Blogger, book lover, writer and member of the Rebusfontein writing collective, “Tannie Frannie”, meaning Auntie Frannie, posted this morning:
(Translated, for the benefit of non-Afrikaans readers:)
“The most terrible conflicting state of mind: When you cannot put down a book, but at the same time you see the pages getting fewer…*The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton.)
”Die allerverskriklikste tweestryd: Wanneer mens ‘n boek* nie kan neersit nie, maar terselfdertyd sien jy hoe die bladsye al minder word…The Clockmaker’s Daughter deur Kate Morton.”
Oh, I do understand that feeling. This morning I am tired because last night I could not put down Stephen King’s collection of novellas, If It Bleeds. I was on the last story, Rat, and I kept seeing the pages grow fewer but I really needed to see how it ends. And King always leaves the twist in the tale to right at the very end. So it got to midnight, and it got to 01:00 and it got to 02:00 and I finished it and I wanted more so I read the Author’s Notes. Boy, am I tired this morning.
There has to be a name for this condition. I have coined the term Liberfinisphobia. The fear of finishing a book. I’m sure all book lovers have felt that tension about the end of the enjoyment which comes closer with every page, yet not being able to stop yourself reading, and the unwelcome prospect of having to come out of the world of the book and back into the real world. On the upside, you’d only feel that if the book is unputdownable. Only the best books cause it.
What’s the opposite of Liberfinisphobia? Probably Libercontinueodium. Dislike of continuing a book. But I’ve never read a book I dislike into the early hours. Being unable to put a good book down is an unbreakable reading habit of mine.
About the header:
My twin brother and I reading in the public library, aged 4 or 5 years. We could read before we went to school, in Afrikaans, English and Dutch. By the time we were in grade 7, we could also manage German and had exhausted the children’s section of the Stellenbosch public library, and got special permission to borrow books from the adult section. Both my parents were librarians and at home we had a rare thing; a home library consisting of thousands of books, with its own Dewey Decimal System and card catalogue, which my Dad later digitized. When we had questions about words in the books we were reading (pre-Internet days), my parents would not tell us the answers. For pronunciation, they would send us to check in “Daniel Jones” (the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary); for synonyms, to “Roget’s”; for spelling, to the Oxford Dictionary; for Afrikaans, to the H.A.T. (Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal ); for German, to the “Duden” (Der Große Duden), for anything else, the Britannica or any of the reference works in the house. And all my parents would tell us would be the classification number. We got really good at finding information. As you can imagine, we were a bit precocious and caused our teachers no end of trouble.
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