There are a handful of potential maladies that all bookworms should recognize, since the ailments are directly correlated to our love of novels. Some may say that a self-induced affliction doesn’t count, but we live in fear of contracting one just as much as we would any cold or flu. In fact, I can comfortably say that I’d bet most of us would rather get a cold because, a lot of the time, a cold won’t come between us and our books. When it comes to reading, we’ll fight through the sniffles or a fever. We’ll cough and vomit, then turn the page.
It’s biblio-sickness that will bring us to our knees!*
We’ve all felt the affects of Book Anticipation. You know what I’m talking about. There’s that special book that’s kept you waiting for a year (or longer in some cases). You’ve been scoping out the release date online, you’ve marked it on your calendar, and you’re counting down the days until you can hold its deliciousness in your hands. At first it’s there in the back of your mind as you pick up book after book, some of them good, some of them average, hopefully none of them bad. Then, before you know it, it’s release month. You can feel your excitement ramping up as the big day draws closer and closer until it’s the week before! At this point you know that you can’t just pick up any ole book. You have to balance your reading selection with the release date perfectly. You know the amount of guilt you would feel if you were in the middle of another book on such a momentous occasion! You recognize that, should it happened, it would be an immediate breakup. You’d have to kick that other book to the curb, because nothing is coming between you and that beautiful book you’ve been wanting so badly!
There’s a reason that coveting is a sin. It literally drives you insane. It makes you mental.
How about when you finally get that book in your hand, and it is literally everything you wished it would be! That beautiful book has suddenly grown claws, and it’s sunk those claws deep into your hands locking the two of you together. Laundry needs to be done, dinners cooked, children bathed… and yet you literally cannot put it down. Even thinking about putting it down makes your head spin. You’ve got Book Obsession.
I know we’re all familiar with the side effects of Book Obsession. You don’t sleep, you don’t shower, you barely eat, and your ass is permanently glued to your couch. Life goes on around you, and you are unable to do anything other than hold the book and read. It’s almost as though you have the worst case of tunnel vision. Nothing exists except that book in your hands.
The worst part of Book Obsession is when you’ve finished that book, the one you coveted, and you realize that in one day (a handful of hours) you completed it. It’s over. You rushed through the whole thing and now there’s no more, or maybe there is more but now it’s another year or longer! And, man does that hurt so bad. It’s a pain in your heart, and in your gut. Your brain won’t shut off, it wants more. You’re stuck in a loop, thinking only of that book you loved so much. You’re in the throes of the worst Book Hangover.
There’s no cure for a book hangover, not the way there is from an alcohol hangover. There’s no concoction you can drink that will make you feel better. You can’t slug back another book the way you can slug back another shot. The only option you have, when the hangover takes over, is to wait it out. Only time will ready you for picking up anything else.
That wait, the lull from the Hangover, is what we all call a Reading Slump. Reading Slump is a phenomenon that leaves a reader unenthusiastic. It can affect readers after an amazing book, like my scenario above, or it can happen at any time for no discernible reason. It just hits you out of the blue. You’re surrounded by books and, no matter how good they sounded when you got them, not one of them calls out to you.
I think the Reading Slump is the worst of the sickness that affects readers. Anticipation, Obsession, and Hangover are all passionate syndromes that come from loving a book too much. The Slump is the opposite of passion. It’s when you can’t find a spark for anything. I know how I feel when I’m in a slump. I feel angry at myself, and angry at my selections. All I want to do is read, but I’m completely lost on what to start because everything sounds terrible. You’re in the ‘depths of despair’.
What the Reading Slump has that the others don’t is ‘Treatment’. All bookworms have different ways of treating their Reading Slump. Myself, when I’m suffering from the Slump the best thing for me is to find an old favorite. Reading a book that’s as comfortable to me as a good pair of pajama’s usually works as a cure, and when I’m finished with that reread I’m ready to dive right back into my TBR pile, excited again.
Additionally, what makes biblio-sickness so terrible is that, with the exception of the Slump, upon healing you start hoping to get ill again.
If you were to create your own bookworm maladies, what would they be?
*Warning – Biblio-Sicknesses can occur all at once, in pairs, or on their own, depending on where your reading habits have led you.