Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, June 29, 2006

America's Hidden Problem

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I was surfing some literacy websites on the internet, (I do presentations on literacy in case you were wondering why I was doing that) and I came across a self-test for literature abusers. It looked fun, so I took it. The results were shocking. I have tweaked it a little (it was long) and passed along some of the questions for you here today.

Self-test for Literature Abusers
How many of these apply to you?

1. I have read fiction when I was depressed or to cheer myself up.

2. I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.

3. I read rapidly, often ‘gulping' characters.

4. I sometimes read early in the morning or before work.

5. I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.

6. Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.

7. Sometimes I re-write film or television dialogue as the characters speak.

8. I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I have finished a novel.

9. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.

10. I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.

11. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.

12. I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.

13. I eat biscotti at Borders, even though it tastes terrible, so I can disguise my reading habit.

14. I have wept, become angry or irrational, because of something I read.

15. Amazon knows my credit card number.

Now, if you're like me, almost all of these apply. I read fiction when I'm sad, happy, stressed or bored. I know now not to start a book on my busy days because I usually have a hard time putting it down and I like to finish the book in one day. That also means that usually some of my household chores suffer while I'm in the throes of finishing the book. I have re-written several movie endings, including Return of the Jedi (come on, who didn't want the last scene to be the wedding of Han Solo and Princess Leia? They could have invited all those ewoks and the party could have been a wedding party, hence satisfying all the romantics out there, like me.) I have spent a lot of money on books, and have all the overflowing bookshelves to prove it.

After taking this test I have come to the conclusion that I am well on my way to becoming a literature abuser. But how do I fix it? Is there a twelve step program for us? Someone once said half the battle is admitting the problem. But where do we go from there? There doesn't seem to be a cure or a recovery program out there. So I am turning to you for help. If you were going to create a self-help program for literature abusers out there, what would you say? Where would you start? Maybe you could stop eating that biscotti. Stop TiVo-ing Oprah's book club. Buy a bookmark. Stop wearing your glasses. Maybe trying limiting yourself to a chapter a day. I don't know. But let's band together, think of solutions to the problem and help each other into recovery.


At 6/29/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger Sparkling Cipher said...

9 out of 15 apply to me. I guess I'm not willing to take the first step - admitting I have a problem. I like to read! It makes me happy. Books make me happy. Doesn't seem like a bad thing to me. :)

At 6/29/2006 2:09 PM, Anonymous AR said...

Why change? I enjoy being a bookaholic.

At 6/29/2006 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Literature abusers? Gee whiz! It's the people who don't read who have the problem, not us literature enthusiasts!

What we need to do is change the rest of the world so that they put literature at the top of their priority lists, too, instead of silly things like housework.


At 6/29/2006 4:26 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Maybe it's when books have taken over your life and you no longer attend parties unless there's going to be books there, or you can't sit down in your living room because there's books on every surface of the room. I love books, and I'm a book enthusiast, but maybe I'm not balanced in it and that's where the bias is.

Or maybe you're right and we should set out to change the world! Book lovers unite! Who needs sleep? Who needs to eat! Read, read, read! (That sort of rhymes. It could be our battle cry!)

At 6/29/2006 11:12 PM, Blogger KB said...

All but the biscotti apply to me.

And perhaps I'm deep into denial, but I'm still trying to figure out the down side to literature addiction. (I like "addiction" better than "abuse.")

At 6/30/2006 1:12 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Maybe that's what we should do---define the difference between addiction and abuse. When does an addiction become an abuse? When does an addict become an abuser?

At 6/30/2006 9:44 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

I don't need help. I don't have a problem. I can stop reading anytime I want to. I'm not hurting anyone.

At 6/30/2006 12:14 PM, Blogger annegb said...

I read when I'm brushing my teeth and blowing my hair dry.

I need help.

At 6/30/2006 5:36 PM, Anonymous Jennie said...

My niece's husband wrecked her car on the way home from the library because he was trying to read and drive. That's abuse. Propping a book against your measuring cup while kneading bread is addiction. Keeping a book in your purse, in your flight bag, in the side pocket in your car (passenger side), and being sure you're well stocked with books for Superbowl weekend is just good sense.

At 6/30/2006 10:55 PM, Blogger Lisa M. said...

*Raises Hand*

I can admit it, but I have no intention of changing!


Truly an addict

At 7/01/2006 6:39 PM, Blogger Janice Sperry said...

I look up after every chapter and make sure that all my children are still there and that the house hasn't burned around me. I even will throw a load of laundry in the washer now and then. I think I have it well in hand.


Post a Comment

<< Home