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  1. #1

    Is fantasy reading an addiction?

    Just wondering what some of you hard core readers feel. In high school and college, I used to read at least 5 new SF/F books a week, mostly fantasy. I missed classes, didn't do homework, and since I had no money, I'd stay at the library or book store reading for hours so I wouldn't have to buy a book; getting a job making money would just eat up the time I could have used to read more books. Does this behavior pattern sound familiar?

  2. #2
    ^ Fay-lim. Ok, its Phill. Phellim's Avatar
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    I've been reading one book a week, to save money, as I'm a student.

    But at one point, I was reading around 5 fantasy/horror/sci-fi books a week too, then I stopped reading almost completely, until I picked it up again two years ago.

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    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Phellim: are you near a library? Kept me going through the lean years....

    .... as well as fk, it seems.

    To answer fk's point: I think anything can be an addiction if it is done at the expense of everything else in your life. The trick is to keep a balance and make sure that you eat, drink, go out, communicate with others as well as reading. In the long run it means that you'll probably appreciate the reading more (particularly when work, family and friends do impinge on reading. )

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    Gentleman and Scholar Wulfa_Jones's Avatar
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    Wow five books a week? You're either a really fast reader or got a whole lot of time on your hands!

    With me, when I get into a book - any book be it fantasy or not - it does tend to take over my life until I've finished it.

    I tend to average at about a book ever fortnight depending on how much I enjoy what I'm reading. If I'm really liking something and it's a "normal" sized book then I'll stay up till the small hours of the morning and take every opportunity to read it and will finish it in about 2 days give or take a few hours.

    Other books can drag on for a couple of weeks if I'm enjoying them but not loving them.

    To answer the question posed, I think reading can be addictive to a point. I mean with drugs for example, it's not like if you get a bad pill or something it'll take you longer to consume it. I do spend a lot of money on books and I do spend alot of my downtime reading them.

  5. #5
    ^ Fay-lim. Ok, its Phill. Phellim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    Phellim: are you near a library? Kept me going through the lean years....
    yes, I am, but I never get around to going, except when I donate books. I prefer to own a book, I don't know why. Besides, with an unlimited amount of reading material at my disposal, I'd never get anyhting else done. Or any sleep.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    I think anything can be an addiction if it is done at the expense of everything else in your life.
    I agree. I think addiction is a personality disorder and can be applied to lots of things (i.e. drugs, sex, gambling) when done to excess. But they usually have some sort of 'addiction' stigma associated with them in contemporary society. Therefore, when done to excess, most people know they have a drug/sex/gambling problem.

    The trick is to keep a balance and make sure that you eat, drink, go out, communicate with others as well as reading.
    I think that for people with addictive personalities, this is very very difficult. I mean, if you were a balanced person already, you wouldn't really be doing anything to excess in the first place. I know I have an addiction problem. At this point in my life, I can usually see the signs and stop myself, mostly by creating and abiding by 'good' habits to replace the 'bad' ones. But most kids and teenagers probably can't or won't stop themselves. Also, the perception by the general population is that reading, of any sort, is fundamentally an educational activity. Therefore, it becomes fairly easy to delude oneself that constantly reading books is actually healthy. Believe me, its not.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Wulfa_Jones View Post
    Wow five books a week? You're either a really fast reader or got a whole lot of time on your hands!

    With me, when I get into a book - any book be it fantasy or not - it does tend to take over my life until I've finished it.

    I tend to average at about a book ever fortnight depending on how much I enjoy what I'm reading. If I'm really liking something and it's a "normal" sized book then I'll stay up till the small hours of the morning and take every opportunity to read it and will finish it in about 2 days give or take a few hours.

    Other books can drag on for a couple of weeks if I'm enjoying them but not loving them.
    I think reading a book every fortnight, or even one a week is not addition-type behavior. staying up all night is borderline, but if you do it occasionally it's no big deal. I think addictive behavior is relative. If you do one thing to the exclusion of everything else, or if one behavior is harming other parts of your life, I think thats addiction. Reading a book a day is no problem, even for a slower reader, if you're reading 12-18 hours a day.

  8. #8
    ^ Fay-lim. Ok, its Phill. Phellim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fk1523 View Post
    I think reading a book every fortnight, or even one a week is not addition-type behavior. staying up all night is borderline, but if you do it occasionally it's no big deal. I think addictive behavior is relative. If you do one thing to the exclusion of everything else, or if one behavior is harming other parts of your life, I think thats addiction. Reading a book a day is no problem, even for a slower reader, if you're reading 12-18 hours a day.
    I'll have to disagree with your description of addiction, and relabel it "obsession".

    Addiction would be not being able to stop.

  9. #9
    Time to change, Changer. foolofgold's Avatar
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    I don't know if its addiction, I think it's just the ever-need to find something better, if not better, then just a diamond in the rough so to speak. We all have read that certain book that kind of opened our eyes to reading, for awhile that book was great, the best. Then comes along a book that really got you thinking and made you say 'damn, I knew there was a purpose to this.' Maybe thats not how it happened to you guys, but I started with a great book, not so good nowadays, then I found my favorite, and now I'm searching for the best pieces of writing out there. Kind of like a search for the holy grail. Not to mention I enjoy the hell out of reading fantasy books.

  10. #10
    Gryffindor Gal manephelien's Avatar
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    I enjoy reading a lot, it's my main free-time activity besides participating in internet communities like sff (I'm an active member of about 15 bboards). On average, I read about 15 hours a week, and depending on the book, my reading speed is about 80-120 pages per hour. However, sometimes I go on a binge and just have to finish a book. Last time that happened was with HP7, when I refused to turn out the lights until I finished it, at 3 AM. Luckily it was a Sunday...

  11. #11
    Hello, hooray!! Fuxxy Elf's Avatar
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    I lost count of the times I was asked to read a portion of a set text in school and then write an essay, yet I carried on with the book and finished it, neglecting the homework. The teachers never believed me though.

    Yes reading is an addicition, I can't remember the last time I didn't have a book on the go. Fantasy in particular because of all the trilogies, and long series and epic single volumes, there's always something next to read.

  12. #12
    ^ Fay-lim. Ok, its Phill. Phellim's Avatar
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    foolofgold: I think it's safe to say, we're all on the same quest to find the next amazing piece of writing, that then becomes our new favourite, only for us to want more of the same, getting progressively better.

    If I knew for certain that I was never going to read a book as good as my current favourite, then sure I'd still keep reading, but my heart wouldn't be in it as much.

  13. #13
    Fantasy Freak
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    I agree with the 'obsession' over 'addiction' terminology. The one means you can stop and go to work (or school) and then come back to the book, the other means you can't. Or maybe not. I couldn't read novels during university because once I started I had to finish. Now, with work, it's not so bad. You just think about what you want to have happen and the boredom of 'office' life simply fades away... But I've also found I'm more discerning now. I used to have this idea that I had to finish whatever book I started. I've realized that if the book sucks why waste the extra time on it?

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