Are You a Reading Addict?

Perhaps you know the feeling. After immersing yourself in a book to the exclusion of all else for several days and nights, you awaken from your reading stupor to realize that you need:

a.) sleep.
b.) food.
c.) a housekeeper.

It doesn’t happen to everyone. Some people are perfectly capable of enjoying books without turning into the walking dead. Books are like bread and butter for them. Easily consumed and digested. Enjoyed and forgotten. No muss and no fuss.

Other people don’t consume books so much as they are consumed by books. In fact, books have the potential of eating these people alive. Days at a time may be lost on a really good book bender. Unsurprisingly, I belong to the latter group. Still recovering from a recent book binge, I’ve finally come to terms with the truth.  I am a reading addict. Call it an occupational hazard; I am a booktender with a reading problem.

Let’s review the signs, shall we?

Tolerance

  • Does the reader pick up books such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones without concern for their high page count?
  • Does it take more pages than it used to for the reader to feel satisfied.

Withdrawal:

  • Does the reader experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, restlessness and irritability when she does not have a good book to read?
  • Does the reader fear being stuck in a doctor’s office or on vacation without reading material?
  • Does the reader worry about where his next good book is coming from?

Physical and psychological harm:

  • Does the reader continue to read despite experiencing the physical effects of a poor night’s sleep or the emotional trauma of a bad ending.

Lack of control:

  • Is the reader able to stop a book once started?
  • Does he read for longer periods of time than planned?
  • Can the reader walk by a bookstore or library without going inside?

Failure to cut down:

  • Does the reader feel guilty about spending time reading.
  • Has the reader tried and failed in previous attempts to cut down on time spent reading.
  • Were audiobooks used as surrogates?

Time and money:

  • Does the reader spend a significant amount of time looking for good books to read, or thinking about books she has read?
  • Is the reader on a first name basis with his dealer librarian?
  • Has the reader suffered financial hardships such as overdue fines from excessive checkouts?

Lying and Secrecy:

  • Has the reader ever lied to friends or family in order to stay home and finish a book?
  • Does the reader hide books in her purse or stash them under his bed?

Avoiding Responsibilities:

  • Does the reader eschew laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, cooking, exercise, and personal hygiene in favor of reading books?

So, do you fit the profile of a reading addict?  If so, I’d like to invite you to join one of the many support groups here at the Library.  They’re called book clubs.  Sometimes it just helps to be around other people who know what you’re going through.

It also helps to share your struggles with others.  So, tell us, what’s the craziest thing you did as a result of your reading addiction?  What did you read on your last book binge? Please share your stories below in the comments section!

2 Comments

  1. Have passed all but one section, Failure to Cut Down. Have never considered cutting down, nor felt guilty about failing to do so. Audiobooks? No Way! Just a dip into old favorites on my bookshelf til my favorite place in town, the public library, opens its doors for business. Can (may) I still be a reading addict?

    One more question: When a snowstorm is predicted, is stocking up from the library ahead of grocery shopping?

    Fun reading…

    • Kristen McCallum

      Sue,

      Thanks for commenting. I would definitely still classify you as a reading addict. Perhaps you are just in denial about your need to cut down reading? Also, your lack of interest in audiobooks may just mean that you haven’t reached rock bottom yet. 🙂 I also love the snowstorm scenario you mentioned. I hadn’t considered that! That is a definite sign of a reading addict. What were you reading during this latest storm?

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