Thursday, January 12, 2012

Can Reading Ever Be Bad?

Can we get so involved in books that our normal lives are compromised?  Is reading always a good thing?

I'm not talking about getting hooked on a good title now and then, I'm wondering about people who read one book after another and sit home while others are out experiencing life.

Ahhh, you say, books ARE an experience.  They take you places you may never see like the moon or Antarctica, let you experience things you don't want to like murders or disease or even the zombie apocalypse, and let you live a vicarious life that could otherwise get you in heaps of trouble. 

But can we spend too much time in these other worlds?  Does our everyday life pale in comparison to what we read, and does this make us less content?  Or is every book an enhancement, a gorgeous distraction to an otherwise mundane existance.

I am interested in the fact that many doctors and psychotherapists say we are better off spending time outside and interacting with others to keep our spirits up.  Physical activity works just as well at curing depression as anti-depresant medication.  When people are blue they are told to accept invitations even if they do not want to get out and get involved with the world.

Reading is easy, and if we are feeling a bit sad or blue maybe we need to catch ourselves and put the books away for a while and get out of the house. (I am not trying to trivialize depression at ALL or imply that reading can cause depression.)

Please know I am not suggesting reading is bad, just playing devil's advocate because it is generally stated that reading is wonderful, and I usually agree.

 I just keep thinking about the other side of the coin.

Physical activity and feeling good:

Reading and feeling good:


  1. I think any activity done to the point of excluding other activities is bad. If you are reading for the purpose of avoiding dealing with real life, then yeah it's bad. I am blessed with two daughters who have a voracious appetite reading, but I have been put in awkward position of saying, "Stop reading and go outside and play" sounds so weird to tell them to stop reading :D

  2. Hey! My son is the same way.
    And I agree with you--you can overdo anything. I especially think about books because they are an escape--they 'literally' bring you somewhere else. I can remember reading certain books and being so sad when they were coming to an end--it was so nice nice to be part of that other world...:)
    XO to your daughters:)


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