I Googled the word binge this morning in preparation for this blog post and saw results for eating, drinking and now watching. Generally the word binge is associated with overdoing it. We all know people (maybe even ourselves) who overindulge their cravings and end up suffering for it. Recently the words binge watching have entered the popular lexicon primarily describing people who can now watch entire seasons of a television show all at one sitting as they stream them from some service like Netflix or Hulu. As one who has indulged in this new trend (yes the show 24 really is that addictive), I can say that it can also have some of the same negative and corrosive effects as binge eating or drinking though without the weight gain and/ or drunkenness. Nobody really likes being around the binge watcher who is “in the zone”.
This year, I want to start a new trend – binge reading. I have to confess that as an avid reader, I still have the same challenges as those that don’t read much at all. Things at work and in the family get busy; I choose other priorities and my book reading plans get backed up. The tell-tale signs usually show up as piles start developing on my bedside nightstand or even on the floor next to my bed. Large piles of good intentions and books that remain unread. Far too often, I get a stack of books from the library and return a large portion of them without having read much more that the introduction.
This month, I am committing myself to doing things differently. Why not start the New Year on a different foot? So here are some of my plans:
- Make a good selection of books that will truly edify and enlighten, not just entertain. Though reading books for entertainment is not all bad.
- Commit significant time each day to reading and reflecting, at least an hour.
- Choose not to indulge in other forms of entertainment and education like TV and Movies for the duration – or at least on a much reduced scale.
- Plan to deal forthrightly with my greatest time stealer – Social Media. Set regular times to check and respond and stay off it otherwise (I can feel my fingers shaking at the very thought)
- Include others in my bold plans so that we can enjoy the pleasure of reading together and even discussing what we are reading with each other. (I will be starting with my spouse)
If our culture can influence us to watch twenty hours of television in a row with no sleep, eat until we become obese and drink until we are no longer in control of ourselves, why not binge on something that actually might be helpful. The pendulum of entertainment and education in my life has swung far too much in the direction of digital media like movies, TV and the internet. It is time to take a break.
Why not consider joining me on this quest and we can do some binge reading together this January. Maybe we will actually finish some of the books that we start and learn something in the process. It is a great time to tackle a large biography or historical tome that we have been saying, “I have to read that”. While the weather is “frightful” outside, we can choose to “think on those things” as Philippians 4:8 says that are praiseworthy and excellent. There are so many wonderful books and authors to choose from – let’s get started.