July 26, 2007

A Public Service Announcement on Binge Reading

Each year, millions of Americans fall prey to the scourge of "binge reading". It happens to people of every race, color, creed, nationality, ethnicity, and political persuasion. The scene is repeated from the rocky coast of Maine to San Francisco Bay: bibliophiles slumped over, pathetically pooled in their own spittle, drunk on words with eyes glazed as donuts after reading for seven straight hours.

Binge reading is a self-destructive and unrestrained reading bout during which time the heavily intoxicated reader "drops out" by not working, ignoring responsibilities, and engaging in other harmful behaviors. Many define binge reading as five continuous hours of reading over the course of an evening.

According to the editor of the Journal of Studies on Reading, binge reading describes an extended period during which a person repeatedly reads and gives up his or her usual activities and obligations in order to read. It is the combination of prolonged use and the giving up of usual activities that forms the core of the clinical definition of binge reading.

A dearth of reading can result in BO ('book overdose') when sufficient reading time has been found. If not fed and fertilized by a daily 40 to 60 minutes of reading, the subject will begin to act out in socially pathological ways such as reading advertising billboards on the drive to work, reading the fine print of legal documents that the sane do not read before signing or, for those in the final stages, RDS ("reading during sex").

Don't let this happen to you. Stay current with your reading habit. Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

(This message brought to you by the Miami Valley Reading Council.)

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