Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), "Writers and Readers," Complete Essays
, Vol. IV: 1936-1938
(Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001), pp. 5-29 (at 5-6):
To a considerable extent reading has become, for almost all of us, an addiction, like cigarette-smoking.
We read, most of the time, not because we wish to instruct ourselves, not because we long to have our feelings touched and our imagination fired, but because reading is one of our bad habits, because we suffer when we have time to spare and no printed matter with which to plug the void. Deprived of their newspaper or a novel, reading-addicts will fall back on cookery books, on the literature that is wrapped round bottles and patent medicines, on those instructions for keeping the contents crisp which are printed on the outside of boxes of breakfast cereals. On anything.