January 20, 2018

Confessions of a Binge Reader by Rick Gustafson

Rick GustafsonHello, my name is Rick, and I’m a binge reader. It has been nine months since I last binged on a book series, and in that time, I have strived to diversify my reading list. I’m pretty sure my wife had always suspected me of binge reading despite my best efforts to hide the overloaded boxes arriving weekly from Amazon. She couldn’t help but notice the ever growing stacks of books by Patterson, Sanford, and Parker on the floor in front of our already overcrowded bookshelves.

I might have gotten away with it for a little longer by borrowing books from the library, but by then things were so bad, I needed to have the next book in a series close at hand and couldn’t risk being placed on the Library’s waiting list. The bottom came when I found myself eying the unread stack rather than focusing on the reading at hand.

My salvation came one April at Left Coast Crime. I found myself surrounded by other writers and seriously deficient in my knowledge of thriller and mystery titles. These writers showed me the path to recovery, opening my eyes to new possibilities, to a new life, to new authors within and without of my own genre. The long slow climb to recovery began.

One never fully recovers from binge reading, but I am hopeful that I can live a long, full reading life even in the company of my “dark passenger” (yes, I’m a binge series watcher too thanks to Netflix). I still spend more time reading than I do writing, so at any given time, I have six books tented throughout the house, their spines straining under the pressure. They haven’t come up with a name for leaving half-finished books lying around yet, but I hope I can find a support group when they do.

Rick Gustaftson teaches Fast Track to Great Writing. Fast Track to Great Writing