Last Updated on February 18, 2023
I’ve just finished reading ‘The Player of Games’ by Iain.M.Banks and when my eyes fell off the last page I felt a familiar sensation- I felt sad. The reason for my woe wasn’t the story in the book (which was pretty peppy and intelligent science fiction), the seed of the sadness was the reaslisation that never again will I be able to read that book for the first time.
Book grieving is something I’m sure we all suffer from time to time (or if you’re especially lucky then all of the time), so how can we best deal with it? In the case of the Iain.M.Banks book I’ve just read I’ll simply move onto the next book in the long running ‘Culture’ series to which ‘The Player of Games’ belongs, and the next book will offer reasonable respite, as will the next book in the series, and the next. But I’m only putting off an inevitable ultimate sadness – I know that one day there will be no more Iain.M.Banks left for me to read, and that day will be very sad indeed.
But this blog post isn’t about Iain.M.Banks and how wonderful the worlds he creates are (and oh mercy, they really are), it’s about how we deal with book grief in general. It’s my theory that we don’t deal with it at all, I don’t think we want to at all – the pang of sadness we feel when finishing a great book is the appetiser for the next course in an unending feast of literature. If book grief didn’t ‘blight’ us with this insatiable appetite for devouring stories then maybe our reading careers would only ever consist of one book, and wouldn’t that be sad.
P.S. Seriously though, Iain.M.Banks is worth a read even if you’re not a Sci-fi fan! I always thought science fiction was a bit, well, ‘silly’, but Iain.M.Banks proves the old Wodehouse adage that ‘it’s not the story that’s the thing, it’s the telling’, and it just so happens Mr. Banks’ stories are told in a galaxy far from here!