Coping with Reading Addiction

How to Cope with Reading Addiction

If you love to read, do you know when reading becomes more than just a pastime or hobby? Has your reading crossed the line into addiction? Here are steps to assess this and also to help you cope with your reading addiction.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1

Answer these questions to see if you are addicted to reading.

  1. Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut back on your reading?
  2. Are you preoccupied with thoughts of the book when you are away from it?
  3. Does reading help you escape from your problems?

These are similar to questions used in surveys by the American Psychological Association to determine internet addiction and gambling addiction.

Addicted to reading? Here’s a stack of books for you.

Step 2

Actually, being a book addict isn’t the worst thing in the world. I, personally, would like to see more “book addicts”. Wouldn’t you rather have addictive personalities turned onto reading rather than to drugs? Just imagine, if teenagers after school couldn’t wait to get a book instead of seeking out their local drug dealer.

If they were reading addicts, few people would try to change their behavior or ask them to get therapy. Reading, even in large amounts, is generally viewed as a positive activity. Everyone would admire such a wide background gained through reading.

Step 3

At what point does an addiction become a problem? When an addiction disrupts a relationship or leads people to commit illegal acts or to spend too much money, then it definitely is a social problem. Some people try to hide their addictions. They realize their behavior, whether it is excessive drinking or drug use, is not socially acceptable. Addictions are a problem if they affect your health or keep you from performing your job.

Here’s a self-test to take: Make a list of problems associated with your reading. Do you still recognize your family members when you pull yourself out of a book? Have you gone into debt buying books? Does it make you anxious when you don’t have an unread book on hand? Do you sneak out of work to visit a bookstore or library, just so you can be surrounded by books? How many book groups do you belong to? Do you resist switching to an e-reader because you crave the smell of paper as you read?

Step 4

I probably would be classified as a binge reader. Sometimes I go weeks without reading, while at other times I devour several books in a row. I might read late into the night, not able to put the book down until the very end. I know I’ll be sorry in the morning when it is hard to get out of bed. A novel is sometimes so compelling that I just can’t tear myself away. Reading a really good book creates the desire to read more.

How would you classify your reading? Can you stop if you want to? Is it just social reading so you can discuss the book with friends and the book club? Is it compulsive reading that you can’t stop doing? Do you escape into a book then have a hard time coming back to the real world? Is it hard for you to go to sleep at night if you don’t read for a while first?

Step 5

I hope therapists never label it as a psychological disorder. Libraries would become those dens of iniquity where the reading addicts get their fix. Librarians would face prison terms for providing books to addicts. Books would carry labels warning “CAUTION: this book could lead to addictive reading”.

Step 6

Maybe a ten-step program could be developed. People would attend the weekly meetings, stand up and say, “My name is ___, and I am a compulsive reader.” When they felt the urge to read, they could call another member who would help talk them out of it.

Until that time, enjoy reading as much as you want.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try setting a timer when you start to read. Force yourself to put the book down and spend an equal amount of time with the family.
  • Consider dropping subscriptions to book-of-the-month clubs. Get library cards instead at all the libraries within a 50-mile radius.
  • Addiction to books and reading can start at a very early age. Be alert for signs of it in your toddler and young children.
  • Write book reviews for Amazon or other sites. It serves as a way to keep track of your reading. Also when you reach Top 100 Reviewer status, authors will send you free books to read and review. Family and friends may accept your excessive reading as it has a purpose (beyond entertaining yourself).

Resources

Find a library near you

(Written by Virginia Allain, former library director)

Remembering Mom Reading to Us

vintage mother reading clip artRead to Your Children –

Reading to children is so important. Not only does it allow you to bond with the child, but it teaches them how to pronounce words and expand their vocabulary. They will also learn how to read and to spell words as they get old enough to follow the text on the page as the story unfolds.

My mother read to us often when were quite young, and I grew up loving words and loving books. All my siblings did as well and became lifelong readers. It’s a tradition passed down through generations. My mom (Gail Lee Martin) remembered her parents reading aloud to her and her sister after dinner. They gathered around the table with an oil lamp in the center to listen to the stories.

