Confessions from a Bestseller Addict
by Glynda Joy Nord
        It's there. Lying peacefully on the coffee table where I had placed it an hour ago. Outwardly so innocent and so simple. Yet it's tempting me, again. Beckoning my return to a world I had just escaped. Yes, escaped! For at times, I feel like a prisoner. A prisoner captivated by words. But I must hold back. I need to finish my work before I can indulge once more into its pages.
         I look away from the book and focus on the notepad at my fingertips. "All right, you can do this. Complete two more things on your to-do-list and then you can read the next chapter," I tell myself out loud. I scroll down the list: wash dishes, do laundry, make bed, vacuum bedrooms, mop kitchen, and the list continues. 

        After I scan the columns, my eyes glance over at the coffee table. I study the novel for the tenth time since I put it down. It's a plain-covered hardback that features only the book's title and the author's name. However the story within its bound pages call to me. Such a foolish thing really. The words are not going anywhere. But still I have a tendency to grab the book. Now. 

       I continue to stare. I bite my lip in frustration. I could read one more chapter and still have time to tidy the house before my husband returns. My mind made up, I snatch the book and start to read. Soon one more chapter turns into two, and as the clock ticks, two chapters have become eight.

        Hi. My name is Joy Nord and  I am an addict. The drug of reading has made me a slave to adventure. I've become a time traveler in the Outlander series, visited my husband's Swedish kinsmen in The Girl Who Played With Fire series, and been bitten by vampires in the Twilight saga. 

        Yes, I am addicted to bestsellers. 

        My addiction started two years ago when I read Three Cups of Tea; Eat, Pray, Love; and Horse Soldiers. They were the first non-fiction that I read (other than self-help books) written like a novel. What great reading. I couldn't believe it!  Then I read two novels, The Kite Runner and  Water for Elephants.

        Without warning my reading interest changed. My love for paperback romance died. I had outgrown the passion, the beauty and, especially, the happily ever after.  Besides, in nearly all bestsellers, the main characters usually have some sort of sexual attraction or love interest, which doesn't always have a Cinderella ending. I still needed the shoot'em-up adventure in westerns and the facts of history, so in January 2010, I set monthly reading goals: two westerns, two historical, and one bestseller taken from the current New York Times  top 10 list. This totaled sixty books for the year. I met my goal but surpassed the number of bestsellers. Instead of reading twelve books, I read twenty. In fact, I read several books such as Roses, The Help, and Juliet before they even made the top 10 bestsellers lists.  

         I choose books from the Sunday edition of the Austin American-Statesman. I compared the National Best-Seller lists (fiction, nonfiction, and paperback fiction) to the Local Best-Seller lists (fiction, nonfiction, and children's and young adult books). If a book appeared on both lists for more than three weeks, then the book went on my "to buy" list. But, I had one stipulation. The author could not be a multi published novelist such as John Grisham, James Patterson or Tom Clancy. I wanted to read material by the newest authors, not those with an established readership. 

       My addiction escalated when I upgraded my membership at a local bookstore. I received coupons (up to 47 percent off a single item) twice a week via e-mail. So instead of purchasing just one book at the regular price, I could get two books for about the same amount of money. And my bestseller library began to grow––along with my addiction. 

       But all good things end sooner or later.

       My fixation to read started to interfere with family time, household duties, and even with my own writing projects. But it didn't stop me from venturing into someone else's world.  Finally, two things prompted a wake-up call to my addiction. In January, I was diagnosed with a severe case of carpal tunnel in my right wrist. Who would have thought that turning pages could cause such a thing! And in February 2011, at my weekly Bible Study Fellowship lecture, I realized that books had become an idol in my life. This was not acceptable. I was forced both physically and mentally to get my addiction under control. Since there isn't recovery program for BSS (Best Seller Syndrome), I had to devise my own treatment plan.

        First, I switched priorities and I do my domestic responsibilities such as housework and errands in the mornings. Second, I no longer go to my favorite bookstore three times a week. This turned out to be a blessing because my spending was as much out of control as my reading. And third, I've  restricted my reading to one-hundred pages per day, and only after 7:00 p.m. However, I do allow myself a few exceptions to the reading rule such as during potty breaks, while stuck in traffic or  waiting in the drive through line at McDonalds. I'm sure you avid readers can relate to my problem. 

        Though I have taken control of my addiction, I can honestly say I'm not showing any signs of recovery (I even read a romance last month). Besides, I can't chew gum or wear a patch to control this habit. After all, establishments like bookstores and libraries encourage such behavior. And I can't wait till my next fix––that is to read another bestseller. 


Copyright by  Glynda Joy Nord & Lone Star Ladies Press
Books I have read recently:
Sharp Objects  by Gillian Flynn (3 stars)
The Glory of the Crusades  by Steve Weidenkopf (4 stars)
Walking the Bible  by Bruce Feiler (4.5 stars)
A Spool of Blue Thread  by Anne Tyler (3 stars)
Redeeming Love  by Francine Rivers (5 stars)
A Protestant's Dilemma  by Devin Rose (5 stars)