I can’t stand the suffering. Even if the story I’m reading is fiction, the horror of that time isn’t. But I ended up seeing The Book Thief film and hearing the author speak, so I had to read the book. It’s narrated by Death, so…it’s an interesting perspective.

I’d avoided reading The Hunger Games books because it also sounded too bleak and violent. But my son wanted to read them, so I insisted on reading them first. I’m glad I read them, but I’m emotionally exhausted. I need to read something else. As it is, the characters from both books are in my dreams. They’re an odd mix.

I’m reminded of a particular week about a year into my time in the Peace Corps. For some administrative reason a group of us volunteers were in the capitol and we had our evenings free. So we went to movies. Each night we saw a different film: Remains of the Day, The Piano, In the Name of the Father, and Schindler’s List. At some point near the end of Schindler’s List I started crying and I kept drying after the movie ended and as we walked down the main street in the city. Too many intense films in a row. When I got back to my town I went to see The Addams Family.

How do you feel when you finish reading a book? How long does a story stay with you?

4 thoughts on “The End of a Book

  1. When I finish a really good book it is difficult for me to decide what to read next. Some books are just hard to follow with anything else. 2014 will be a year of light fun reading for me…well, almost. The Book Thief and a few other more serious books are on my list, but they’ll be good.

  2. I feel kind of dazed when I finish a good book. It is like I kind of get disappointed that I can’t stay in that world any longer. Especially in fantasy books. The worst part is when the book you read after a particularly riveting book is a bit of a letdown.

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