So what about you? Are you a nibbler or a devourer? Or does it depend? And what's the worse thing you've blown off for the sake of a book?"
You are totally preaching to the choir here! I've been jealous of my mother for a long time because she can read right before bed and put herself to sleep with it. If I try to read before bed, I end up finishing the book. The first time I noticed it happening was with Ender's Game in college. I picked it up, just going to give it a shot, around 10 or so, and then suddenly it was 3 am and I was finishing it. Afterwards, of course, I was still wired.
I really do appreciate the fact that I'm a fast reader. If I'm into a book, I can speed through it, gulping each page in hardly any time at all. If it's a book I've read before, but adore, I can reach speeds of 30s per page (I am not a speed-reader or any of that sort of thing). But I am also someone who likes to have my lights out around 11:30. If I don't get enough sleep I can be cranky and non-functional, so this is a real danger for me.
For a while I assumed fanfiction could be a solution. It was usually shorter than a book, and often predictable enough that I could tell myself to stop and actually stop.
Unsurprisingly, this failed utterly. One night I had started reading a fic, knowing that it was a series, but assuming that the series was finite. I read and I read. When was I going to get to a stopping place? I wondered, but there were so many balls still up in the air, so I plunged onward. I plunged and plunged until, to my surprise, I heard birds chirping outside my window. Morning had come.
It was only a month or so later when I was reading Fingersmith. It was a bit after 3 when I hit the middle, and the unbelievable twist. But I had learned from my mistake. Shocked and frantic to read on, I put my bookmark in, closed the book, and went to sleep.
I can't say I never slipped up again, because oh yes, I have. But the only all-nighter I pulled in college had nothing to do with schoolwork. I sometimes wish that i could pace myself, and come back to a story again and again. But to some extent I'm glad that I devour books and that they excite me enough to keep me awake. Having a bout of insomnia a few weeks ago, I said, no, I'm not going to get angry at myself for this. I can't sleep, but if I don't sleep I won't be able to write tomorrow, and I'll have wasted so much time. So i turned the light on, and got out the Doomsday Book. I was halfway through the 600pp tome, and plunged on. At 3:45 I finished it, and was asleep by 4. (Yes, the next day was shot, but I felt accomplished. I had finished that book, and it was awesome.)