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The Potential Dangers Of Reading Too Much

Updated on October 23, 2008

I love to read.

Honestly, if you were to look up bibliomaniac in the dictionary, you'd see my picture. Enough said right there. Being the complete book nerd that I am, I know just how dangerous reading can actually be.

You don't believe me, do you?

Fine, then I'll just have to prove to you the risks and problems that come along with excessive reading. Be warned, there are real-life experiences and interesting facts within this hub, so if you'd rather go and check out something more serious and possibly more scientific, I suggest you close this window and find yourself another hub.

You're still here? All right, you asked for it...

Here it is, folks: the potential dangers of reading too much!

Hey, the eye test thing actually says something! I guess it's some book. I'm not entirely sure, I just got it from Google Images by typing in Eyesight. ... We don't ask questions, we just work here...
Hey, the eye test thing actually says something! I guess it's some book. I'm not entirely sure, I just got it from Google Images by typing in Eyesight. ... We don't ask questions, we just work here...

Potential Danger #1: Eyesight

Generally, most people read with their books about a foot away from their eyes. This isn't a big deal, right? It's easier to see the words, and it gives you that sense of being in your own world with the story, since you can't really see your surroundings.

It is a big deal.

The dilemma that comes with reading, especially with excessive reading for long periods of time, is that your eyes adjust to the nearness of your book. When you go to look away, anything farther than that one foot your eyes have grown accustom to will look blurry. Depending on how long you've been sitting with your butt on the couch and your nose in the pages, the blurriness can vary from slight to severe. I've had times where I literally could not see anything except giant blobs of color past that one foot radius.

Not only is this seriously annoying when you're trying to look at the clock on the wall 7 feet away, but if your eyes grow used to this little bubble of vision for too long, it will begin to permanently damage your eyesight, causing nearsightedness. Why do you people think I have glasses? They're not just to make my face look pretty. I don't need help with that. :-P

Okay, so, that was a joke; but you get my drift, don't you?

In order to keep your eyeballs from going haywire on you and costing you quite a bundle at the optometrist's, look up from your book every so often. Time doesn't matter too much. Try looking up at something far away in-between chapters. Are you a slow reader? Then consider setting yourself a timer on your cell phone, microwave, or wristwatch. Start with every half hour. That's a decent amount of time between glances. As long as you remember to follow this routine, you won't be stuck with specks like me. And seriously, who wants to be like me?

Potential Danger #2: Hearing

Now, if you don't have a problem hearing while reading, you may skip this section if you wish. But if you're one of those people who gets so engrossed in the story your nose is stuck in, they can't hear anything anybody's saying to them, you might just want to pay attention.

Being the huge nerd that I am, I get so into my books that I can't hear a single thing outside of my little bubble of conscious reality. Meaning, someone could be telling me that they're going to slit my throat and take my purse, and I might be able to catch the purse part of the sentence, but that's about it. I'll have glanced up, said that ever-verbose sentence of, "Huh? What? Were you saying something?" and by then I would be deader than a doornail. Not that doornails were ever alive or anything...

My mom has THE WORST habit of trying to tell me things while I'm reading. She'll give me a list of chores, or tell me where she's going for the day, or ask me to do something for her. The best answer she's ever received was, "Uhhhhuhhhh... Uhhhhuhhhh... Yeah... Okay... Uhhhhuhhhhh..." Come on, I'm much more talkative than that! Like I'd honestly speak like some zombified Kika for any reason? No way, José. But alas, she always thinks I'm actually listening to her. It's slightly amusing, until she gets really mad at me for not doing what she told me to do or some trivial thing like that.

Anyway, a good way to avoid this problem is to quickly close your book the minute you hear another person speaking. Whether it's toward you (as if you can hear your name out of that jarble of jargon) or another person, this will eliminate the possibility of you missing out on what could be important information you'll really want to know later. Of course, when you close your book, you should always put a bookmark in place. Don't dog-ear your pages; it's soooooo bad for your precious book! And I would cry! :'( If you don't have a bookmark, use your finger to hold your spot. It might get a little sore, but it's better than losing your place or (heaven forbid!) dog-earing the page you're on.

