Advice for the Anxious Reader

Has an author threatened to kill your favourite character?

Have you tripped over a scary spoiler for that book you’ve been saving to read?

Are you worried the second book in a series will never live up to the wonderousness of the first?

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Most readers experience anxiety at some point in their book reading career. There is bound to be someone out there who is willing to pat you on the back and say it will be alright.

Of course sometimes it isn’t alright. You may pick up that book and all of your anxieties will prove true. Mr Random-Character really does die! Horribly. Yes, the spoilers were right, the characters were all dreaming and none of the book actually happens. The second book is nothing more than a fluffy bridge to the third one. ARGH!

So, you know, your anxiety might be justified. In fact, it probably is. Take a deep breath. Except it. You can either read the book anyway in a safe book throwing space or you can ignore it entirely and live with your imaginary and positive version of what that book could be like. Move on. Let the book be free.

The thing is it’s not that easy to let go, is it?

In regard to character death…

You don’t want Jimmy Noname to die BUT there’s a part of you that knows that that evil author who murdered your favourite character was doing it for your own good. The emotional punch that author can deliver is the reason why you read their books. You know that if Jimmy has to die, he will die in a way that reflects just how epic a character he is and you would do him an injustice if you don’t see how he gets to that point.

In regard to spoilers…

Gosh, that spoiler makes reading the book feel like a massive waste of time. You don’t want to invest time only to feel cheated at the end. Why bother. BUT the concept is a bit intriguing… How exactly do they get to that point?

In regard to sequels…

You enjoyed the first book in a series and invested in the characters. There was a cliffhanger at the end of book one, and everything. However, book two is bound to be disappointing. The hype is too out of control. BUT if you don’t read book two you’ll never know what happens next (unless you read the wikipedia article). If you don’t read book two you can’t really slip back in for book three, which is bound to mark a return to the  awesomeness of book one. You have to know what happens!!

Anxiety is sometimes a necessary part of reading.

You’ve gotta own that anxiety. It’s part of your passion for books. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. Rant to your bookish friends about it. Let your bookish anxiety be part of the natural highs and lows of emotion reading makes you go through.

Ren x

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