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I Love Reading

Are you a person who enjoys reading? Our grandson Drew is a first grader who is becoming not only a good reader, but also one who enjoys reading. Our grandson Ryan who is not yet 3 years old is already learning to read! These boys definitely come from a long line of people who enjoy reading.

Below is a recent video clip of our grandson Ryan sounding out words as he learns to read. If you are reading the e-mail or blog post reader version of this, you will have to go to this post to view the flash video.

Amazing, huh?!

A Pew Research poll from two years ago reported the following reasons people gave for reading a book in the previous year:

About 25% said that what they enjoyed most was learning something new or finding information.
About 15% said they enjoyed escaping reality and entering another world.
Almost 15% said they liked the entertainment, the drama, or the suspense provided by the unfolding of a good plot.
Almost 15% said they enjoyed the relaxation and the quiet of reading.
Almost 15% cited either spiritual enrichment, expanding their worldview, or being mentally challenged as their reason for reading.
2% mentioned the feel and smell of books as their primary pleasure. (Obviously not readers of e-books.)

You can see from some of the answers that the enjoyment of many is what they personally gain from reading, not just the process itself. Today's blog post is about people who are avid readers — way too avid perhaps. What I'm posting below is something that a long-time reader sent to me a long time ago. (Thanks NCL!) Now just seemed to be a good time to share this on my blog.

Are You a Literature Abuser?

Take the following test and find out! How many of these apply to you?

- I have read fiction when I was depressed, or to cheer myself up.
- I have gone on reading binges of an entire book or more in a day.
- I read rapidly, often "gulping" chapters.
- I have sometimes read early in the morning or before work.
- I have hidden books in different places to sneak a chapter without being seen.
- Sometimes I avoid friends or family obligations in order to read novels.
- Sometimes I re-write film or television dialog as the characters speak.
- I am unable to enjoy myself with others unless there is a book nearby.
- At a party, I will often slip off unnoticed to read.
- Reading has made me seek haunts and companions which I would otherwise avoid.
- I have neglected personal hygiene or household chores until I have finished a novel.
- I have spent money meant for necessities on books instead.
- I have attempted to check out more library books than permitted.
- Most of my friends are heavy fiction readers.
- I have sometimes passed out from a night of heavy reading.
- I have suffered "blackouts" or memory loss from a bout of reading.
- I have wept, become angry or irrational because of something I read.
- I have sometimes wished I did not read so much.
- Sometimes I think my reading is out of control.

If you answered "yes" to four or more of these questions, you may be a literature abuser. Affirmative responses to seven or more indicates a serious problem. You need to read on, or ask someone who cares about you to read the following to learn how to understand and help you.

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.

Social Costs Of Literary Abuse

Abusers become withdrawn, uninterested in society or normal relationships. They fantasize, creating alternative worlds to occupy, to the neglect of friends and family. In severe cases they develop bad posture from reading in awkward positions or carrying heavy book bags. In the worst instances, they become cranky reference librarians in small towns.

Excessive reading during pregnancy is perhaps the number one cause of moral deformity among the children of teachers of English and creative writing. Known as Fetal Fiction Syndrome, this disease also leaves its victims prone to a lifetime of nearsightedness, daydreaming, and emotional instability.


Recent Harvard studies have established that heredity plays a considerable role in determining whether a person will become an abuser of literature. Most abusers have at least one parent who abused literature, often beginning at an early age and progressing into adulthood. Many spouses of an abuser become abusers themselves.

Other Predisposing Factors

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.

Decline And Fall: The English Major

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 (the writer of this assumed, apparently, that only girls would want to major in English ... tsk! tsk!):

- 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.

- 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?

- Show her another way. Move the television set into her room. Introduce her to other students.

- 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.

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 important, 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.


Are you an avid reader? If so, what is your main reason for reading?

I hope you have a good week. For those of you who like updates about the school year here at BJU, you might be surprised to learn that this next week is our annual Bible Conference already. The school year is flying by!


"Jesus loves you just the way you are ... but he doesn't want you to stay that way. He wants you to become just like Him." — Max Lucado


Lack of pep is often mistaken for patience.

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7 Comments on “Reading”

  1. #1 Nancy
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Hi. My name is Nancy, and I abuse books. If you give me 12 steps to recovery, I won’t take them. Many of my dearest childhood friends lived between the covers if a book, and not only were they incredibly thin, some were actually two-dimensional. They made me whole.

    Rob adds:
    Nancy, you are too funny! Thanks for sharing this gem with me many years back. How fitting that you should be the first to comment.

  2. #2 bj
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 8:18 am

    This is hilarious! Too many of the above apply to me, but when I was little, almost all applied to me! I learned to read by three years old, and my niece did as well. I never thought it odd that I was reading little house books or little women in first and second grade…until I saw my niece reading at such a young age! A different perspective really makes all the difference. It just seemed so odd to see such a tiny thing reading so avidly, even giving the characters different voices when reading aloud. I guess that’s what you have to look forward to! I used to read the newspaper to the old men who sat in the front of the grocery store waiting for their wives. My grandma jokingly would say we left with more money than we came in with, from all the quarters they gave me. I suppose you could try your luck with Ryan that way! Ha ha kidding of course.

    Rob adds:
    That’s terrific, bj! I often wonder how young I could have learned to read if encouraged. I’ll never know.

  3. #3 Vikki
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Hello, my name is Vikki and I’m married to a book abuser (of course I’m not addicted, I can choose to quit at any time). I’m always there to offer him my support or to encourage him put that book he’s debating about purchasing back on the shelf at Mr. K’s (also so that I don’t feel as guilty about spending the money on the 3 or 4 I have in my arms). We have stacks of books in our bedroom and office, plus boxes full of them in storage and on shelves – mostly his, I think.

    Rob adds:
    Vikki, I’m happy to hear of your ability to quit at any time. Such resolve!

  4. #4 Vikki
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:21 am

    By the way, does loading down your computer with Audible ebooks count?

    Rob adds:
    You’ll have to talk to the leader/s of the program your husband needs to join….

  5. #5 Megan T.
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I agree with Nancy; no intervention will help.

    I read to experience lives I will never live. Or to revisit characters I love.

    Rob adds:
    Sounds delightfully hopeless, Megan!

  6. #6 Anna
    on Mar 19th, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Guilty as charged! I won’t disclose how many apply to me on your test, but I have tried at times to limit my reading. That’s when I find myself reading the backs of all the cereal boxes.

    I saw an anonymous quote once that summed it up for me: “When I have money, I buy books. If I have any left, I buy food and clothes.”

    Thanks for a great post!

    Rob adds:
    Thanks for your comment, Anna. I think there are a lot more of us out there than we’d like to admit….

  7. #7 Jessica
    on Mar 21st, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Guilty as charged. My husband, my sister, my cousin (who was also my childhood best friend) and I are all serious literature abusers. My cousin would spend the night when we were young, and we’d spend much of our time together reading. Our telephone conversations would almost inevitably turn into reading-while-on-the-phone-and-not-talking sessions.

    In elementary school I was friends with the girl who lived next door, and I always wanted to read when we visited. The last day I saw her just before we were about to move out of state, she said, “What do you want to do today? And don’t say, ‘read’!”

    Rob adds:
    Read on, Jessica!