Palate Cleansers

Let’s say you finish a book. Maybe it’s a book you loved and flew through. Or it was a tough slog, but darn it you made it through! In either case, though, you’re probably heading toward another book. But…do you start it right away?

This is a tricky situation, for me. Especially if it happens at night (can’t start a new book at night, because…well, you just can’t). But you also can’t just go to bed without reading at all, because how can you fall asleep then?

So what works? I lean towards the New Yorker. But I’ve heard other opinions: short stories. Cookbooks (!). Poetry?

The whole problem of it makes me think of Trollope, who apparently finished one novel, then turned the page of his notebook and began the next. Which is…not how I am.

I feel like somewhere out there is the perfect (metaphorical) grapefruit ice that does the thing you need between books: marks a sharp clear end to one, and puts you into a state of washed and receptive openness for your next one.

If you know what this would be, let us know in the comments. I’m having trouble getting from my most recently read book (Heft, very good) to my next one (The Milkman or Amnesty, I can’t decide). (Hey, if you know which one I should read, let me know!)

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