What happened to binge reading?

When you hear the word “binge,” do you think of Netflix? Of binge-watching a series for hours and hours? I know someone who’s watched every episode of Friends TWICE. There are 236 episodes, almost 20 days of 24/7 viewing. That’s a lot of non-participative hours glued to a TV screen.

Several friends on social media have asked for binge-watching recommendations during our shelter-in-place restrictions. But, not once, have I seen a post from someone asking for reading recommendations.

I can lose myself in a good book for hours. Reading has kept me sane during these last few anxiety-ridden months.

Have we lost the art of binge-reading with our easy access to streaming video? It’s so convenient to carry around the equivalent of a television in our back pocket. Awesome, right?

Not so much.

I remember binge-reading Nancy Drew mysteries for hours on end in my early teens. When I made my way through the entire series, I started on the Hardy Boys, then Trixie Belden. I’d lose myself for hours in their worlds.

Scientists have proven that heavy dependency on electric screens has shortened our attention spans. This has led to the inability to remember things or to plan well. School guidance counselors warn that many students lack the social skills to speak one-on-one with college admissions personnel.

Maryanne Wolf, author of Reader Come Home, points out that reading for an extended period of time promotes quality attention spans. The demands of reading printed words sequentially in sentences and paragraphs challenge the reader to think, rather than simply watch.

During this period of self isolation, I’ve binged-read a couple YA speculative series I’m happy to recommend. Both are about the discovery of angels. Guess my inner psyche is ready for angels to appear and get us out of this coronavirus mess.

  • The Kingdom Come series by Cecelia Earl
  • The Threshold series by Christa Kinde

Let’s put down the TV remote and pick up a book. Let’s put binge-reading before binge-watching. Have you binge-read anything you’d like to recommend?