7 Signs You’re Way Too Into Reading

Seriously, bibliophiles may need a support group soon


Hello, my name is Diana Alami and I am addicted to reading.

My ideal weekend is spending the entire time reading at home while drinking tea. If I’m not reading, then I spend a large amount of my day dreaming about the book I’m reading and how I can’t wait to have a few spare moments alone to read a few more pages.

Truth be told, this addiction has seriously taken over my life. While reading as an addiction may at first seem harmless, I implore you, it is not. Perhaps you too, share in this dastardly dependency and have never actually realized it because no one ever revealed the symptoms to you. I’ll do so now. Below are the symptoms of a this hazardous habit, one that, despite the danger, many of us book lovers may not be able to give up easily.


1. Reading has become hazardous to your health

Being a bookworm isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it can lead to bodily harm. Do you have any idea how hard it is to walk while reading without running into things?

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes when I am so immersed in a novel I forget to eat or I over-eat because I’m snacking while I’m reading, and before I know it I have finished an entire bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos — and I’m not talking about the little bags your mom would pack for your lunch, I’m talking family size.

But beyond poor eating habits, my addiction has actually led to my eyes becoming seriously damaged. The last time I went to my optometrist he told me that my eyes are slowly deteriorating.

The cause? I stay up so late reading, and I do not compensate for that lost sleep: My eyes, like me, are slowly dying.

Fun Fact: I have 20/20 vision. But according to my doctor, my eyes are so overworked from reading, that he prescribed reading glasses for the sole purpose of alleviating some of this self-inflicted stress.

Except I hate my reading glasses. They get in the way and they show how much of a nerd I really am. But around 3 a.m. when my eyes start to burn, I am forced to wear the very thing I hate in order to continue doing the thing I love most.


2. Your reading borders on the obsessive…

My mom even grew so concerned for my health that she forced me to remove the library I had in my room into the garage. The mastermind.

As if the distance alone was not enough to dissuade me, the combination of late nights and dark-n-spooky garages — where the Scream killer could possibly be lurking — were now the place that held my precious books and there was no way in hell I was going in there until daytime.

Mom: 1, Diana: 0.

But I have also found a solution to this problem: I went to IKEA and bought a portable book cart.

So now I have a mobile library to follow me where ever I go. It’s my version of a 5-year-old’s backpack, but instead of a backpack filled with toys, mine is and will always be filled with paperback books. I sure showed her!

Mom: 1, Diana: 1.

Except now, my wheel-y shelf is overflowing, and I can’t decide which books should be banished to the garage.


3. You realize that you’re ALWAYS tired

When I was in high school I was diagnosed with insomnia, so I picked up reading to help me pass the time until I fell asleep. Many moons have passed since then and at this point I’m not so sure that it’s my insomnia or my addiction for reading that keeps me up late at night.

To put it simply, I am constantly tired because I don’t sleep, and I don’t sleep because I am reading. Yes, you read that right. I would rather spend five hours reading than sleeping.

I try to convince myself that I, for once, will go to sleep at a decent hour this time. That I will only read a few pages or for just another five more minutes when in reality I know that’s a lie. I will probably end up reading until 3 a.m. like I do every night.

Now, if an unforeseen plot twist occurs in the book, then all bets are off, and in all likelihood, this means I will be reading until dawn.


4. You’d rather be reading than “adulting”

The bottom line is that books give readers an escape — an escape from the world, from reality, and from the responsibilities that low-key make us want to die.

Books open doors into different times and places, without having to leave the comfort of your own home. A book can provide the spice and magic that sometimes is lacking in our lives.

Books let your imagination run wild and free, and for a small amount of time you can forget about all of your troubles. Basically, reading allows an escape from “adulting.”

For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the word “adulting,” it’s when you actually accomplish things and responsibilities that are expected of an adult.

The truth is that my adult life is less than spectacular. My life, or the lack thereof, is of a typical college student. Wake up bright and early, go to school, do homework, spend time with my family, sleep, repeat. Except that “sleep” is usually replaced with “read.”

Reading provides a distraction from the here and now. It gives me the distraction that I desperately need from all the stress in my daily life and chatter in my head that only gives me anxiety.

Questions like:

“Am I on the right path? Am I fucking up in life? Did I choose the right major? Did I pick the right university? What am I going to eat for lunch? Can I even afford lunch?”

Are replaced with…

“Why does all this shit happen to Harry? How much can actually happen to one teenage wizard before he finally cracks? Harry actually has the makings of a serial killer … now that I think about it, is Harry becoming more and more like Voldemort these days?”


5. Squeezing in time to read that doesn’t result in losing sleep or murdering interrupters is hard

Trying to find a spare moment to read is always a struggle. But bookworms make time to read, even when we don’t have time or we know we shouldn’t be reading; we do it anyway.

However, trying to find uninterrupted reading time in this day and age almost seems impossible. It’s so frustrating when you finally sit down with your mug of coffee or tea to read, and someone interrupts you.

The restraint required to not give in to your instincts and murder the person who interrupted your precious and limited reading time is another challenge on its own.

As a bookworm I also have the constant fear of finishing my book during the day, so I always carry a spare when I’m getting close to finishing. This is real life, people.


6. Face it. Your habit is expensive

I don’t know if you’ve ever gone to Barnes & Noble or not. Whether you’re shopping for a new book, casually glancing at possible prospects, or getting away from home and enjoying the ambiance and the subtle smell of coffee, I gotta break it to ya: that place ain’t cheap.

For a single book, you’re looking at a price range of $15 to $25. If you’re anything like me, you will finish a book and go out and buy four more in its place, and yes, I know, that’s crazy.

As a typical broke college student, there’s no way I can afford to spend that much money on books, even though I would probably give up new clothes for them. So I have found a better alternative, and it’s called Goodwill.

The Goodwill has a variety of books and the price ranges from $1 to $3. Although these prices are already surprisingly low, I consider anything over $3 expensive.

So instead of paying 20 bucks for one book at Barnes and Noble, I go to the Goodwill and I get 4, 6, 8, maybe 10 books for the price of one and still have some money to spare.


7. Your attachment to fictional characters has become emotionally draining

The biggest symptom however, is when we bookworms become too emotionally invested in the fictional characters in books. Key word here is “fictional.”

Sounds insane, I know. How can a person get attached to someone who isn’t even real?!

The thing is, while reading, we learn about who each character is as if they are real. From the role they play in the context of the story to what their personalities are, what their likes and dislikes are … ultimately we’re in a pretty serious relationship with these characters by the time the book is ending.

Is it any wonder that during this process, we become attached?

Not only do we imagine them, but we experience their journey, we feel what they feel. We have lived it all with them. And that’s how we become so emotionally attached to a fictional character. So much so, that if some sort of harm falls upon our beloved characters, we lose our shit.

To be honest, many of us may actually go through the entire seven stages of grief.

We become angry (irate, in a couple of my cases), we feel a sense of denial, and we sometimes become so sad that we even cry for the loss of our fictional characters.

Eventually we reach the acceptance stage and we carry on because we’re still dying to know how the book will end.

Obviously it is clear that I need help. Is there some sort of AA group for bookworms?

Probably not. Because it would just turn into a bunch of bookworms passionately talking or obsessing over their new book and all we would talk about is our undying love for books and in the end nothing helps with our addiction.

Wait, I guess that’s what a book club is.

Note to self: Start a book club.