Today’s world is a bit different, and books are now available on reading devices, and when you’re traveling, these are awesome. You can bring your child’s favorite books along with you without having to pack bulky, heavy paperback and hardcover books.

The Kindle and other reading devices are ingenious! Take it with you anywhere you have to wait, like the doctor’s office. Read to your children today and every day!

This poster is from Zazzle Vintage Fairy Tale by YesterdayCafe.

Free Kindle Fairy Tales to Read to Children

Fairy tales from around the world thrill a child with new adventures and exotic locales. Best of all these vintage tales are free for download on the Kindle. Below are the links to get these fairy tale books from Amazon.

Check the price to be sure it hasn’t changed, then click to BUY the book for $0.00. Amazon will send you an e-mail confirmation that you have bought the book for free. It’s easy and you’ll have new stories to read your child each day.

Reading to your children will help their imagination to blossom as they create characters in their heads that go along with the stories. Most of these lack illustrations. Generally, the illustrated versions for Kindle cost 99 cents or higher.

The Blue Fairy BookThe Blue Fairy BookView DetailsFairy Tales Every Child Should KnowFairy Tales Every Child Should KnowView DetailsGrimm's Fairy StoriesGrimm’s Fairy StoriesView Details

The month of May is Get Caught Reading Month so let’s all participate by reading a good book and by encouraging our children to read as well. 

 

Favorite Books from My Childhood

Classics That Your Child Will Love Too

A post by Gail Martin’s daughter
Virginia Allain profile image
Virginia Allain

Some of the vintage children’s books that were on our bookshelves at home (photo by Virginia Allain)

Recommended Children’s Books from a Real Bookworm

Mom would call me to help with some chore, but I’d pretend not to hear. As usual, I had my nose buried in a book. Reading was a favorite activity of mine and a visit to the local library was like having unlimited access to a candy store. The library only allowed children to check out three books, but that was a totally inadequate amount to last two weeks until the next visit. Fortunately, I had a brother and four sisters, so combined we could take eighteen books.

We would swap our books around so everyone got to read them. If several were eager to read the same book, it was necessary to hide it between reading sessions to keep possession of it.

We owned some books from birthday and Christmas gifts and being voracious readers, we would reread those when our supply of fresh reading material became depleted.

Books for the Very Young

A Is for Annabelle – I have a page about Tasha Tudor’s book, A Is For Annabelle. It is such a marvelous ABC book about a vintage doll and her wardrobe. When Mom made Gone with the Wind style dresses for my sister’s doll, it reminded me of Annabelle with her delightful wardrobe and the trunk to put them in.

Of course, I this list would have to include Curious George. Mom took us to storytime at the public library, an old Carnegie library. I would go down the stairs to the children’s room in the basement. We sat on wooden chairs in stiff rows while the librarian read stories to us. One was Curious George. Years later, as a children’s librarian, I read Curious George to a new generation of children.

Cat Tales Family Album

Cat Tales Family Album

I loved these books with the pictures of cats dressed in complete outfits and posed in little scenes. The stories weren’t memorable, but the photos were adorable. My sister recently found a vintage copy of this on eBay.

Andrew Lang’s Fairy Book Series  – There was the Red Fairy Book, the Olive Fairy Book, the Blue Fairy Book, and so on. Each was packed with the best classic fairy tales. There are more, many more stories to stretch your child’s imagination than just Little Red Riding Hood or Cinderella. With these books, they will learn about Snow White and Red Rose, Jack the Giant Killer, Thumbelina, The Tinderbox and folklore from all around the world that was collected by Andrew Lang into the twelve book in the series.
Vintage Marriage of Thumbelina and Prince Postcard
Vintage Marriage of Thumbelina and Prince Postcard

Encourage Your Children to Read – Reading is so important for children’s development

There’s a teensy bit of advertising in this video, but the overall message is really good. Never mind about subscribing to their program, just go to the public library and get a free library card for yourself and for each child.

Favorites for Older Children

Black Beauty was a favorite of mine – A lovely classic story.  Children learn a lot about being kind to animals from a story like this. I shed many tears for the mistreatment of this horse.

Please, parents, give your children unabridged editions of classics. Look for the original author’s name and then check the title page to make sure it is unabridged. If the child is too young to read the long version, read it aloud to them. Abridged versions often truncate the book too much and remove the wonderful flow of words that made the book a classic.

