Just because it happened in the book….

I’ve been reading since I was 4 years old in Kindergarten and first learned the alphabet. I’ve been an avid reader since 3rd grade, often seeking shelter in the school library during lunch time and devouring each new book that the librarian would send my way. This may seem normal for any typical book-nerd, but I had only been in the US for roughly 3 years. My family moved to the US when I was barely 5 years old. English was my third language and here I was going to a California public school. I can attest to the fact that young children soak up languages like sponges, myself included. Reading though, took me so much farther than anything I learned in school. I learned how to talk, how to think and how to write because of all the books I read. Grammar was hardly discussed in my schools until I was in 8th grade, even then, I only knew what I was doing because of what I had read all my life.

In 6th grade, I jumped ahead of myself and started reading Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, after that, I don’t think I picked up another YA book. I was reading about serial killers, Helter Skelter, or I was reading about punk rock, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana. Music was my second love after reading, a trait I find still in most avid readers, the two seem to go hand-in-hand.

I’ve lived 4/5ths of my life in books. At 25 years old, I can’t help but wonder, have I read too much and not lived enough? Sometimes I ask myself, why am I indoors reading when I should be outdoors exploring the world? Its not much about being in a reading funk, but its about wanting to develop my story. How often do readers rely on characters in a book for advice on personal decisions? Is it better or worse to make decisions based on what you’ve read versus what you’ve experienced, and if you haven’t experienced enough, shouldn’t you put down the books for a while and really step outside yourself?

Is there such a thing as too much reading? Where is the balance?

8 responses to “Just because it happened in the book….

  1. I do believe there is a thing as too much reading. Do you decide not to go out with your friends and family and prefer reading instead everytime? Then yes, you are reading too much. If you refer to books for advice then again you are reading too much. There is nothing like talking to a best friend and asking for advise, even if the advise isn’t worth following.

    You wont be 25 for long. I think you should go out and experience things for yourself. I am 27 and I do go out a lot but still feel as if time is slipping by. You can keep some reading time aside the way I do. Depending on how busy you are an hour or 2 everyday on weekdays and maybe half a day on weekends. That way you could enjoy both.

    But this is just me, I guess different people will have different opinions about this 🙂

  2. rantsandreads

    I’ve never put books before friends, and I do turn to my friends for advice, my question was more of a general observation. I’m just wondering how much influence books should have in our lives.

  3. I personally don’t think there is such a thing as reading too much.

    I think you’re just bored with your life and are deciding to blame it on poor innocent books.

    Really, what have books ever done to you! Hmph!!

    Haha, just joking you know 🙂

    You should try working into your routine a daily walk. I find the simple routine of walking the dogs every morning and admiring people’s gardens and watching the daily routine of people in the morning is fascinating and I make up little stories for every morning person I see.

    Also, I try and hike at least once a week. And I find that can be an adventure in and of itself. If you’re really bored and feel like you’re not getting out enough you can go hiking with me Monday mornings/afternoons. Just let me know :-). Its always fun and the views are always breath taking.

  4. If you feel that you are missing out on life because of reading, then yes, you should probably cut back, but I would say the same for someone who watched too much TV or any other solitary activity. I also don’t think you should necessarily refer to books for advice, I’m not sure how reliable they would be! If you’re feeling doubtful, though, it’s worth going out and trying to experience things for yourself. I’ve never really felt this way I guess; it’s a matter of figuring out what is important to you and getting more of that in your life.

  5. Sometimes I feel like this, but I honestly don’t know why. I see my friends often enough, I take trips to other cities and I go on holiday. What I am actually missing at the moment is other solitary activities apart from reading, I’m currently set for social occassions and I very rarely turn down an outing (unless I feel I’ve had too many in a row and I need some alone time).

    I think sometimes we all get a bit restless with the way our lives are, even though we’re not doing anything ‘wrong’. That can mean it’s time to try something new. There’s a recent book called ‘Reading: The Solitary Vice’ that might chime with your current mood right now (y’know if you decide to keep reading).

  6. Wow, what an honest question that I think most avid readers ask at some point. I think if you are reading so much that you have no contact with the outside world that is too much. Otherwise I believe its a personal decision on what is too much. As long as your happy both reading and with your real world life, I wouldn’t sweat it. As for taking advice from a book, again it depends. There are some great characters out there that make great role models, so if you learn something from it, why not.

  7. I definitely feel this way sometimes. And sometimes it is just a cue for me to slow down my reading for a while. On the other hand, though, I think that reading is living. As a reader, I experience things and travel places I could not experience otherwise. And the end of the day, it’s probably just about balance in all things. I hope though, that balance for you includes this blog because I love it!

  8. I wonder if it’s not so much a question of reading too many books – perhaps it’s a question of which books are being read…

    The wonderful Michael Morpugo gave a speech at a school I worked in at the time, opening with “Some people say you are what you eat. I disagree. I think you are what you read.” That really stuck with me!

    If all I read, all the time, was celebrity novels and pulp chicklit, then I would feel bad – like a junk food binge. But if there was variety, then I don’t see the harm. But then, who am I to talk? I’m the one who has to unpack books before the toaster when moving house, just to feel like I have arrived…

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