A Woman on the Edge: Are You a Reading Addict?

Picture a Bookaholic at the end of a day. She is wild-eyed and perhaps snappish. Her skirt is wrinkled and her makeup has worn off.  The mintue she  gets home she pops open a Diet Pepsi and plops down with a book.  It might be Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazelet Chronicles, it might be Marguerite Duras’ Wartime Diaries.  It doesn’t matter that much.  She will read Zane Grey in a pinch.   When her husband comes home, she barely greets him and he notes she is Woman is on the Edge of a Reading Breakdown!  “Will you get me a cup of tea?” she asks seraphically.  It is pseudo-seraphically:  she wants to be alone..  He gets her the tea and prays that after an hour she will be revived enough to make dinner, or at least go around the corner to the very slow Thai restaurant.

But we all have our different styles of bookishness.

Here is the definitive five-question quiz to determine if you are bookish, a literary intellectual, or a full-blown bookaholic.  I do not pretend to know all the answers. It’s like telling the future with an 8 ball.

I.  On your first date with your soulmate, you

  1. read the manuscript of his/her short story and believe it’s the most brilliant thing you’ve ever read.
  2. discuss the bizarre juxtaposition in the New York Times of a disparaging review of 75-year-old Isabel Allende’s latest novel with an obsequious interview with 84-year-old Philip Roth.
  3. go to a bookstore.

ANSWERS to all three.  You’re all three,  and if you chose 1 you’re also in love

II.  On your  vacation, you

  1. go to Paris and sit in a cafe writing poetry.  It’s probably the wrong cafe, but that makes no difference.
  2. hire a nanny so you can read without interruption in the attic like a mad woman.
  3. read Dorothy Parker and Dawn Powell so you can chat wittily at the Algonquin

ANSWERS to all three.  1-3 mean you’re all three, and if you chose 1 you’re also artistic

III.  Your house looks like

  1. a library
  2. a used bookstore
  3. a clean lovely house with a few tastefully-stocked bookcases

ANSWERS to all three.   1 or 2 means you’re all three, and if you answered 3 I don’t know you.

IV. What do you use as bookmarks?

  2. chewing gum wrappers, pencils, or  kleenex
  3. dogeared pages

ANSWERS TO ALL THREE.  If you answered 1, you’re all three.  If you answered 2 or 3, I can’t judge, because I don’t approve. and if there’s chocolate on your book I am quite irritated. Actually I’ve been there, done that, but am reformed.  Go to the library and pick up a scad of free bookmarks!

V.  What is your favorite book?

  1. What Is to Be Done? by N. G. Chernyshevksy
  2. Swann’s Way
  3. The Code of the Woosters by P. G. Wodehouse

I’m joking!  I don’t know what your favorite books are.  All favorite books are great .

Only one question left:  What is your fav0rite book really?

16 thoughts on “A Woman on the Edge: Are You a Reading Addict?

  1. I’m a reading addict, too. I’m also a crossword addict. I used to read toothpaste tubes in the bathroom and cereal boxes at breakfast if no other reading matter was at hand. If I don’t have a chance to read, I go into withdrawal and you do not want to be around me then! I’m currently trying to find time to read in my chaotic moving house chaos.
    My favorite books are Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. They always make me laugh and re-live the magic of reading them for the first time.


    • Oh, I hate moving. Yes, cereal boxes aren’t bad reading, but I’ve never read a toothpaste tube. Something new for me to read!

      On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 6:55 AM, mirabile dictu wrote:



      • I am working on my Spanish by reading the translated Lysol product packages at work. I will read anything! (it also helps in my other career as a semi-pro trivia player.)


  2. I think somewhere Susan Hill has published a quiz that aims to do the same thing but it had stupid statements in like ‘when you go shopping you always end up in a bookshop’ (why else would I go shopping?) or ‘you have got in trouble at work for reading fiction at your desk’ (I have never been silly enough to take a job that didn’t require me to spend time at my desk reading fiction). Put me in the bookaholic column.


    • Well, I must find the Susan Hill list. Reading fiction at the job would be perfect, so you are a Bookaholic.

      On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 12:02 PM, mirabile dictu wrote:



  3. I use paper clips to keep my place. Often I keep more than one place because i want to flip to the back of the book for notes or appendices. If I haven’t a paper clip handy, I use whatever slip of paper comes to hand — 3X5 index cards I keep on my desk and library tables. 1. Jim and I used to have good discussions of books together, looking at the text; we did go to bookstores together before we married. 3.My house may look like a library or used bookstore. I love it. Of the three the only one I’ve read is Swann’s Way. My house is my adventure inside it.

    My life is reading and writing and going to movies and lectures and plays and concerts and myself teaching. There is nothing better. For diversions I walk or spend time with a friend — but many are on the Net.


    • Paperclips do come in handy. Yes, with notes there is much flipping back and forth, and something has to mark the place.
      I do like your house! A library one wants to live in.


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