Am I addicted to reading?


I sometimes humorously refer to my reading habit as an “addiction.” Of course, addiction is no joke, and any kind of compulsive behavior is not a good thing. But what actually makes something an addiction rather than a healthy pleasure? I looked up some of the criteria and tried to apply them to myself as a reader.

  • Growing tolerance: My reading doesn’t need to keep increasing exponentially to give me the same effect as formerly, and fluctuates according to my available time and mood.
  • Cravings and withdrawal: I do feel antsy if I don’t have a book to read, but it doesn’t make me suffer from extreme anxiety, panic attacks, shaking, or nausea.
  • Decrease in ability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities: I enjoy plenty of other things aside from reading, and reading does not decrease my pleasure in them.
  • Feelings of guilt and shame:  I don’t feel ashamed about reading, but rather want to celebrate it!
  • Neglecting other responsibilities: Um, I may be slightly at fault here. When was the last time I dusted behind the fridge? I’d much rather finish this chapter…
  • Blaming others for problems and inability to look at oneself:  I emphatically deny that reading has this effect on me; it has helped me to understand myself and the world and to connect with other people, off the page.

So it looks like I don’t need to worry about reading as an addiction, at least not a harmful one.  As long as life is kept in balance and I don’t neglect my real-world relationships, I think it’s all good.

Do you think that reading could actually become a compulsion? What keeps life in balance for you?

Linked in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

17 thoughts on “Am I addicted to reading?

  1. When I read the title of this post I immediately started hearing a song in my head “Might as well face it, you’re addicted to…books.” Seriously, though, as you say, it’s not a compulsion, although all my life it has caused me to neglect other responsibilities.


  2. If reading isn’t limited to books, then yes, I’m addicted to reading: manufacturers’ ingredients, my mobile phone, instructions, most junk mail, hoardings (but not adverts on social media, I seem to be able to ignore them entirely, ditto certain tabloids), information on shopfronts …

    And that’s before I get to books! But even during intense discussions my gaze slides towards anything printed. But personal letters? Diaries? No, I do respect privacy.


  3. I guess, like you, I’m not addicted to reading; let’s call it a beneficial habit? It certainly broadens my world and makes me think about other people. In fact, it’s a great help in taking me out of myself if I’m in a rotten mood or something; when I immerse myself in a book, I come out of it refreshed and no longer focused on my mood.

    Now, my book *acquisition* habits might be a little more of a problem. Getting a new stack of books is a bit like my version of shopping therapy, only instead of buying clothes or furniture, I get books. Usually from the library, so it’s not a very expensive habit, but there is definitely a feeling of comfort and regained security in a pile of books that probably shouldn’t be there. I have more books in my TBR pile and my library shelf than I can reasonably read in the next few months. But I *want* to read all of them right now; I just can’t!


  4. I think it could become an addiction, if one goes there t escape all problems and responsibility.
    As for cleaning behind the fridge, thank God for audiobooks, so I can do both at the same time, lol. Cleaning the house has fun when I realized I could listen to audiobooks while doing it


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