literature abuse

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literature abuse

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Apr 19, 2007, 10:39pm

This survey comes from the official website of the American Literature Abuse Society (ALAS) and should be taken, seriously, by only those whose tome consumption exceeds their sense of humor.

Self-Test for Literature Abuse: How many of these apply to you?

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

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

I read rapidly, often "gulping" chapters.

I sometimes read early in the morning or before work.

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

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

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

I often read alone.

I have pretended to watch television while secretly reading.

I keep books or magazines in the bathroom for a "quick nip."

I have denied or "laughed off" criticism of my reading habit.

Heavy reading has caused conflicts with my family or spouse.

I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.

I seldom leave my house without a book or magazine.

When travelling, I pack a large bag full of books.

At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.

Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.

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

I become nervous, disoriented, or fearful when I must spend more than 15 minutes without reading matter.

I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.

I have sold books to support my reading "habit."

I have daydreamed about becoming a rich & famous writer, or "word-pusher."

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

Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.

I have sometimes passed out or woken groggy or "hung-over" after a night of heavy reading.

I have suffered 'blackouts' or memory loss from a bout of reading.

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

I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.

Sometimes I think my fiction reading is out of control.

If you answered 'yes' to five or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to ten or more indicates a serious reading problem --seek help now! Fifteen or more "yes" responses indicates a severe or chronic "readaholic" personality. Intervention is seldom effective at this stage.

Apr 20, 2007, 9:55am

I can answer yes to all but three of those. Guess that makes me pretty bad off? :)

Apr 20, 2007, 9:17pm

I have a serious reading problem.=)

Apr 21, 2007, 7:14pm

apparently i'm beyond help. thank goodness, those intervention things scare me :|

Apr 21, 2007, 7:51pm

LOL Sadly (or not) I can answer yes to almost all of those too.

I started a french class in February and when our instructor asks us to tell her what we did the day before, my answer is usually either I read a book, or I read some books.

It's at the point where fellow students ask me what I am reading now and they know that at break time, when they socialise, I am much happier to be curled up at the desk inhaling yet another chapter.

Even funnier, a couple of weeks ago someone walked by the classroom and stepped inside to ask how much I read as everytime she passes, I am reading something new.

I love books though, what can you do?

Apr 22, 2007, 12:39pm

When you have time, why not read! I'm the same way, if I have time I pull out a book. When I'm waiting for something (I always have a book on me wherever I go.hehe) I sometimes pull out my book and start reading. Hey, it's better than just sitting there staring off into space waiting (whether you're waiting for your car at the shop, at the dr's office, waiting in line at the store, etc) and twiddling your thumbs.

Apr 22, 2007, 12:53pm

That list is hilarious. :-D I read mostly non-fiction as opposed to novels, but the principle is the same. Alas, I fear I am beyond help at this stage; but on the bright side, I don't actually wish to be "cured." :-D

Apr 22, 2007, 1:48pm

Oh I am much worse than any of that.

I 'bunked off' school (as a pupil), work, college AND university if I had a book that needed finishing - a not-infrequent occurence, either. I've been known to extend lunch hours in order to get to a decent break in a novel, burn the dinner for the same reason and sometimes stay up 'til five if I'm gripped.

Apr 23, 2007, 12:56pm

Twice in my seven years of marriage I have left my house without a book in my purse. The first time was for a romantic dinner with my husband who proceeded to make it a romantic weekend. I was furious because I had left my book at home. (poor man, he is very patient about my "problem"). The second time we were once again off to dinner and he got into a minor fender bender. As we waited for the cops to come I sat stewing in my car because he had to do this on a night (the second time ever) that I did not have a book with me. LOL. I have a serious problem.

Feb 29, 2008, 9:36pm

Yep, I can answer yes to twenty. My boyfriend and my cat, luckily, are indulgent and understand that my addiction was a part of my personality long before they knew me--around twenty years ago I'd say. I'm 27 by the way.