Don’t miss the classic Robin Hood – No, watching the movie is not the same. My book had the Wyeth illustrations. I loved them. This one is even available now on a mousepad.

Ah, Maid Marion, Friar Tuck and the Duke of Nottingham. These great stories have broad appeal and are a great way to introduce children to English history.

I loved books about orphans – classic stories about orphans. It seems that a lot of books that were special to me are pretty old-fashioned. They were even old-fashioned back in the fifties when I was reading them. Actually old-fashioned could just be another term for classics. Books that have stood the test of time.

Elsie Dinsmore really touched me. Actually, Elsie had a father, but he was away on business so she was left in the care of hard-hearted relatives. There’s a whole series of these.

Heidi

Heidi

Heidi was left in the care of her gruff grandfather. She reveled in the freedom of following the goats with goat herder Peter.

Pollyanna

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter

Pollyanna had a profound effect on me. Fifty years later and I’m still trying to play the “glad game.” Yes, I know Pollyanna was a bit smarmy, but she had pluck and kept trying to do the right thing. She helped many people live a better life in her small village.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, Fiction, Action & Adventure

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Daddy-Long-Legs was the mysterious benefactor that sent a young orphan to college. Later on, it was made into a movie with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron.

Large families intrigued me, since I was one of six.

Bobbsey Twins 03: The Secret at the Seashore

Bobbsey Twins 

These were old-fashioned stories even when I read them back in the 1950s. There were Burt and Nan and Flossie and Freddy, two sets of twins in one family. Freddy was always getting into trouble.

Little Women, with eBook

Little Women,

What a wonderful book. With four sisters, I could really identify with this family. We all wanted to be Jo, the independent one who wrote stories.

The Five Little Peppers –  There was a whole series of these. They lived an impoverished life but Polly Pepper was my favorite for the way she solved problems and looked after her brothers and sisters.

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

This vintage family story shows Polly’s heroic efforts to help her mother.

Books in Series for Children – Get them hooked, then read the whole series

I couldn’t wait to get the next book once I’d started reading a series.
The Borrowers are a race of tiny people who live under the floorboards and behind the walls of old houses deep in the English countryside. They borrow bits of food and other things from the “human beans” who live in the house and try to make their homes as comfortable as possible without being discovered.
A story guaranteed to explode a child’s imagination! They will never look at the nooks and crannies around the house in the same way again!

 

The Rescuers (New York Review Books Children's Collection)

The Rescuers

I loved all the adventures the intrepid Miss Bianca had with trusty Bernard by her side.

The Little House Collection (Little House Books)

The Little House Collection

These almost need no introduction. Through the television series, they live on, but it is still a treat to read the originals. Having grown up in Kansas, these resonated with me.

The Black Stallion

The Black Stallion

I read the whole series. They did a wonderful job later making this into a movie. I was crazy about horses as a kid.

More Classics for Your Child to Read

The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Unabridged Classics)

The Wind in the Willows 

Enjoy the very British lives of Mole and Rat. I’ve always been an Anglophile.

Lassie Come-Home

Lassie Come-Home

This was the original Lassie, not the television one. What a brave dog!

Misty of Chincoteague

Misty of Chincoteague In the 1970s, I visited Chincoteague Islands and saw the wild horses there. Before that, I read every one of Margarite Henry’s horse books.

This could have been me. I had reddish highlights in my blonde hair and I read anywhere, anytime.

The Secret Garden (HarperClassics)

The Secret Garden

Actually, this one qualifies as an orphan book too. I thought it was fabulous that whiney Mary was rehabilitated by learning to garden and learned to care about other people like the crippled Colin.

Alice In Wonderland

Alice In Wonderland

If your children have seen the movie, then it’s time to read the book too. A complex read, but part of our cultural literacy.

Little Lord Fauntleroy, with eBook (Tantor Unabridged Classics)

Little Lord Fauntleroy went from living in genteel poverty to being discovered as the heir to a fabulous estate in England. He has a hard time winning the heart of his crusty grandfather though.

