You know, because you just don't want the book to be over so soon.
April 14, 2006 6:30 PM   Subscribe

Does any language have a word or phrase for the feeling of sorrow one experiences upon finishing a really good book?
posted by honeydew to Writing & Language (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Bittersweet, perhaps?
posted by bim at 6:59 PM on April 14, 2006

Back to reality
posted by zouhair at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2006

post-libris melancholia?
posted by scody at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2006

Maybe it's time to form a new word. German is always handy for this since you can jam stuff together.


That's probably not exactly right though.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:35 PM on April 14, 2006

Best answer: I'm going to try to work post-libris melancholia into common usage.
posted by phrontist at 7:35 PM on April 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Wouldn't libris be library? Ex libris = approx. "from the library of," right?

I don't know the case ending, but I'd expect it to be "post-bibli[whatever case ending]" rather than "post-libris."


In any case I am very glad this question was asked.
posted by librarina at 7:48 PM on April 14, 2006

To derail slightly: is there an equivalent word for the feeling you get when you finish a book that you read because you thought it was good for you, felt obliged to finish but didn't get it for the entire length?

Post-libris euphoria
posted by TrashyRambo at 7:59 PM on April 14, 2006

I get this feeling about good books, but also when a movie I've really been enjoying ends, so maybe there should be something other than a book-centric term for this.

And would the similar sensation of seeing how many pages you have left in a book and despairing because you wish there were more be the same thing we're talking about or do we need to classify that as well?
posted by chudmonkey at 8:15 PM on April 14, 2006

And how about a word for having finished Finnegan's Wake?
posted by tkolar at 8:50 PM on April 14, 2006

I believe you "lap" Finnegan's Wake, not finish it.
posted by adamwolf at 8:56 PM on April 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's time to form a new word. German is always handy for this since you can jam stuff together.

I think we need a variation on schadenfreude. Something freude without the schaden.

But then I took french rather than german.... :)
posted by bim at 9:26 PM on April 14, 2006

bim, there is a German word Endschmerz (literally: end pain), but it may not be exactly right. Other suggestions:
fade accompli

posted by rob511 at 10:14 PM on April 14, 2006

I know this feeling well...and have never associated a word with it, but if I had to, perhaps "melancholy" might apply.
posted by davidmsc at 10:58 PM on April 14, 2006

"Reader's Remorse." I know it all too well.
posted by jtron at 12:01 AM on April 15, 2006

Endschmerz (literally: end pain)

I like that! Thanks. :)
posted by bim at 5:38 AM on April 15, 2006

What about the related intangible: the feeling of envy that you get when someone hasn't yet read a book you love or seen a movie you adore and you know they still have that first time to look forward to, something you can never again have.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:10 AM on April 15, 2006

bim, "Freude" means joy, more or less. I've never run into "Endschmerz," but that sounds much more appropriate.
posted by ubersturm at 8:24 AM on April 15, 2006

I have that with experiences! Maybe we can find a word that covers the gamut (books, movies, trips, etc) and just add a prefix if we want to get specialized.
posted by divabat at 9:58 AM on April 15, 2006

Trips - yeah - I've often searched for something catchier and more precise than "post-vacation depression." And I see now that there are many parallels. I think if I had to code this it would look something like:
Maybe someone can put that in German? Or French... Maybe French would sound more wistful.
posted by Tubes at 11:28 AM on April 15, 2006

"Reader's Remorse."

I think that's an excellent solution. Why are people always so interested in finding or creating German compound words for things?
posted by languagehat at 4:13 PM on April 15, 2006

Not German then, French.

apres-roman - something.
posted by Rash at 9:45 PM on April 15, 2006

librarina - ex libris actually translates to "from the books of". libris is the ablative plural of liber, meaning book.

and languagehat - i don't know, i think "reader's remorse" sounds too much like "buyer's remorse" and thus smacks of regretting the experience of reading a bad book - not of being sad for the end of a good book, and knowing you'll never be able to experience it the same way again.
posted by ab3 at 8:26 AM on April 16, 2006

I think that this very question was in the back of a fairly recent Atlantic Monthly. In fact, I recognize a couple of the answers here from it...
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:16 AM on April 17, 2006

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