Feb 29, 2008, 11:14pm

I can answer "no" to five of them. (It was easier to count that way.) But I don't think the literature is being "abused." I think it likes it. I never leave the house without reading material. Never. I shudder to think about it. It would be so awful.

I've learned to ignore curious looks from people wasting their time just standing in lines and stupidly sitting in chairs. I mean, how can standing in a line be the primary activity? Why aren't they reading?

Oh, jeez, I sound a little defensive, don't I? At least my husband, family and friends know better than try to stage an intervention. I'd start throwing books at them.

Mar 11, 2008, 9:53am


Throwing books? Now that DOES sound like Literature Abuse...

Mar 11, 2008, 1:40pm

Only in self-defense ;-)

Mar 11, 2008, 1:49pm

#9 you mean you don't have a couple of TBRs stashed in your car?

Edited: Mar 11, 2008, 3:18pm

Three or four I can say 'no' to. But I admit to loving watching the world around me when I get the chance - it doesn't happen as often as you'd think. My extroversion and curiosity get play, then. So I am rarely without a book, but left to wait for a long spell with my boyfriend, I'd as gladly talk to him as read. Anyone else, it's a toss-up, but I often begin to crave reading and do carry it with me, if I can.

Edit: reformers be damned, I almost said. I've had a couple of would-be, slow, serious weaners of my addiction, and I am telling you, book-throwing is more than they deserve. I make my own efforts to 'read responsibly', but any efforts to change my basic nature, or starve me of the life-giving word, and you will lose the (proverbial) pleasure of my company.

Mar 11, 2008, 3:13pm

"... left to wait for a long spell with my boyfriend, I'd as gladly talk to him as read."

Well, let's just admit that some of my happiest times with him involve mutual reading.......

Mar 12, 2008, 12:10pm

#14, I was wondering the same thing--there's a small bag of literary journals in my trunk (old issues that don't have authors that have immediately drawn me in), and every once in a while I have reason to dig for the tire I had blowout on Sunday--my mom knew just what I'd done; all i had to say was "my tire blew out", and she immediately said, 'well, at least you got a break from grading papers to pleasure-read for a bit...'.....and she was completely correct; I enjoyed the wait for triple A.

Jun 6, 2008, 12:47am

That list had me laughing out loud. I can say yes to all except the last two, which I don't comprehend. Who in the world could ever think such things? :)

Jun 28, 2008, 2:27pm

Only a person who loves reading books!

Jul 20, 2008, 10:12pm

I loved the survey, and then went and checked out the website. And I must confess, I answered yes to almost every question. I'm a hopeless case.

Jul 21, 2008, 9:29am

I have most of those.... I also have a foot high pile of journal articles etc at work that I keep telling myself I will read. I can't bring myself to just admit it is never going to happen and throw them out!!!

Jul 21, 2008, 9:35am

I said yes to 8, so I guess I'm not too far gone.....

The only thing saving me is that my husband approves of my reading habit and encourages me to read. He also builds bookshelves for me. I don't have to keep my habit secret.

Mar 27, 2012, 9:00am

Thank you! I had used this list to advertise a YA reading group years ago, and recently wanted to revisit it and couldn't find it. I knew it was probably posted multiple places on LT.

Mar 29, 2012, 8:21am

I sometimes read early in the morning or before work.
... Sometimes, but very rarely

I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.
... Guess I have to say no. I keep them located strategically, but I don't avoid being seen.

Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.
... Oh man. Definitely. Aloud, even, with lots of scoffing. Other times, I'm happily impressed. Some scenes of some movies, I love to rewatch simply because of the dialogue.

I often read alone.
... I'd like to know who doesn't answer yes to this one, and if not then what are they doing?

I keep books or magazines in the bathroom for a "quick nip."
... Sure, that's one of the "strategic places"

I have denied or "laughed off" criticism of my reading habit.
... Yup. You have habits too and I don't laugh at yours.

