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Are you a literature abuser?

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I was looking for some info on the Paperback Swap site and found this on their message board. It made me laugh so hard I almost cried.




How many of these apply to you?


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


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


3. I read rapidly, often 'gulping' chapters.


4. I have sometimes read early in the morning or before work.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


12. I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.


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


14. Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.


15. I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.


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


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


18. I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.


19. Sometimes I think my reading is out of control.


If you answered 'yes' to three or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to five or more indicates a serious problem.


Once a relatively rare disorder, Literature Abuse, or LA, has risen to new levels due to the accessibility of higher education and increased college enrollment since the end of the Second World War. The Number of literature abusers is currently at record levels.




Fathers or mothers who are English teachers, professors, or heavy fiction readers; parents who do not encourage children to play games, participate in healthy sports, or watch television in the evening.




Pre-marital screening and counseling, referral to adoption agencies in order to break the chain of abuse. English teachers in particular should seek partners active in other fields. Children should be encouraged to seek physical activity and to avoid isolation and morbid introspection.




Within the sordid world of literature abuse, the lowest circle belongs to those sufferers who have thrown their lives and hopes away to study literature in our colleges. Parents should look for signs that their children are taking the wrong path--don't expect your teenager to approach you and say, "I can't stop reading Spenser." By the time you visit her dorm room and find the secret stash of the Paris Review, it may already be too late.


What to do if you suspect your child is becoming an English major: (Spoiler alert re: Madame Bovary. Skip #1 below.)



1. Talk to your child in a loving way. Show your concern. Let her know you won't abandon her--but that you aren't spending a hundred grand to put her through Stanford so she can clerk at Waldenbooks, either. But remember that she may not be able to make a decision without help; perhaps she has just finished Madame Bovary and is dying of arsenic poisoning.


2. Face the issue: Tell her what you know, and how: "I found this book in your purse. How long has this been going on?" Ask the hard question--Who is this Count Vronsky?


3. Show her another way. Move the television set into her room. Introduce her to frat boys.


4. Do what you have to do. Tear up her library card. Make her stop signing her letters as 'Emma.' Force her to take a math class, or minor in Spanish. Transfer her to a Florida college.


You may be dealing with a life-threatening problem if one or more of

the following applies:

* She can tell you how and when Thomas Chatterton died.

* She names one or more of her cats after a Romantic poet.

* Next to her bed is a picture of: Lord Byron, Virginia Woolf, Faulkner or any scene from the Lake District.


Most importantly, remember, you are not alone. To seek help for yourself or someone you love, contact the nearest chapter of the American Literature Abuse Society, or look under ALAS in your telephone directory.

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Just because I once got off the subway at the wrong stop and started walking to my office for at least a block before realizing I was in the wrong place (because I was reading while walking) does not mean I have a problem.


I refuse to discuss the time(s) I've spent the grocery money at the bookstore.



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But ... But... But ... I don't WANT to quit. I like my addiction, thank you very much (and secretly can't wait until summer when I can spend all day reading and nobody can stop me BWAA HAAA HAAA!)


I never knew I had a problem. I can quit any time I want to. I just don't want to.



I will not admit to how many I said yes to.



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