05 April 2009


So I have one main addiction, obsession, vice, whatever you might want to call it, in my life. I call it “bookaholism. Yup, bookaholism. How do I know that? Well, it has to do with the CAGE questions. The CAGE questions are a basic one-minute screen for alcoholism.
  1. Have you ever tried to Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Do you feel Angry when someone comments about your drinking?
  3. Do you feel Guilty about the amount you drink?
  4. Do you need an Eye-opener in the morning?
This may be applied quite well to bookaholism:
  1. Have you ever tried to *Cut down* on the amount of books you read?
  2. Do feel *Angry* when someone comments about your reading habits, or interrupts a good book?
  3. Do feel *Guilty* about the amount of books you read, or the time spent doing so?
  4. Do you need an *Eye-opener* in the morning (i.e., do you read at the breakfast table)?
Plus some more questions that are specific to bookaholism...
  1. Would you rather spend money on books than food? (Chocolate does not count)
  2. Do you hide books so that you can sneak and read unseen? (Skin rags don’t count)
  3. Do you always carry a book in your bag or briefcase?
  4. Do you read several books at the same time? (Well, not at the same time, but you know what I mean.)
  5. Are you unable to pass up a good bookstore? Have you parked illegally in order to enter such an establishment?
  6. Are you incapable of leaving a bookstore without buying something?
  7. Have you ever snuck-bought a book when you know you should have spent the money on something else?
  8. You go into a panic when your flight is delayed on the runway. You're not afraid of flying, but you've finished the book you brought along and you've read every magazine in the seat back cover to cover. (Note – true bookaholics will read old women’s magazines, out of date TV guides and hunting magazines if desperate enough…)
  9. When traveling, do you return home with more books than when you left?
  10. Do you suffer from the Just-One-More-Chapter Syndrome, which interferes significantly with sleep?
  11. Is your to-be-read (TBR) pile too big to fit on one bookshelf?
  12. Do you start your spring cleaning by building/buying a new bookshelf?
  13. If your house burned down, which would cost more to replace: all the furniture and appliances, or the books?
There are some activities that really do not combine well with reading; sex, skydiving, showering, and snorkeling come immediately to mind. Some people believe that one cannot combine reading with eating, but I disagree – just put your hands on autopilot and you'll find dinner gone. The book never suffers (except for occasional stains). Best way to spend a meal by yourself. However, a book does not make a pleasant dinner partner, if one is reading Silence of the Lambs and eating steak tartare...

It is difficult to combine reading with bicycling, unless it is a stationary bike. I certainly wouldn’t recommend reading and driving a car, although I confess that I have dipped into a book when I was stuck in an interminable traffic jam. Commuting via public transportation, however, allows for excellent reading time. However, then you might miss your stop, if you are at a particularly interesting point in your book. If you crack open a book you’ve been waiting before you leave for work, you might skip work altogether...

Reading does not combine very well with good conversation. You can, of course, hold a conversation while reading, but it's usually somewhat incoherent and not adequately interactive for the other participants. However, reading can lead to a boatload of good conversation. But you do have to stop reading first.

I definitely suffer from bookaholism. I would have to answer “yes” to all of the questions above. Books bring me great pleasure. They are the main source of escapism, if you will, in my life and also one of the main sources of expense. I am not much of a TV watcher, and I don’t go to movies as often as I used to. But I still read for pleasure every single day. The lure of the house we live in is a library – a room with built-in bookshelves on all of the walls. My husband has one shelf. The rest are all mine, along with the other bookshelves in the house. One of my goals in life is to get my daughter addicted. I still have time; she's only 6.

My name is Neuron D, and I am a bookaholic. How about you? Are you a bookaholic, too?

(Thanks to Jim for givng me the idea to make this into a blog post...)


Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Christine, and I'm a bookaholic.

I wonder how many Bujold fans are similarly addicted, and how many of them were addicted prior to discovering LMB books. I, personally, was infected by my parents, on whom I put all of the blame! :)

neurondoc said...

It's my mother's fault (isn't everything?). I told her I was bored when I was about 9 and she gave me Brian Aldiss' Starship. No looking back.