Heavy reading has caused conflicts with my family or spouse.
... Not sure if it's the "cause" of conflict; but she's wished she was a book sometimes.

I seldom leave my house without a book or magazine.
... True. You never know when you're going to be stuck waiting for something, staring at the wall, right?

I have daydreamed about becoming a rich & famous writer, or "word-pusher."
... Definitely. And worried I'll be like an "American Idol" contestant who KNOWS he can sing, but ...

Sometimes I think my fiction reading is out of control.
... Now and then, I think it's self-assessment time. Amazingly it never turns out to be a problem!

I guess that adds up to eight or nine. That means I might be a literature abuser, and I'm right on the verge of having a serious reading problem that demands I seek help now! Time for another self-assessment: Nope - I'm fine! ;)

Mar 29, 2012, 11:18am

The addiction is worse. This time, 3 1/2 years later, I answered yes to 10, not 8.

A joyous addiction, for sure. In fact, I just got back from the Friends of the Library Sale, where I got 22 books, 1 DVD, and 1 CD audiobook. I *only* spent $55, $5 under budget, so feel pretty good about it. Unfortunately this a twice a year indulgence. In addition to Amazon, 3 local PTA Thrift Stores, one local secondhand book store, and one Habitat for Humanity Store. Plus the Friends of the Library Sale in the town I work in twice a year and 4 thrift stores in that town. And I just inherited 6 boxes of books from MiL plus 6 boxes that are supposed to go to the thrift store that I think I'll just take a quick peak through in case I missed anything.....

Mar 29, 2012, 11:24am

karenmarie, You're making me jealous. I want to race right out and buy a box of books. It doesn't matter - any books!

Even though I just hauled a big armful of un-catalogued and mostly unread books down from storage.

Mar 29, 2012, 11:30am

Books in storage sounds fun too, 2wonderY. Enjoy!

Mar 29, 2012, 2:38pm

Those library sales are frightening places to go, if you don't want your TBR pile to get any bigger. Always too many temptations to resist, too many arguments with self to overcome. The one that always gets me is "even if you don't ever read it, can you say it's not worth the chance you might? It's only a lousy fifty cents! What else were you gonna spend fifty cents on, huh?"

Mar 29, 2012, 2:47pm

Hey, it's a fairly cheap addiction.

Mar 29, 2012, 3:23pm

>28 Cecrow: I'd be hard pressed to find a better use for 50 cents. It's funny, my SO and I were having fun musing about "when we hit the lottery" and after the major purchases (a van painted like the Mystery Machine with a chauffeur dressed like Fred) I said, "and my library, it would be amazing to behold. I mean, I already like my library, but my lotto library would be EPIC." And he said to me, I can't even believe it, "does your library really even need to be that big?"

*jaw drop*

This coming from the guy with 15,000 comic books.

Apr 9, 2012, 2:36pm

I think I'm lucky - husband never complains when I buy more and more books. In fact, if we had more room in the house, he'd build me more shelves. He even suggests that we stop at bookstores so I can look at books if we're out running other errands.

Apr 10, 2012, 6:35am

>31 karenmarie:
Sounds like true love!

Apr 10, 2012, 4:47pm

#32 No marriage is perfect, but my husband is a good man. Especially the bits about supporting my book habit!

Nov 10, 2017, 9:35am

Um, yeah, no intervention necessary, it would be a waste of time. I think I may have answered no to seven of those?

Happily, I also have an enabling spouse.

Nov 10, 2017, 9:56am

Some of these I don't understand why they are supposed to be negative. Reading is a good way of cheering yourself up, and it doesn't have calories.

I start to worry if I don't finish any books for a few days.

Improving TV dialogue is a creative activity, and hard to avoid given the stupid things said.

Why would anyone pretend to watch television while secretly reading? Reading is certainly a higher pursuit than watching television.


Whoever wrote this needs to be locked up with books and no television for at least a few days.