Binge-reading J.D. Robb: 5 months, 50 books, 5 things I learned

The only problem was when my eye started twitching. Oh, and there was the time that one of my pinkies was hurting until I changed the way I held the books I was reading everywhere.

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These are the books that Sophia Rosenbaum binge-read in five months.

These are the books that Sophia Rosenbaum binge-read in five months.

Berkley/St. Martin’s Press

When you binge-read a 50-book series over five months, coming to the end feels like the final days of an amazing trip. You don’t want it to end, but you also want to get back to your life.

I started reading J.D. Robb’s “In Death” series — a futuristic police procedural set in the mid-21st century — in August when I was in desperate need of escape.

A friend described a series these page-turning murder mysteries paired with a storybook love story and said I might like the series.

Five months and 50 books later, I can say: definitely.

I just finished the 50th book, “Golden in Death,” released this month.

The series is far from light reading. It centers on Eve Dallas, a New York City police lieutenant. She’s a homicide cop, so there’s murder in every book.

There’s the one in which two lovers who think of themselves as a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde leave a trail of death, carving their initials into their victims’ bodies.

There’s the young sniper trained by her drugged-out, former-cop father, turning people into murder-minded zombies.

Many of the books deal with sexual assault or abuse, for more of a “Law & Order: SVU” vibe.

And some are haunt-your-dreams scary.

J.D. Robb is the pen name of prolific romance writer Nora Roberts, who releases at least two new titles a year.

In the first book, “Naked in Death,” we’re introduced to Eve’s former partner and trainer, who becomes a father figure; the esteemed police commander; the maternal staff psychiatrist; Eve’s criminal-turned-singer bestie; and, most importantly, Roarke.

The sexual tension leaps off the page when Eve meets Roarke, who’s rich, handsome and her prime suspect. Eve’s moral code is black-and-white, which, throughout the series, causes friction with Roarke, who’s her husband by the fourth book.

So what happens when you plunge into a 50-book series? Five things I learned:

There’s no escape like a good book

I lost touch with reading for a good chunk of my 20s. Getting back into a reading routine has done wonders for me. Reading requires undivided attention.

Still, about 10 books in, when I was ripping through a book a day, I wondered: Was reading this much just another bad habit?

I asked my therapist, who said something like, “Of the compulsive habits to have, this seems relatively harmless, and maybe you really need it.”

I read these books everywhere, even as I walked through the corridor to my office, relying on my peripheral vision to narrowly avoid running into people.

You can read too much

About 10 books in, in the middle of reading, I got the strangest pain in my left pinky. My partner casually suggested it might have something to do with my new reading obsession.

No way. But I did notice I was holding the book like a martini glass, pinky out. I changed my grip. Within days, no more pain.

Toward the end of the series, my right eye started twitching for about a week and a half. About two days after I finished book 50, the twitch went away.

Libraries are candy shops for adults

Rediscovering the library has been one of my favorite things about reading this series. I can’t explain the excitement I’d feel when I got an email that my books were ready for pickup. I loved finding them bound together with a rubber band and marked with my initials.

I bought only one of the books — over Labor Day weekend when I realized the library would be closed for four days, and I hadn’t ordered the next few books in time.

After that, I ordered five or 10 at a time at the library.

I’m not a cop — but thinking like one

When you spend hours a day reading police procedurals, you start thinking like a cop — how I imagine a cop thinks, anyway.

I began paying more attention to details. Looking at people, I’d think about how I’d describe them if I were called as a witness. I’d pay attention to license plates of passing cars, too, but never was able to remember those.

Fiction is not reality

Over the summer in New York a homeless man killed four people as they slept on the streets. I started telling my partner what would happen if this were Eve’s case.

“I think you have a problem,” he replied.

There was a particularly meta moment during a book that had characters going to the Oscars because a movie about one of Eve’s cases was nominated. That evening, I tuned into the Golden Globes and, mixing fiction and reality, thought: If only “The Icove Agenda’’ (from Robb’s “Origin in Death”) won instead of “1917.”

I’m not looking for another series to dive into. But reading these books gave me what I wanted and needed.

A break from reality and a reminder how much I need that.

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