This post came out of a thread from December 1996 (!) on the Bujold list. I started it by comparing bookaholism to alcoholism via the CAGE questions. The responses were amusing...

vince said...

Hi, my name is Vince, and I'm a bookaholic. And a movieaholic. And a musicaholic.

I rarely go anywhere without a book or magazine, as you never know when you'll have five minutes to read. My ex is like that (as is our daughter), and people often look at us (ex and me, daughter and me) funny if we're out at a restaurant and both have our noses in a book ignoring each other.

My mom had a lot to do with my being a bookaholic - she's a bookaholic as well.

ExpatMom said...

Hi, my name is Claudia and I'm a readaholic.

How do I know that? Because if I ever find myself in a bathroom without reading material, I will read the back of the toothpaste tube. Or if I stand by the coffee machine waiting for it to cycle through, I find myself reading the ingredient list of the artifical sweetener, or the labels of my spice jars. I can't control it. The moment my eyes spot letters, they have to read them.

Very frustrating when you live in a country that believes in barcodes for letters... (aka Armenia).

Just sayin'.

Ilya said...

I can control the impulse to buy when I am at a bookstore these days. Which step of the recovery program I must be at?

Lorraine said...

Hi, my name is Lorraine, and I'm a bookaholic.

I won't go anywhere without a book. My book in the car is a kind of talisman that nothing will happen, because a traffic jam or accident and NOTHING to read, well, it just doesn't bear contemplating!

Random Michelle K said...

I don't have a problem. Nope. Not at all.

TheHusban said...

Hi, my name is TheHusband, and I'm a bookaholic! Why do I say that you may ask? Well, I live in a house FILLED with books. Books are good for propping things up. They also serve as excellent clipboards. Their pages make great filler for boxes when shipping things far away - say to Germany for example. Need some kindling for your fire? Look no further than the ol' Library! Yes, books have many useful purposes!

neurondoc said...

Bad Husband. No touching the books, or you will be sorry. Go find something useful to do like installing the doorknobs on the pantry or replacing the ice maker.

And don't go complaining to the OtherWife. She likes books as much as I do...

Lorraine said...

And, just so I can have a clear picture...Neurondoc and TheHusband are sitting about 3 feet apart, but communicating via Internet blog, yes? Just checking (g).

neurondoc said...

It's about 8 feet actually. But you know us well... :-D

ExpatMom said...

What? What? Books in boxes going to Germany? *Bounce* Oh! Oh! OH!

No wait, did you say pages? Like, ripped out of a book? NOOOOOOOO!

WendyB_09 said...

Gee, missed the other day...

Hi, my name is Wendy and I am a bookaholic - a musicaholic - a filmaholic and a fabricaholic - it's for the quilting disease I have as well. And yes, it's hereditary, I got it from my parents!


Carol Elaine said...

Hello, my name is Carol and I am a bookaholic. I have no idea where it came from. My mother isn't a big reader and my father, while a reader, isn't one to keep books. But I've been a bookaholic/readaholic ever since I first learned how to read in kindegarten.

Unfortunately, I lost many of my books a couple of years ago when I had them in storage and I had to choose between paying my storage unit and keeping my oldest cat alive. I chose my cat - who is doing fantastically now - and I don't regret it, but I do miss my books, as well as a lot of other things I had in that storage unit.

I'm in the process of collecting more books, so I'm starting to feel less bereft.

anissa_roy said...

Hi, my name is Anissa, and I'm a bookaholic. My mother is my primary enabler. As far back as I can remember, Mom read to me, and then encouraged me to read on my own. I was routinely checking out 20 or 30 library books at once when I was 7 or 8 years old.

I have been known to read at the dinner table, at work (while running a mailing machine), while on an exercise bike, and while stuck in traffic. Audiobooks let me 'read' while driving, showering, etc.

My home library has something in the neighborhood of 2,000 books, and I'm always getting more. The staff in the largest used bookstore here in town all know my name.

I found you through Stonekettle Station and am reading back through your blog - fascinating stuff.