Potential Danger #3: Time

Time flies when you're having fun, and for us bookworms, it flies like crazy when we read. Sometimes we don't notice the time slipping away. Of course, when the sun goes down and we have to turn a light on, we notice. But by then, we may have missed our favorite TV show (House!) or valuable homework time we should've spent studying.

Luckily, I don't need to study, but for those who do... Yeah, you're gonna have trouble on that History test tomorrow.

What about meetings or appointments? Did you remember them? Did you miss them because you were reading? I sure hope they weren't important. Even with watches and cell phones that tell us the time, if we're too busy in our storyline, we're not going to glance up or down to check the time. Heck no, our story is much more important than the clock!

To alleviate the problems time throw at us, set timers for when you need to be leaving the house or place you're in. Gotta be at work at 4:30 pm? Set a timer for 4:00 pm. That gives you enough time to put a bookmark in your book, get ready for work, and quick get your butt out the door. Have some homework you need to finish before bedtime? Work on it before you read, and you won't have to worry about the time. At least, not until you have to go to sleep.

Another great idea is to give yourself a full day dedicated to reading. One day out of the week where you don't work on homework or have any plans is just the right amount. Sure, you'll be vying for the next sequence in the story, but this way, you won't fret over deadlines and missed appointments. And your friends won't get cranky at you for forgetting about them.

Potential Danger #4: Sore Muscles

When you read, you don't move a whole lot, do you? No, you sit in your favorite chair, maybe curl under a nice, warm blanket, and vegetate for hours upon hours on end. Then, when you've decided to get up and maybe catch some breakfast (at 6:00 pm...), you have to stretch for about 10 minutes because your body's so used to being in one position for so long.

The problem with sitting still for long periods of time is that your muscles and joints lock in the position they're placed. They're not being used, so they have no reason to stay limber. Once they are moved, they protest like mad because they've become so used to being in one place for so long. "Oh, no, no, no! I don't want to help you stand up! I was so content just falling asleep, why must you torture me so?"

... Well, muscles can't actually speak, but if they could, I'm sure they'd be saying something like that.

Get up between chapters and stretch for a good 3-5 minutes. Make sure to strech all your muscles, especially your neck and back, but also your upper legs and knees. Your arms are already being used to turn the pages. Okay, your hands are turning the pages, but it takes several muscles coordinating together to perform this simple action, so your arms should be okay. If you need to, stretch them as well. You don't have to go all yoga guru on us, just simple stretches will do. What you want to do is reps of 3 or 4, 6 seconds per rep. This should provide just enough stretching to keep you loosey-goosey and in as little pain as possible once you decide to get up and do something else.

Potential Danger #5: Stuff Around You

Reading and walking. Yeah. That right there should be enough to get anyone giggling/chuckling a little. Reading and walking is great and all, but it seriously sucks major monkey nuts when you run into things.

Like doors and chairs and tables and other people...

This used to be the only way I could get through the hallways at school. I couldn't stand all the noise and stupidity coming from my fellow classmates, so I'd traverse the halls without a care in the world, my face burried so deep within a book, I'm surprised I was never seriously injured. Especially with those dang stairs...

There was this one time I was walking along during passing time (8 minute periods between classes so we could get from one side of the building to the other) down the most crowded hallway in the building. Ah, how I don't miss the checkerboard hallway... For the most part, it was considered Freshman Hall, but there weren't a lot of freshmen lockers in there, so we mostly called it the checkerboard hallway. It was the most dangerous hallway in school. It's very narrow, with a crap-ton of foot (and wheel) traffic, most of it coming from the Special Ed. hall and the rest from the industrial rooms and english wing. In an attempt to avoid the possibility of human conversing, I had my nose in my book and was happily walking with the ginormous crowd I was stuck inside when I started to faintly notice I was being pushed toward the outer edge of the herd. Not thinking much of it, I continued my reading/walking endeavor when suddenly something brown was flying right at my face, and before I could stop, look up from my book, and blink, BAM! I fell flat on my back. I was attacked by a door, with a little freshman girl behind it crying out apologies when she realized the err of her ways (meaning, she noticed people laughing and stopped to see what was so funny).

Thankfully, the only injury I sustained was a little pumpnut (bump) on my head that was easily fixed with a bag of ice. But I learned my lesson quickly. From then on, I just carried my current book with me, instead of reading and walking at the same time. Ah, if only I had space to tell you my other reading/doing something else stories...

