It starts with this urge…a strong urge, but then I indulge, and it becomes an obsession. Feeding it doesn’t seem to sate it until I’m so far past normal consumption. While this could easily be a reference to my love affair with brownies, it’s not. It’s about books…and my book binges.
It’s not just reading itself that justifies the term “binge” though, when I go on a book bender, there’s a lot of reading that occurs; it’s the nature of my reading choices. I crave certain books–by genre, by subject, by author, and sometimes by trope. Reading outside of what I want, doesn’t satisfy me–it feels like work, rather than an escape. It’s like eating a roll when the person next to you is eating cake. (Annnnnd now I want cake. Dang it.) I have to force myself to read outside of what my heart really wants.
When I’m in a serious binge, reading a book that is lousy–makes me need to read a dozen more to remove the sour taste that book left behind. Eventually, typically, I max out, and I can move on, but until then the obsession drives me.
For the past few months, my binge of choice has been flawed characters–characters with more to overcome than most. Romances with characters with disabilities or mental illnesses. I’ve read three books about agoraphobic characters alone. Dozens are scarred in some way. Many are Beauty and the Beast retellings. Characters with Asperger’s. Characters who are blind or deaf or mute. I think it’s my recent struggles with OCD that have me craving stories I can connect to–love stories that require a lot of work. I just did a rough count and I’m 50 books in…and I have about another dozen or so on my Kindle still to read, and I’m still looking for more. I can feel the momentum slowing slightly. The intensity fading. I might be out of this binge soon.
Past binges have been: suspenses, gothics, Mid-grades, Fairy-tale retellings–not just Beauty and the Beast, amnesia stories, body-language books, writing-craft books, werewolf stories, Regency-era romances, Agatha Christie mysteries, books set in New Orleans, forced-to-marry stories, sociology stories, classic Sci-fi, Christmas anthologies, Halloween anthologies, and YA princess stories. However, I think this is the longest binge I’ve been in.
Do other readers do this? Not just a reading binge, but like this? I’ve never known if it was the nature of my OCD to obsess about this as much as other things or not. It feels like an obsession. It’s a rolling boulder with too much momentum to stop. I have the same unnatural and not quite healthy feeling like when I write obsessively and write fourteen hours a day for a week and a half. It feels so wrong…and yet so right.
How about you? Do you binge on books?
(If anyone is interested in the books I’ve been reading, I can post a list including the love story’s obstacle to overcome and which I recommend. They’re all romance thus far and mostly historical.)