Friday 26 June 2015

True Confessions of a Reading Addict

So, I'm reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King at the moment (which if you've read The Shining, I highly recommend, and if you haven't read The Shining then I suggest you read that first, and then read Doctor Sleep,) and there's some stuff in there about alcoholism.

So that got me to thinking about addictions and all that jazz, and I thought about how our (because I assume the vast majority of you reading this post are in the same boat as me and long may it continue,) addiction actually is  an addiction - just not one that requires much intervention unless you combine it too aggressively with book-hoarding and can't find your furniture. In which case you probably need more shelves and the occasional trip with a big box to the local charity shop, or else general help with hoarding.

Anyway, back on point (sorry, too much coffee,) we are kind of addicted - or at least, I am (and not just to the coffee.) Let's think for a sec. - if there were no books left in the world (I know, calm, deep breaths,) then I'm pretty sure I would go into something which very very closely resembled withdrawal. I read every single day. I'm the person who inadvertently reads the cereal packet when preparing breakfast (I know it's a cliché, but it's actually true.)

Last night, I decided to read a page or two of Doctor Sleep before bed - twenty or so pages later there was a musical interlude (OK, not musical, but still,) before Part Two so I could finally stop and get some sleep. (No matter how much I want to, it's not a good plan to read all night. I need my sleep or I have limited resources to beat back depression with. It senses your fuzzy thinking and drowsy mood and pounces when you don't have the energy to fight it. Plus, it makes you tired all on its own, without adding sleep deprivation to the mix.)

But if there were a bookaholics anonymous then it would make for some pretty interesting meetings...hmm...a theme for a future post maybe.

It's a much safer addiction than many we could have though - it's not drink or drugs, it won't take our money as quickly as gambling, won't destroy our relationships and lead to as many lewd jokes as sex addiction, won't make our environment as unstable as hoarding, won't get us in debt as much as shopping (providing we be careful about the amount we're spending on books,) won't be as life-threatening as extreme sports, and won't be as all-consuming and violence-promoting as video games (I mean excessive video-gaming, all things in moderation!) If we have to have a thing, books are about the best we could have: in fact, it's an addiction which, if anything, is good for us and for our general well-being.

So, I guess when they were handing out addictions and obsessions we were the lucky ones; after all, the reader lives a thousand lives...

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