My True Addiction

Many – if not all – of you have an addiction. I know you do. Don’t lie. It’s okay. We’re all friends here. I know what your addiction is, too. I share it with you. It’s reading. And if that’s not your addiction, I’m not really sure what you’re doing here…but don’t worry, we’ll get you hooked in no time.

I’ve come to realize lately, however, that my addiction goes beyond the general term of “reading.” It’s more than ignoring laundry and dishes and those little people looking to be fed because I. Just. Can’t. Stop. until the last page. More than figuring out how I’m going to afford another trip to the bookstore to score my next fix. More than rushing out to buy the next book in the series. Or, if it’s not out yet, waiting for it with the patience of a two-year-old and when the time comes, standing in line or watching the Kindle clock with caffeinated jitters for midnight to strike on release day.

It’s more than loving a story so much that I don’t want it to end. More than appreciating the beauty of just the right words strung together perfectly. More than the thrill of an unexpected plot twist.

I’m addicted to characters and the worlds they live in.

When I fall in love, I fall hard. I can barely get through the day without thinking about the characters and where they left off when I had to put the book down for much needed sleep. I go to the store or the gas station and imagine taking care of these mundane activities in the world between the covers. And when I turn the last page, I want to cry. Because I don’t want it to end. I love these people. I love this world. I don’t want to leave it just yet. So…I read it again.

Yes, that’s the painful realization I’ve come to. I frequently read books more than once – I read for enjoyment the first time and, as an author, to learn the second time. At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself. And it’s sort of true – I do pay closer attention to world-building, character development, story structure, etc., the second time around. But if I want to be completely honest, I read it again because I don’t want to give up the world or the characters yet. Because I only re-read those stories that I truly love.

Most recently, it’s Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I have to read it again. And perhaps even again. I can’t get enough of Katsa and Po. If you haven’t read it, hurry right now to get it. Beautifully written, adventurous story that has no dull moments and the best characters I’ve read in a long time. Better than Jace and Clary, my previous loves.

I’ve also realized this is one of the reasons I write – because when one story of Alexis and Tristan is over, I can always write more. I can spend time in their world whenever I want to and not even be limited by the same story over and over. But no, I can’t do fanfic. It just doesn’t feel right to me. I feel like it’s going into some stranger’s home and trying to impersonate their life. I might be able to get away with it from everything I can learn, but I can never really be that other person. Just as I can never write someone else’s characters.

Unfortunately, writing my own characters in my own world and spending time with them whenever I want to just isn’t enough for my addiction. There are too many other fantastic characters and worlds to enjoy, get lost in, become addicted to. The next hit is always out there.

What is your addiction? Is it just reading in general or do you have something more specific that you can’t get enough of? Characters? Worlds? Thrilling plots? Blood and guts? Or, perhaps, hot and steamy smexy scenes? Which characters and/or worlds do you suggest I fall in love with next?

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6 Responses to My True Addiction

  1. inga says:

    Oh dear!!
    I just wrote a post in one blogging community which started with similar words:
    “Hi! I am Inga and I am a reading addict…”
    And I did not feel guilty at all!
    I absolutely understand what you are saying. The proof of it is probably that it is 1 am here where I live and I’m still reading (and writing). It’s just whenever I find a book, which I truely love, it is very difficult for me not to come back to it. I made some statistics for 2010 about how many books I’ve read and how many books I’ve re-read during the year. Believe me, there were some books which reappeared more than twice.

    The reason for re-reading a book is mostly because of the characthers and because of the world whihc writers have created. It’s somehow like escapism. I’m not saying that I read to escape from the real world, but it is so interesting, comforting, fascinating.

    I can name few books which I kept coming back to.
    1. Master and margarita by Bulgakov. It is just amazingly written, it’s funny, crazy, deep – and all of it in the same time. Bulgakiv was capable of creating a world filled with fantasy and combine it with religion.. I have no words!

    2. Black Daggger Brotherhood series by J.R.Ward – I have read the books of Wrath, Rehvenge, Vishous at least three times, and when I’m saying 3 times, I mean during 2010.

    3. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Book 4 Dead to the World – I would be embarrased to tell how many times I read it! I love the whole series, but especially this book. The relationship between Eric and Sookie is just so well written and intense!

    4. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I keep coming back to Bella and Edward. Can’t help it. No wonder I’m a TwiMOM.

    Huh, I could go on and on.

    Very, very good topic by the way! Makes me wonder myself what it is that keep me going back to some books.

  2. Dawn Embers says:

    Graceling was a good book. I haven’t read Fire yet and wonder how Kristin Cashore has been doing on the book from Bitterblue’s pov. And guess what: I met Kristin at a conference in 2009. She’s really nice and autographed the book too. 😀

    I’m probably addicted to the Internet but I have been reading more thanks to the book review blog. Plus, I’ve gotten used to reading again since I was out of practice. I haven’t read many books over again though, not like I used to when I was younger. I did read Neil Gaiman’s book, American Gods, twice during college. But there are many books I still can remember the characters and world even now.

    Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce was always a favorite of mine. Then there is Dragonlance series by Weis and Hickman (though I think I missed one book in it). I don’t have many yet, but there will be more in the future I can imagine.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I LOVE YOU AND YOUR BOOKS 🙂 I just read your Soul Saver books & fell in love– Literally COULD NOT put them down. I am an obsessive reader like yourself & it is SO hard for me to get out of the world it puts me in. I completely relate to your post. ( I had to show it to my friends because they never understand my relationship with books) No one ever understands when I say that I NEED to be in a book. I don’t care if I read one page, I need a world to think about during my day and put the characters in..which I do. I will be doing daily things and my mind is all in the book. It’s a stress reliever for me as well. I love fiction/sci fi /fantasy because of the way it takes me out of reality. If I’m ever having a stressful day I just go right into reading my books and I calm down and get into a whole new mindset. I have a kindle so it’s with me everywhere that I go. (oh do I love that kindle.) I wanted to say thank you for writing Alexis and Tristan. I had feeling that I would LOVE your books and immediately fell into them hard and fast and loved them more than I even imagined. I could NOT put them down & read them both in almost two days. Your characters were relatable and yet untouchable which made them even more intriguing to me. I love them as much as Jace & Clary or Edward & Bella. <3 Soul Savers series has definitely reserved it’s spot up in my top five favorite books & love stories. Thank you for creating this lovely world for every one!

  4. Kristie Cook says:

    Inga, I TOTALLY read to escape the real world. And write, too. LOL Seriously, a couple people, possibly well-meaning but I don’t know, have asked when I plan to write something “real” as in real-life. They really want me to write about my childhood, but I so don’t want to go there. I write what I do and read what I do for a reason – to escape!

  5. Kristie Cook says:

    Dawn, glad you’re getting back into reading. It really is a must for writers. I have American Gods on my TBR list, as well as some of Gaiman’s others. There’s just not enough time…

  6. Kristie Cook says:

    Heather, Wow, you have no idea how much your comment means to me. I’m so glad you loved the books and Alexis and Tristan. I’m just glowing right now. LOL And I know what you mean about de-stressing with a book. It’s like taking a mini-vacation. Thanks for reading!

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