Thursday, 29 September 2011

The dangers of excessive reading

It's somehow accepted that people are on their mobile phones every minute of the day. I barely even snigger now when I walk into a bar and see a table full of people out for a drink together, and every single one of them is engrossed in their smartphone. I always mocked people for it, called them anti-social, wondered why they aren't engaging with the fabulous real world around them rather than the virtual one on a miniature screen. But I've become one of those incredibly anti-social types since starting this challenge. And I think it's to a whole new level. At least when someone is texting, or checking emails, or Tweeting they tend to look up every now and again, say a few words, engage in a bit of conversation. But having my head in a book, especially books as good as the ones on this list means there's no drawing me out of there. I'm reading in every spare minute I get. I can squeeze a page in while in the supermarket queue. I'll get through a couple of chapters on my bus to work - and have on more than one occasion missed my stop when the plot reaches a gripping point just at the moment I ought to be ringing the bell. I've walked into numerous lamp-posts, tripped over a dog and, on one occasion, almost sat on someone's knee all because I'm trying to make every reading minute count. I'm a walking hazard. And now it's at the point where I'll be sat in the pub and while waiting for whoever I'm meeting have that fatal thought of 'I'll just read a few pages while I'm waiting'. And that's it. I'm back into the book and my poor friend will have got through most of their beer before I find a point I can bear to drag my eyes away from fiction and back to reality. So far everyone is being very understanding, but I'm guessing their tolerance has a limit.
I fear this is going to have a devastating effect on my ability to socialise. As I'm venturing into The Book Thief I think the 'can't put it down' syndrome is only going to get worse. So many people are telling me it's an incredible read. Perhaps I need to set some boundaries. Have reading slots planned into my day. But to be honest a little bit of me is tempted to just become a recluse for a while and fully indulge...

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