The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Binge Reading

The best feeling is discovering a book series that already has four or five books out. You don’t have to wait (im)patiently for the next one to come out, you can just grab it from the library or buy it instantly. Though this can be a great thing it also be bad. Really bad. Why, you ask? Because just as quickly as you became obsessed with Scandal you’ve become just as obsessed with the Private series. What’s worse is unlike a TV show, reading takes longer and you can’t really multi-task while you’re reading. Instead you find yourself so wrapped in your book, hours have gone by and you’ve forgotten how to eat, sleep, use the bathroom, and socialize.

In short, you’ve become a hermit.



It’s okay. Take a breather, relax. Binge reading is a fine (and fun) activity. It’s great to find yourself wrapped in a series with these characters you just can’t stop thinking about and always wanting to know what happens next. Reading is fundamental after all and unlike watching TV it won’t kill your brain cells.

It becomes bad, however, when you let your reading take over your whole life. Now you might be thinking, “That would never happen.” Yeah, sure. Here’s some signs that you might be losing it:

  1. You freak out when the library doesn’t have the next book in the series.
  2. You’re willing to buy the next book (or next three) no matter what the cost. “If I don’t check my bank account then it’s not real.”
  3. Friends ask you to hang out but you say no because you JUST GOT TO THE GOOD PART.
  4. You tell yourself you’ll go to sleep at 3 AM but then when 3 AM comes and you’re still in the middle of the chapter so you say, “I’ll just finish the chapter,” but it ended with a cliffhanger. You can’t possibly stop now, you’ll just go to sleep at 4 AM. This cycle continues until suddenly the sun is up.
  5. When you have to eat or go to the bathroom you take the book with you.
  6. Actually you just take the book everywhere.
  7. People try to talk to you but you just say, “Uh huh,” or “Okay,” because really you just want them to be quiet so you can keep reading.
  8. When you’re not reading you have to remind yourself what’s real and what happened in the book. No you do not have super powers and no you’re not in the middle of an all out war with the Capitol. Relax.

If any or all of these apply to you, you might have a problem but that’s okay because let’s be real reading too much is never really a problem right? The book series has to end eventually . . . but then you’ll find another one to read then another then another until you forget what real life is.

Here’s the deal, I love binge reading as much as the next person but just as binge watching TV can be bad for you so can binge reading. For one thing you can actually hurt your eyes by reading so much. For another you’ll start alienating yourself for the sake of a book. Don’t let your favorite character become your best friend. The day a character in a book actually starts talking to you is when you know you need to put the book down.

Rather than binge reading, take a break in between books. I give you permission to stay up however, long it takes to read one book but after you’re done give it a rest. Go for a walk, go see a movie, hang out with friends. Don’t let a fictional world become your whole life. Remember, no matter how good the book is, it’s not real and it’ll still be there when you get back.

Besides why rush a good thing? The sad truth is the series will have to come to an end eventually or worse you’ll actually catch up and find yourself waiting a year for the next one. Why put yourself through that torture? Take your time with the series. Re-read all the good parts. Let it all sink in before you jump right back in. Trust me, it won’t kill you.

Honestly, I know many of you will ignore my advice and keep binge reading anyway. If you do I wish you the best and enjoy the reading.


Sources for photos: Tumblr

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