Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Addicted to Fiction

I have a serious addiction - a craving that is never satisfied, a hunger that has been with me as long as I can remember. When I was a girl, my mother used to force me out of my bedroom, out of that tiny spot in my tiny world where I could hunker down for days on end, reading one book after another. I'd come out blinking like a mole. It would take several hours to readjust to reality.

And still, as an adult, I can't seem to stop reading fiction. Books are my prozac for mental health, the drug I couldn't give up even if I wanted to try, which I don't. Throw out my television, I don't care. Pitch my computer into the trash, okay, I'd care, but not nearly as much as if you told me I would never read another book again.

Paul Simon sang in I am a Rock, "I have my books, And my poetry to protect me. I am shielded in my armor, hiding in my room, safe within my womb."

I'm certainly not as addicted as Paul, because I need other people. I'm not a rock. Or I hope not, at least.

Why do I do it, want to read all the time, resent people and circumstances that come between me and by beloved pages?

Lots of reasons. Mainly because I look forward to leaving my own world behind and exploring life through someone elses eyes. Pure escapism. Entertainment. Love it! But books also help me think about things I've never considered before, they take me to places I'd never get to go to on my own, they relax me when I'm stressed, and they teach me new things.

All in all, not a bad addiction to have.


Heather Webber said...

Reading has been keeping me sane lately--you're absolutely right about it being mental Prozac.

Currently reading: He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan.

Lynn said...

My son said he used to judge how good a book I was reading by the Mom scale. That is the number of MOM's he had to say or yell to get my attention. So yeah, I'm addicted.

Just finished Magnolias, Moonlight and Murder by Sara Rosett. Reading The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox. (And I have four other books started...)

Melissa said...

I'm another addict! But I figure I could have a lot worse addictions. So what if I have book piles toppling over everywhere? Like you said, it's the escape into someone else's world.

Currently reading: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.

Anonymous said...

I sooo understand! I love my husband, and tv, and my compuster BUT there is no better feeling than spending the whole day reading a really good fiction book! I love summer b/c I am off of work and have all the time in the world to read - usually a few books a week!

Camille Minichino said...

Some very warped work ethic won't allow me to read during the day, unless it's related to work (even work for my writing) -- I hear my mother's voice saying "DO something!"

So I use it as my reward and end up reading into the night!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I only wish I had more time to devote to reading! I really miss the hours I used to spend with a book.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Donna Lea Simpson said...

Reading is a solace, a stress-reliever and a reward. After writing all day, I allow myself a couple of hours with my 'on-the-go' murder mystery. My favorite place, in summer, is in the garden with a cup of tea and a book!

Anonymous said...

Like Andrea C. I have the summer off.
It is very hot down here in Louisiana, so I spend my days indoors reading, reading, reading.
For me there is nothing better in the world than the excitement of starting a new book. It is a new story, new world or another place to fly away.

Dru said...

Reading relaxes me and takes me to a place that perhaps someday I'll get to visit.

I think of all the adventures I've had with my books that I wouldn't have had without them and I love solving the mysteries.

I just finished reading New River Blues by Elizabeth Gunn.

Currently reading To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater

Deb Baker said...

I've had to sacrifice reading time since I became a full-time author. Usually I fall asleep after a few pages and have to start all over again the next day. Reading a book or two every day sounds like heaven on earth.

Lisa D said...

I spent many of my childhood summers and vacations reading. Being an only child, I found books to be comforting. Now that I'm a grown up (still a kid at heart), books are solace and stress relievers. I guess if I had to pick an addiction, being a book addict isn't so bad. I tell that to my husband when he is stumbling all over my TBR piles. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Deb, I totally agree with you and everyone else. I love to read and know that I could give up watching tv or playing Scrabble on my computer but I could never give up reading. I just wonder how many books will have to be packed in my casket or is Heaven where we have all the time in the world to read all the books we want?

I just finished reading all three of your Yooper Mystery series and really enjoyed them. I know you are working on a new series and that you put the Doll series on hold for now (right?) but hopefully, you're planning a new Yooper mystery!!! Please say yes, I want to know more about Gertie and George.

Shirley in Baltimore

jbstanley said...

I loved Lynn's MOM scale - LOL!

And Deb, kudos for the Simon & Garfunkel reference. They are my favs. :)

I just finished an unusual and moving work of fiction: Land of A Hundred Wonders. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I can relate to the "MOM" scale! I would read all day long if I could - but usually sneak in a half hour before work, a half hour during lunch at work, and then at night when I'm too tired to do more housework I'll read as late as I can stay awake!

Reading has helped me through many circumstances including recovering from major surgery twice in my life. These days, I always carry something with me. Stuck in traffic? Waiting for my doctor or dentist or hairstylist? No problem - it's just more sweet reading time for me!

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

I miss my father every damn day. He was responsible for my first book, Cafe Heaven, because I'm positive that he whispered it to me from the Great Beyond.

We used to stay up and watch old b/w movies together, and just hang out. Though he was a professional, he'd don coyboy boots at home and spend time visiting with my horse.

We'd take long road trips in those days and he'd tell us ghost stories late at night so we kids wouldn't notice we didn't have time in his breif vacations for a motel.

He was formidable - a Scotsman with a quick temper and uneven temrperament - who was ALWAYS there for us, no matter what.

I was fortunate to have grown up with such a man. And I wish I'd had more time to enjoy him.

(whispered along that unending loop between the Here and the There with plenty of tears)


Gayle Farmer said...

Hi, all. I so agree! I was an avid reader even as a child and I clearly remember when I read the last book in The Black Stallion Series, put the book down and burst into tears. I told my mother I'd read all the good books in the world, and what would I read for the rest of my life. I was ten, so bear with me, lol!

Now I write horse books for teens and sure wish I had them to read when I was a kid.