Tada! Five beautifully written capsules made by yours truly! Yes, I have a humongous ego when it comes to my writing, but these are serious risks that should be seriously considered when you decide to bury your mind in the deliciously addictive pages of a book. I hope this hub has given you some insight, and possibly some easy to follow tips, on the potential dangers of reading too much. May your books always pwn, and your selection grow ever expansive!

Also, feel free to share your own personal stories or favorite books for everyone else to read! Thanks for checking this out!

Not much for variety this time, but you might like these. :)


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    • Happymommy2520 profile image


      3 years ago from East Coast

      This is a really cute hub. I like your funny writing style. I believe that time spent reading rather than on social media better utilized.

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      I'm glad to find that none of the "dangers" in the list is innocuous, at least to me. I was expecting something like "brain damage" or such, but then I was just naïve. After all, weren't all geniuses, well, most of them, book nerds? lol

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I have a 10 year old student who fits your descriptions to a "T." She cannot hear a thing when she's engrossed in her books, and she sacrifices all else to read. She's also totally oblivious to time. I would hate to take the books away, but it's interfering with her success in all other academic areas and she's a really bright kid. Any advice?

    • profile image

      joanne chau 

      9 years ago

      my son reads so fast and he's only 10.

      I sometimes have to probit him from holding a book when walking or he will read and walking into anything that infront of him>

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      great hub kika..well i aint gonna lie cos u scared me with that getting shortsighted but i think i have learnt but dnt seem to sit down to read 4 too long.and i so hate having that weird or is it just me?

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      great hub kika..well i aint gonna lie cos u scared me with that getting shortsighted but i think i have learnt but dnt seem to sit down to read 4 too long.and i so hate having that weird or is it just me?

    • jayb23 profile image


      10 years ago from India

      Great hub and informative too, but inspite of the shortcomings, reading is my all time favourite hobby. Cheers

    • Lgali profile image


      10 years ago

      very informative hub I think excess of everything is bad

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      Some do get nauseous. It's kind of a subcategory of motion sickness. If I read for too long in a car, I get dizzy and end up with a throbbing headache, but I don't get queasy.

    • sunforged profile image


      11 years ago from

      One that could be added- People think Im superhuman because I read in the car (not while driving) ,apparently some get queasy as a result?

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      11 years ago

      Gosh...there are others like me out there! :P

    • Kika Rose profile imageAUTHOR

      Kika Rose 

      11 years ago from Minnesota

      Misty: Yeah, I had that problem when I was a kid, too. I still have that problem... ^_^; Ah well!

      Spryte: Dude! Oh Em Gee, why didn't I think of that? Then again, I've never had that problem. I know better than to go about reading a book in the bathtub... The risks are just too great, and it seriously freaks me out that there would ever be a chance that I could possibly damage one of my precious books. o.o

      *follows up with the secret bibliomaniac two-step, then hands Spryte a top Biblio-Poobah decoder ring* ;) Use it wisely, my friend! xD

    • spryte profile image


      11 years ago from Arizona, USA

      Great hub Kika! You missed one though...the danger of soggy books. It's when you read in the bathtub and it accidentally gets wet by falling in or you set it down on your chest for a moment and it sucks up all the moisture. :)

      Otherwise...I have the bruises from walking and reading too. :)

      *gives you the secret bibliomaniac handshake and moves on to the next chapter*

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      11 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I used to read about 3 books per day as a child, often by torchlight under the bedclothes. I simply couldn't put a book down until I had finished it. My Mum despaired of me on holidays in North Wales, because as we were driving about the beautiful mountain passes, instead of gazing out the window marvelling at the scenery, I would have my nose bured in a book in the back seat. Don't seem to get much time for reading thesedays apart from Hubs :)

    • Trekkiemelissa profile image


      11 years ago from Illinois

      Oh my.  I was a bookworm as a kid.  I never ever thought of walking and reading at the same time, but then again I was never that coordinated :P  I already had bad eyesight, so how much more worse can it be? Great Hub!!!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Once as I was reading my paper I nearly walked into a professor.  This was just plain embarrassing, so after that day I decided I was not coordinated enough to read and walk at the same time.


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