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Diary of a Binge Reader

by Beth Cranford

Hi, my name is Beth and I am about to make a statement that, in this age of streaming services and endless lockdowns, is probably somewhat unrelatable.


I have never binge-watched a TV show.


Now, now, before you give me a side-eye I won’t recover from, let me explain. I have watched every episode of several TV shows, I’ve just never sat down and watched hour after hour of a show until suddenly an entire weekend has passed, and I’m covered in food crumbs and regret. I’m not sure if that makes me superhuman or super weird (or something in between) but I do know that, despite my lack of TV-related binging, I have done the book equivalent — binge reading. As a matter of fact, I’ve just come out a Book Binge, and these past few days are a haze. Allow me to set the scene…

It’s Sunday evening, and I’m cracking open an ARC I was sent and hadn’t yet had a chance to read. The book, Dirty Talker by Mira Lyn Kelly, was set to release the very next day, and I was annoyed with myself for not getting to it sooner — I take reading and reviewing very seriously — and hoped I’d be able to finish it within a reasonable timeframe. You know, squeezing in a chapter here and a chapter there between life.

Before you ask, yes, my desk looks exactly like this. Artsy, neat, and with artisan coffee and macarons on hand at all times.

Guys, “a chapter here and a chapter there” became a race to finish. Like, staying up until after midnight because I couldn’t stop reading. Waking up an hour before my alarm was set to go off and grabbing my Kindle from the bedside table instead of rolling over and going back to sleep. Pretty soon, I was finished — and head over heels for Wade and Harlow. (Check out my Book+Main contributor page; I left some thoughts there when I finished.) Normally, when I finish a book, I’m good about moving on. I have kids, a job, dogs, and a mess of a house that need my attention after all. But not this time.

No, this time I madly visited Amazon to grab the first book in the series—Dirty Talker being book four in a series of interconnect standalones — except when I was there, I had a moment of clarity. I didn’t need to buy book one. I needed to buy all the books available. *Ahem* Including the one on preorder for September. (September, where for art thou? I need you to come quickly, please!)

That moment of clarity was my last for several days. Dirty Secret was up first, and though I thought no one would top Wade’s dirty mouth and soft, gooey center, I was excited for Vaughn and Natalie. When I say Vaughn is grumpy, I mean GRUMPY in all shouty caps, and oof, there went Monday’s to-do list down the drain. Okay, okay, that’s fine, I’m fine, I told myself, secure in the knowledge that for all my failings, I am mostly a responsible person and once I’d finished Dirty Secret, I’d be able to pick up my life where I left it Sunday night. Except…

“I’VE NEVER SAT DOWN AND WATCHED HOUR AFTER HOUR OF A SHOW UNTIL SUDDENLY AN ENTIRE WEEKEND HAS PASSED, AND I’M COVERED IN FOOD CRUMBS AND REGRET.”

Quinn and George happened. Reformed playboy and the girl who can’t stand him on sight? Sorry, Tuesday, you’re all booked up. (Also sorry to my husband who tried to ask me a question when I was about 89% through Dirty Hookup and I snapped at him ‘shut up, I need to know how this ends.’ Whoopsie.) And look, I know what you’re thinking: woman, get over it. Just set the book down and make those graphics you promised to make. Answer those emails in your inbox with questions about books and schedules and formatting. Eat something other than flavorless corn crackers, and dark chocolate Hershey kisses, my favorite reading snack. Go outside and get some sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs.


Nope, sorry, can’t. Rux and Cammy have been using their roles as secondary characters who seem unusually close to suck me in and now, now I need to read Dirty Rebound because friends-to-lovers is one of those romance tropes I cannot deny myself. I need it. To me, that is fresh air. Hyperbole aside, I couldn’t resist. I’d already bought it and my much-loved Kindle gave me the option to open Dirty Rebound right up and get on with this book binge that snuck up on me. It’s the last book for now, I reasoned. September is months away; you’ll finish this one and get back on track.

“SORRY TO MY HUSBAND WHO TRIED TO ASK ME A QUESTION WHEN I WAS ABOUT 89% THROUGH DIRTY HOOKUP AND I SNAPPED AT HIM ‘SHUT UP, I NEED TO KNOW HOW THIS ENDS.’ WHOOPSIE.”

I lied. I’m a liar. Because although Dirty Rebound was the last book in the series I’d yet to read, it wasn’t the last book. I reached the end and finally had another moment of clarity. Except it was clarity in the midst of a binge-reading session of epic proportions, so maybe it can’t really be called clarity. Perhaps you can guess what happened next…


If you said, “re-read Dirty Talker,” you nailed it. Now I knew more about the players, I wanted to see if it changed how I read (and loved) the book that started it all. The book that is ultimately responsible for the stack of dishes in my sink and the bags under my eyes from staying up too late and getting up too early and the fact my kids can’t remember what I look like. But hey, on the bright side, four days after I started Dirty Talker, I finished it within a reasonable timeframe, so that’s good… Right?


I’ve had some memorable book-binges over the years — and, if you’re anything like me, you have too. So, my question is this: what’s the last book that took you down the rabbit hole that is binge-reading? Please share with me. I need to know I’m not alone.

BINGE READ THE SLAYERS HOCKEY SERIES—

PSST!

Am I the only Book+Main team member who’s been swept away by a book series? Um, no, of course not! Check back next week to see what Donna has to say about her own binge-reading experience!

About Beth

Beth Cranford was born and raised in Australia, but followed her heart (and her husband) to the United States in her late 20s. As the mother of two kids, she’s learned that you can turn anything into a song and that slime does not belong in carpeted areas (or polite society). You can most often find her with her Kindle in hand, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, or spending way too many hours playing Animal Crossing.

Follow her @BethCranford on B+M Bites.

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4 Replies to “Diary of a Binge Reader”

Holly Ubrig says:

I was going to say the same thing! Kristen Ashley!! It also happened when I discovered Lani Lynn Vale and there are so many connected books and series! I was in binge heaven!!

Happy reading!
Holly

Beth Cranford says:

Oooh, Lani Lynn Vale just had a new release, I believe. So I guess we’ll see you on the other side!

Eleanor says:

Hah! I blame any series by Kristen Ashley for my dusty house and dirty dishes!

Beth Cranford says:

She has a lot to answer for, Kristen Ashley! I’m sure you’re not the only one who’s lost track of time with one of her many amazing series! But hey, totally worth it, right?

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