Yes, we all have done it at some time, read well past our bedtimes, and then felt sorry for it the next morning, waking with crud encrusted eyes, sore necks and a pain in our backs, trying hard to focus our eyes further than the 18 inches we held the book away from our faces the night before. And yet when anyone asks, we say something silly like, “I just didn’t sleep well” but we all know that’s not the truth, we’re addicted to reading, and can’t put the book(s) down for our own health.
And yet folks still tell me that books are not a drug, not a controlled substance, and we cannot possibly be addicted to something that is good for us. Still, I read until about 4 in the morning, knowing full well that I had to get up at 7 to get ready for the day. I *knew* I was going to suffer for the reading I did the night before, and still I couldn’t help myself.
So I did a little more reading this morning, some of the heavier sort, to see if I could understand addiction a little bit more. I found out a bit about alcoholism, which can become addictive, and yet there appears to be only slight withdrawal symptoms, and those less than the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine addiction. I also found out that there appears to be no withdrawal symptoms when it came to reading, nor video game addiction, but both can be quite damaging while engaged in them. According to most definitions, withdrawal symptoms are an important part of defining an addiction.
But there in the Journal of Medicine I was reading this morning I came across this:
Habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one’s voluntary control.
Which, I think, defines the addicted reader perfectly. It’s impossible for an addicted reader not to read, and he will read cereal boxes if he has to in order to get that reading fix.
That being said, I’ve not written for 2 weeks because I’ve been horribly addicted to “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R. R. Martin. I read through “A Game of Thrones” after having been loaned it from a good friend of mine (Cameron, you know who you are!) and then decided that I needed to own this series, and purchased the 4 book box set.
Side note about this particular boxed set, or the one I purchased at least, they were not in order.. What does it mean when you purchase a box set and they are not in order, you may make the mistake of starting to read the last one instead of the second. Made for a confusing few chapters, to say the least.
But back to where I was going, the books are fantastically enthralling, and pull you deep into the world of the 7 Kingdoms and the war among Kings. They’re not small books by any stretch, about 1000 pages each, and they are quite difficult to put down, as I’ve found to my dismay, at 4am.
I am a stickler, I’ve started purchasing these books in paperback, and will continue the series in paperback, even knowing that the 5th book is out now in Hardcover, and I’m nearly done the box set already. I will wait, as I’m waiting for the 3rd book from Stieg Larsson, and The Girl who kicked a hornets nest.
In the meanwhile, I’ll have to satisfy my addiction with something else, or, perhaps, read a bit slower.