Louisa May Alcott Books – When I first started going to the public library, I wanted to read every book starting with “A” and follow around until I got to “Z.” This was a rather ambitious plan, and I did make it through all the books by Alcott and then by Aldrich. After that, I decided to read more randomly as there were authors I wanted to sample and they were way down the alphabet.

I read all of Thomas C. Hinkle’s dog and horse stories – More wonderful animal stories for your child.

Black Storm was one of my favorites. Some of these might be found in public libraries. Also, check on eBay for Hinkle’s vintage dog and horse stories.

So — were some of my favorites your favorites too? Tell me which ones I missed.

Develop Your Own Personal Library

I’ve rescued another of Gail Lee Martin’s early articles that she wrote for the eHow site back in 2009.

How to Develop a Personal Library

Reading is an important part of our lives for information and entertainment. Filling our home with books that have special meaning to us seems so natural. Here’s how to develop your own personal library.

ALLOW TIME FOR YOUR PERSONAL LIBRARY TO DEVELOP.
Our library of books that take up a whole wall in our home Is the result of a lifetime with my reading family. My parents and sisters read whenever we had some spare time. Then I married Clyde, who came from a big family of readers. Together we raised six children who mostly took to reading like ducks to water.

LOOK FOR BOOKS THAT YOU WILL READ AGAIN AND AGAIN.
During more than fifty years of married life, we gathered and saved books like jewels. In the seventies, Clyde built an eight-foot long bookshelf almost ceiling high to hold the many books we thought too precious to get let go. We read them over and over again.

Paul_Calhoun___age_6

Paul Calhoun standing by the bookshelves his grandfather, Clyde Martin, made. 1973

LEARN WAYS TO ADD TO YOUR BOOK COLLECTION WITHOUT SPENDING TOO MUCH.
Collecting books of our favorite authors made garage sales an enjoyable pastime. We watch for early Kansas school books and books written about Abraham Lincoln, Clyde’s favorite since his early years when Grandma Joy would read aloud to him from the well-used book, “Stories and Yarns of the Immortal Abe,” that is a highlight of our wall of books.

Library book sales are good places to find books at bargain prices. Also, check yard sales and flea markets. For hard-to-find books, check antique stores and online.

FIND AUTHORS WITH SPECIAL MEANING FOR YOU AND COLLECT ALL OF THEIR BOOKS. LOOK FOR ONES THAT YOU’LL WANT TO REREAD.
Authors we love and save their books to read time and time again are Harold Bell Wright, B. M. Bower, Jackson Gregory, James Oliver Curwood, William Allen White and Peter B. Kyne. My mother must have been reading Kyne’s book, “The Enchanted Hill” when she was expecting me in 1924, as she named me Gail Lee after the heroine, Gail and the hero, Lee. How could I not become a writer after that honor?

The collection of Margaret Hill McCarter books began with the book “The Price of the Prairie.” that my mother-in-law gave her husband in 1915. These books led me to research this author’s life and finally performing at elementary schools and clubs in my community as Margaret.  IMG_7188_edited

FIND GENRES OF FICTION OR NONFICTION THAT YOU ENJOY READING.
Our book collecting has outgrown our original wall of books, creating the need for bookshelves in the master bedroom, for mostly western, mysteries, intrigue, and historical paperbacks, again we save series of books by our favorites authors. Dick Francis, Jean Auel, Tony Hillerman, James Herriot, and Sandra Detrix of the Kansas Author Club writing as Cassandra Austin are just a few.

FIND BOOKS THAT MATCH YOUR HOBBIES AND INTERESTS.
We have many books about Will Rogers, Charles Lindbergh, oil fields, old Model A cars, Norman Rockwell, Frankoma Pottery and Currier and Ives.
One long shelf contains books on gardening, fences, composting, flowers, insects, trees and some “Foxfire” books about the mountaineer people of the Appalachian Mountain. I have added books about learning to survive by eating from the wilds. Including many by Euell Gibbons. We take pleasure from hunting the countryside for wild foods like poke, morel mushrooms, and paw paws to bring home and savor a bit of nature’s bounty.

