[R]eading is an addiction when it is used as a mechanism to avoid reality. A person can avoid facing life by reading all day. A person can also avoid facing themselves by reading all day. This is the only time that reading really becomes a problem. The idea of being addicted to books is tricky, because reading is generally considered to be a good thing. But we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad for you as well.ReadingAddiction.com even gives some tips to help break a reading addiction:
- Engage the addict in alternate activities.
- Plan a vacation with a demanding schedule.
- Draw the addict out of themselves by enlisting their help with something.
Personally, I don't recommend the second tip. Who wants a vacation with a demanding schedule, anyway? And if you try to force such a thing on a reader, beware. You might get hurt.
Now that we're equiped with some tips (albeit dubious ones) for dealing with the problem, how do you know if you're addicted? This eHow page lists some questions to consider:
- How many book groups do you belong to?
- Do you still recognize your family members when you pull yourself out of a book?
- Have you gone into debt buying books?
- Do you sneak out of work to visit a bookstore or library, just so you can be surrounded by books?
If your answers are inconclusive (Are three book groups really too many?), try this quiz for a quick and definitive diagnosis. It will tell you if reading is merely your passion or if it's crossed the line to an unhealthy obsession. I was happy with my diagnosis: "You are not that crazy about reading novels. It is not an obsession for you." I'm not sure I agree with the first sentence, but the second sentence gave me some comfort.
For those of you who receive the opposite diagnosis, don't despair. You can commiserate with your fellow reading addicts at this chat group.