Let’s say, hypothetically, a certain 21-year-old college junior got really bored last X-mas break.

Louie Meizlish

Really bored.

And while he had any number of internship applications to start chipping away at, and an ever-increasing pile of enriching, age-appropriate books at his fingertips (many of which he had been meaning to get at for months, others which had literally just been handed to him as gifts), let’s say he, on the advice of his 10-year-old cousin read four Harry Potter books in just under four and a half days (the cousin, a born enabler, loaned the books).

That’s 1837 pages of reading, which averages out to 408.222 per day.

That’s not really impressive, but keep in mind that our hypothetical friend has to struggle to complete even a portion of his required academic reading load when classes are in session. Rarely has this kid, who, by the way, doesn’t necessarily exist, ever devote himself with this much gusto to reading for pleasure or school or, well, to anything at all. He could be, in fact, writing a long ago promised column well after his deadline right at this very moment.

While you should keep that old not-believing everything-you-read-in-newspapers mantra in mind right now, this imaginary kid obviously has a problem.

Not that he holds any fundamentalist grudges against J.K. Rowling for spreading Satanism or that he really thinks he’s above reading a children’s book (as Huck Finn author Mark Twain once pointed out, a good children’s book should appeal “to a boy and anyone who has ever been a boy”).

It seems reasonable that somebody could enjoy a bit of junk food after a healthy diet, but what our likely non-existent college boy is doing amounts to gorging himself.

He must force himself to read the books half because he wants no one to see him carrying a Harry Potter book (perhaps fear of a nerd stigma or fear that hardcore fans will approach and try to befriend him and invite him to play D&D all night) and because he is legitimately addicted (i.e. despite himself cares about H.P., Ron and Hermione).

And purely for the sake of argument, let’s all try very hard to imagine that this guy might have pre-ordered a copy of the brand new “Order of the Phoenix” many months ago, read the nearly 900-page book as soon as it hit his doorstep with the same rapid pace as the other books, but refused to write a proper review of the book for the student newspaper he works at for fear that his peers might hear of it.

I need help.

Serilla can be reached at sserilla@umich.edu.

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