FIND BOOKS THAT YOU’LL REFER TO FOR INFORMATION.
Two long shelves on the back porch are for the recipe books. These are used for new and old ideas for cooking meals from the produce we grow in our own garden each year. I also use them and the Kansas history books for my research for stories.

CREATE YOUR OWN BOOKS OR NOTEBOOKS OF ORIGINAL MATERIAL TOO.
Book shelves are currently taking shape all around in my writing room to shelter books containing research for all kind of articles I plan on writing; for our family history memoirs and extensive files of everything our family is interested in. I have added notebooks where I save written material by others in our family. My Mother’s stories that she wrote in the early twenties, our daughter, Shannon’s “Martin News”; my sister, Carol’s “Living on the Bay” her monthly newsletter from Seadrift, Texas and our daughter, Cindy’s “Birdwoman programs” that need a special shelf.

Vintage Westerns: My Dad’s Favorite Reads

Zane Grey, Louis L’Amour, B.M. Bower, William McLeod Raine… do those names ring a bell? These are authors whose vintage westerns continue to have a strong appeal.

Westerns were in heavy demand at my library when the retirees flocked to the area for the warm winters. These older men grew up watching Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry weekly at the movies. Cowboys wore white hats and overcame the bad guys. From the 1920s to the 1950s youngsters imitated their favorite cowboy, wearing a vest and a cowboy hat, and gripping a six-gun in each hand.

Vintage Humor, Cowboy Singing Music to his Horse Classic Round Sticker Vintage Cowboy Singing to his Horse Round Sticker

Their movie heroes are long gone, but the western novel remains popular with this audience. The faithful readers may be seventy, eighty or ninety but as long as their eyesight holds out, they’ll read their westerns.

B.M. Bower Western books

Dad’s collection of B.M. Bower westerns.

Memory Flashback to 2007: Reading is a pastime that brings lifelong pleasure. My dad keeps a stack of his favorite westerns on a bookshelf near his comfortable chair. They are ready for re-reading at any time. In between, he goes through lots of paperback westerns. His family keeps him well-supplied with the paperbacks picked up at yard sales. Eventually, those get recycled to the used bookstore in town or donated to the library’s book sale. Then he returns to reading Zane Grey and B.M. Bower once again.

reading a vintage western

Clyde Martin, reading once again an old favorite western by William McLeod Raine.

I Loved Reading Vintage Westerns Too

Back when I was in school, I started reading the old westerns that filled the shelves in our home. Those were favorites of Dad’s. I found I liked them a lot, so started picking up additional titles at the public library that were missing from Dad’s collection. Later, I’d watch for the old hardcover classics from the 1930s and 1940s whenever I visited a flea market.

I still had a lot of those vintage westerns on my book shelves but needed to thin down my collection. Since I didn’t want to just give them to the thrift shop, I started passing them along to Dad the last few years of his life. Even if he had read them several times before, he was always glad to read one again.

 

I should have gotten Dad a mug like this for his coffee.

Thundering Herd 1925 movie ad Mug

Thundering Herd 1925 movie ad Mug

(This essay was previously published on Squidoo by Gail Martin’s daughter, Virginia Allain)

Four Children and One More on the Way

Here’s my mother, Gail Lee Martin, wearing a maternity smock, so another baby is on the way. Her children (left to right) are Susan, Cindy, Ginger and Owen. The soon-to-arrive child is Karen. That dates this photo to sometime before June 1952.

To the right is her mother-in-law, Cora (Joy) Martin. The photo shows them in Reading, Kansas, where Cora and Ren lived before they retired to Emporia.

I heard that the Reading house became a cafe, but suffered so much damage in the 2011 tornado that it required demolition. When I looked at the newspaper’s slide show of the tornado damage, there’s a vintage purple-painted house in several photos and the twisted sign from The Miracle Cafe. I’m not sure if it is the same house. The details of the front porch don’t seem the same.

I have no idea why I’m wearing a stocking cap on what is obviously a spring day. I’m holding a vintage doll that may have belonged to my grandmother. The bright sun is making us squint.

Gail Martin with her children and her mother-in-law, Cora Joy Martin.

Gail Martin with her children and her mother-in-law, Cora Joy Martin.

A front porch always makes me nostalgic as it probably taps into memories like this. Remember sitting on the front porch back when?