Confessions of a Book Addict

1Looking at my Goodreads challenge (yes, I’m still behind) made me think I’ve read awfully few books this year, and it made me wonder why. I still consider books my favorite pastime, and the “to be read list” is ever so growing. But I don’t read as much as I used to.

Of course, there’s been a lot of writing and editing this year on top of my day job, and I could say video games, movies or arts & crafts take up my free time, but then why would I pick them over books if I love reading so much? The question made me thinking, and I finally realized I don’t read books because… I’m scared.

You see, I don’t only love reading, but I’m also hopelessly addicted to words, and when I open a book—unless it’s for the ten minutes of waiting at the doctor or in a similar place—reading takes priority over my whole life. There’s no chores more important, sleep time to be observed or “just one chapter”. I can switch off the game or put away my crafts when I really have to do something else, and even if I watch a movie till the end instead of going to bed, doing so won’t leave me at 5 a.m. realizing I have to get up in 2 hours. And reading books have actually left me in such situations in the past.

In the end, for the fear of losing myself in a book, and neglecting chores and life in general, I only reach for them when I’m sure I don’t have to tear myself away from the pages. There’s also a matter of the binge-reading as finishing one book demands for another to be read, but let’s not delve on that deep stage of my addiction.

That’s why I’m happy when I travel, be it on the plane or on the train, because it means I’ll have several hours of uninterrupted reading time (especially now, when the airlines don’t force you to switch off the ebook readers for takeoff  anymore) and nothing else I should be doing at that time, so there’s no feeling of guilt involved. Though I admit during intercontinental flights I also catch a bit of sleep.

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I tried reading during my lunch breaks, letting eyes rest from staring at the screen by staring at some words on the e-reader instead, but an hour is just not enough, and coming back to work (sometimes in the best moments!) really makes me grumpy. Just like an addict who can get her literary fix.

Weekends are a bit safer, but there are always things to be caught up with, some writing to do and the editing too, not to mention house chores, because who needs clean dishes or trash taken out? And I know that if I sit down to read, I will not do anything until one of the two ends: the book or the weekend.

Of course in the end the book hunger takes over and I end up neglecting everything to finish that book I intended to “read just for an hour or two”. And the consequences remind me why I avoided reading in the first place.

So, in the end, I read much less than I’d like to. What about you? Can you read a book bit by bit and take a break whenever necessary? Do you have any tricks to fight the addiction when it’s time to put the book away?

12 thoughts on “Confessions of a Book Addict”

  1. It’s actually the opposite for me: By the time 2015 is over, I’ll have read almost twice as many books this year as I did last year. 😮 I think it’s because I’ve made a conscious effort of setting aside time to read each night, which I haven’t done in the past. And I tend to stop whenever I think it’s a good stopping point (and how late it is). Sometimes it’s 50-ish pages. Other times it’s closer to 70-ish or 100-ish, depending on how “unputdownable” the book is. *lol*

    1. Nice! The “setting aside time” is not that much of a problem for me. The stopping is. To my brain, the only two good stopping points are:
      1. When the book ends.
      2. When I’m literally falling asleep.
      Whenever I try to read in bed, even if I have the comfortable 1-2h before I really need to sleep, I end up reading till “waaaay too late”. 🙁

      1. Yeah… I was trying to think of a way to end my comment with a suggestion about how to force yourself to stop, but I couldn’t. :/

        Wait. Have you tried using a smartphone or kitchen timer? Maybe if you set it for 1 or 2 hours when you sit down to read, its alarm might help you know when you should stop for the time being?

        1. I was thinking about it, but then, sometimes I do check time while I read. But it always ends with “I can read a bit longer…”. My self-discipline is soooo bad when it comes to reading.
          I either need an app that will lock my reader after it’s bed time or… I don’t know… 5 alarms?

  2. I completely understand your fear. I am also a hopeless book addict or rather reading addict – if I start a good book I have to finish it no matter what. I stay late at night, I read during the day when I shouldn’t read anything at all. It is dangerous, disruptive and stupid but what can be done?

  3. Oh, I completely understand, Joanna! It’s why I gave up reading – completely – for 7 years when my children were very small. Because I knew I was capable of shutting them – even if they needed feeding or nappy-changing… I’d love to offer some kind of solution for you, but I don’t have one. I tend to give up sleep in favour of reading, but that clearly isn’t the way to go!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to be sooo addicted, Sarah! 🙂
      I’m totally with you when it comes to give up sleep. That was the reason I abandoned the idea of “read a bit before bed” (but yes, I still do it every so often…).

  4. I LOVE reading, too! I enjoyed your post, as well as this thread of comments. For me, I read a lot of non-fiction, which for some reason are a little easier to put on pause. (for me anyway) When i am reading a good fiction story, fortunately sleepiness takes over and I am able to stop with that!
    Pages From Joan

    1. Hello Joan, thank you for stopping by and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this post!
      Ha! You’re right about the non-fiction, I have no problem when it comes to putting it away… but non-fiction is only like 5% of my reads.
      And you probably have a very good body clock if the sleepiness takes over in the right time. Mine always seems to be waaaay too late to kick in. (Maybe it’s reading along with me? 😉 )

  5. I would compare books to food. Some things are to be eaten on the spot and if you don’t finish them, they get cold and you probably won’t get back to them if you stop (like fish and chips). Others are so delicious you just can’t stop until you are through, like a plate of sushi. Yet others are thick, maybe a bit dry, but still tasty, so you take a bite every once and again – so cake. And there are packs of potato crisps – you take one, you cannot stop, you eat the whole, and have a bad aftertaste. There is also wine, to be tasted bit by bit, and if you overindulge you get a hangover.
    I think I’m hungry…

    1. It seems most of my reading either falls into “sushi” category that I eat like “potato crisps” (though not much of a bad aftertaste – I consciously pick books to be a good read, good entertainment, or both) or into “Bluergh! I’m not eating it” category.

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