One thing probably everyone who has ever known me has probably noticed is that I operate in extremes. I'm either doing something way too much or not nearly enough; I'm either giving it my all or putting forth as little effort as possible; if I know about it, I either adore it or intensely despise it. It's always been hard for me to do things in moderation, and attempts to get me to do so when I was younger were often met with an angry, defiant response. Yes, my regularly mentioned obsessions with shows, celebrities, computer/video games, etc., are all part of that. Still, there's something else that I have been doing in serious excess for about two years, and I either need to keep it to a minimum or just end it entirely. Is it sinful? No, and it wouldn't be a problem if it didn't smack of an addiction. What is it? I can only think of one way to describe it: Reading "girly" books.
Here's how it all started: Over the past few years, I've had a personal rule that I alternate the genres of books I read: one that's science fiction/fantasy, and one that doesn't fall into that category. The latter could be anything from an action/adventure novel to historical fiction to a mystery to a legal thriller, and, up until summer of 2009, it usually was one or more of them. However, what changed everything two years ago was finding a Christian novel called Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson. The cover even said it was the premiere novel in a series called Weddings by Bella, which would send most guys--normally including me--running the other way. Nonetheless, there was something about that book that just made me want to read it, and the hilarious beginning took away all the thoughts of, "Why am I reading this?" I went on to read the entire trilogy, and even got other novels by Mrs. Thompson, many of which also were nuptial-themed.
As the months went by, I discovered other female-oriented books and book series, usually under the banner of Christian fiction. Even over the past year, I've been reading novels intended for teenage girls, and, no, they weren't sci-fi/fantasy! While that's been going on, many of my non-"girly", non-sci-fi, non-fantasy books have sat on my shelf, barely even being touched other than to be rearranged to make room for other books that do fit into one or more of those categories. Although I've still kept that aforementioned, genre-alternating rule in place, it's practically turned into: One sci-fi/fantasy novel and one "girly" novel. Reading such literature would be great in moderation, but to do it in excess is quite the problem.
What I wonder is: How do I stop it? I don't want to give up on experiencing such novels completely; as long as I like it and it isn't causing me to sin, what's wrong with it? I'd like to think it would be easier to curb now that I've officially finished the young adult twelve-novel Sierra Jensen series, which I've been working through since February; yet, there are plenty of other similarly-themed books out there, including at yard sales. Even some of the novels that might seem "girly" aren't when you actually read them; the first three novels in Karen Kingsbury's Bailey Flanigan tetralogy each devote several chapters to the thoughts, experiences, and actions of Cody Coleman, a male character and romantic interest of the title character who was introduced in Kingsbury's previous works. (That may sound weird, but think about Lizzie McGuire; remember how much time was spent showcasing her little brother Matt's zany adventures, which usually had little to do with Lizzie's tween issues?) Previous attempts to ditch other addictions have always proved futile; I hope this one won't, but I'd like to know what you think.