My name is Melissa, and I am addicted to book crack. I wasn’t born this way, but years of illiterate, adolescent ridicule and ready access to cheap hits breeds unspeakable urges. They start you off in middle school with the gateway book drug – Little Women. Sure, you just start dabbling in a bit of nineteenth century, coming-of-age tales. I mean, what’s wrong with a little Jo or Meg every now and then, and maybe even a modest hit of Amy on the side? But then, before you know it – BAM! – you’ve collapsed on the floor after inhaling all 724 pages of Little Men and Jo’s Boys in under a week. Pretty soon, single novels aren’t enough, and you’re dealing in hard core serial fiction – not just the fleeting two or three book highs – the thirty book fantasy series as yet uncompleted by authors with terminal diseases and fifty-three unresolved plot lines.
Book crack addiction is an oft-overlooked and under-diagnosed disease afflicting the silent, bespectacled masses. Recognizing the symptoms of the condition may not lead to a cure, but it may provide healing for loved ones to recognize the reason for a person’s seemingly erratic behavior. Book crack does not differ from other popular illicit drugs, and addiction can be readily diagnosed by recognizing the following warning signs:
- Addicts experience a profound euphoria when engaged in book crack inhalation (known on the street as “readin’ the rainbow”). The reason for the act, as with any illicit substance, is escapism, and subjects may believe themselves to be riding upon the back of a talking dragon, battling the dark forces of Mordor, or awaiting the proposal of Mr. Darcy. Depending upon the manner in which the book crack is dispensed, readers may believe themselves to be all-powerful, godlike beings with the ability to read all minds and know all things (known on the street as “third person omniscience”).
- Due to the all-consuming nature of the addiction, individuals will exhibit starvation tendencies and negligence of sleep. Readers experience detachment from all things unrelated to book crack consumption, resulting in a loss of interest in family, work, household responsibilities, and hygiene maintenance. Most often, even placement of food near the subject will do nothing to combat the refusal of nourishment, as one hand must constantly prop open and administer the drug, and the opposite hand must be kept free to alternately turn pages and smack spouses that interrupt an integral dialogue sequence.
- Exacerbated by malnutrition and lack of adequate rest, addicts manifest an inability to focus and complete disengagement from reality. Vivid dreams and delusions may cause them to speak in High-Elven or refer to loved ones in constantly evolving Russian diminutives (most commonly Dima, Mitya, Dimka, Dimushka, Dimechka, Mityushka, Mityenka or Alyosha, Alyoshka, Alyoshenka, Alyoshechka, Alexeichik, Lyosha, Lyoshenka).
- Addicts are constantly seeking their next high, leading to a co-dependent relationship with their dealer. Librarians are hard core “playas” well-versed in melodramatic gothic plot contrivances, and thus the general public should avoid unnecessary provocation of their kind.
- Often driven to desperation, addicts suffer from intermittent bouts of shame, such as when one stoops to the cheap thrills of a Twilight high. Like substituting meth for cocaine, while cheaper, the compromise comes with a cost – in this case, street cred, as one now finds they have something in common with a disturbing quantity of emo tween girls across the nation. However, given the choice between the public shame of reveling in angsty teenage vampire love and the profound depression of withdrawal, addicts will risk exposure unhesitatingly.
Recognizing the signs of book crack addiction is the first step towards accepting you or your loved one has a terminal disease that can only be cured by death. On that note, if any of you know somebody, I have a…friend willing to negotiate a generous sum for something serial harkening to the Victorian canon with a postmodern edge. And if a couple of vampires should happen to be thrown in on the down low, a little something extra might be arranged.