It started with Nancy Drew. My father gave me that first book featuring the titian-haired sleuth and I had to read the next one and the next and the next until I had devoured all forty-two volumes (that’s all there were back then so now you know how old I am). Then Georgette Heyer satisfied my insatiable hunger. Thank goodness she wrote dozens of books!
I went through Dick Francis like a hot knife through butter and then salivated over each new release. I read seven J.D. Robb novels in two weeks while vacationing in the south of France (I love saying that; it sounds so jet-set. Of course, I had my husband, sister, brother-in-law, cousin, and five children with me.) Most recently, I went on a Lisa Kleypas binge, heading to Barnes and Noble, grabbing four of her books at a time off the shelf, and wolfing them down before scheduling the next trip to B and N.
I got to wondering what triggers these binges and whether other readers experience the same obsessive—but blessedly low calorie!--behavior.
Here’s my theory on the necessary conditions:
1) The author has to be a great storyteller.
2) The characters have to be so compelling that you can’t tear yourself away from their company.
3) The story has to suck you in so completely that you find the world of the book more real than the world surrounding you.
4) The author has to have a backlist of at least ten books either still in print or attainable from the local library.
5) You need to escape from your everyday life for a brief period. Or you simply have the time available to escape from your everyday life.
Are there any other binge readers out there? Have you got any ideas about what gets your obsession going? Most importantly, what authors do you binge on? (I’m always looking for new fodder.)