Anyone else get sad when they get near the end of a book they love?

In high school, it was When the Legends Die by Hal Borland. I started reading it on a Saturday morning and didn’t put it down again until late Sunday night.

When I was at Fort Snelling in the '80s, it was Going after Cacciato by Tim O’Brien. Anyone who’s ever served in the military would understand why.

And in the '90s, it was Gone South by Robert R McCammon. I once bought a copy for one of my Russian girlfriends. When I saw her a week or so later, she was horrified. She asked “Why did you give me a book like that? It’s full of freaks and drug dealers and people shooting each other!” All I could say in reply was “Read it all the way through, right to the very last page, and you’ll understand why I bought it for you.”

All three books spoke to me on a very personal level. At the age of 17, I identified with Legends more than any other book I’d ever read.

With books, when I know that the book I am reading is the last of a series (and I have enjoyed the series), I read it slowly so I can stay with the characters longer.

If the book I am reading should have a sequel, but it was never written, I reread the book, but more slowly so I can enjoy it knowing that there will be no more.

On TV series, especially old series streaming on Netflix (or somewhere), if the series is something that I enjoy a lot, I slow down watching episodes as I near the end trying just to make it last longer. For instance, the last Firefly, waits a considerable length of time before being watched because I don’t want to let go.


Absolutely! And part of it, as someone said, is the fear of never finding something that good again.

I got very sad when I finished the Harry Potter series. While the books had many flaws that I can recognize, I got very emotionally invested in the characters. I ended up spending a lot of time afterwards reading interviews and follow-up articles, just to prolong it a bit.

I call this “Good Book Malaise.” I’m very melodramatic about it too (at least in my head). *Alas, there’s no point in EVER READING ANOTHER BOOK AGAIN EVER, because it just won’t be the same. * And a little sadness about how even if I reread the book I loved so much, it will NEVER EVER BE THE SAME as reading it for the first time.

Amazingly, I have recovered from this multiple times.

Another occasion when this happens is when a favorite author dies and you know there’ll be no more books coming. Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker come to mind fairly recently. When the last Spenser book came out posthumously I read it very slowly, even though it’s not that type of book. After 40 books with the same characters you do feel like you know them.

There is a series of children’s books that I’m so invested in there is truly a part of me that thinks of them as real. One of the books describes children having various adventures and then ends with the children happy that their tribulations - which form the plot of the book - are over and they still have weeks of summer holiday left to go. Which was all good for them but* what about me?* When I was a child I used to finish reading that book (and I’ve read it dozens of times) feeling envious and left out to the point of nearly weeping. I’m older now and I don’t get quite as upset. Not quite.

I haven’t finished the Aubrey/Maturin series yet because I’m dreading having no more of them to read.

Which book series?

Yes, yes! Which one?

That’s what’s been wrong with the last few of Pterry’s - the publishers have taken to including a teaser from the next in the series (or from another series). That’s most annoying since if the author’s work is standing on its own merits then I’ll know to look out for more work by him, and if it isn’t then pestering me won’t help. It feels like I’m being advertised at on pages that I paid to be filled with the book I bought, not the book I haven’t.

The Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. The particular book that ends with the children looking forward to five more weeks of holidays is The Picts and the Martyrs though actually Swallowdale ends similarly.

I feel a temporary sense of loss and some books still stay with me, and I still want more, but like a true addict I already have “more” lined up so I can’t feel the pain.

It happens to me too, so often that i can’t be bothered listing all the titles. If i read a book that affects me that way, i then read all the books by the same author.

My absolute favourite book is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, if you haven’t read it yet, **buy **yourself a copy, don’t borrow it from a library. It’s an epic story and you will find when you do re-read it, you will discover more layers to the story and focus on the subplots and lesser characters. I read it every year and it feels like I am visiting friends.

Not often, but yes.

I’ve more often been happy to find I’m nearing the end of a so-so book.

Agreed on the analogy.


I have always preferred reading serieses to some extent because of this. The idea that there’s always going to be another adventure with the characters is very enticing to me.

From Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Dangling Conversation”: “… and we note our place with book markers that measure what we’ve lost.”

To me, this briefly sums up the melancholy of any joy that cannot defeat the passage of time, one that you are fully aware of while enjoying it.