As I have little time to actually sit and read books anymore, I am "forced" into the world of audio books.
I say forced because I lack the time it takes to just sit and enjoy reading, but I really do enjoy audio books. I do a lot of driving and therefore have a lot of time to sit and listen to things, so why not a good book?
I recently found a book called The Elfish Gene by Mark Barrowcliff (an outstanding D&D surname btw). It's a recollection of the authors youth spent playing Dungeons & Dragons, from his discovery of the game through his teenage years and his eventual turning away from the game.
First, let me start by saying Mr. Barrowcliff is English and grew up in England so he uses local slang as you might guess, but for some inexplicable reason they got an American to read his book for the recording. This was a little unusual hearing him explain "football" to Americans spoken by an American. Also, the person reading kept mispronouncing words. He kept pronouncing breeches like "breeks".
Anyways, small annoyances.
The book overall was very interesting to a point. It was a very detailed recollection of his life growing up with little direction and the social awkwardness that being a young boy brings. He talks about his growing D&D obsession as if it was his best friend and it slowly begins to consume his entire life. I could relate to a lot of what he was saying as I can remember when I was 9 and first discovered the game that would be a major part of my life to this day.
Of course, he took it to further extremes than I ever did (LARPing and dabbling in the occult), but I could still relate to how he felt and thought about the game and how it can infiltrate your mind and you can spend hours every day thinking about it and reading about it and playing it. It almost scared me at points making me wonder if I was TOO obsessed, and maybe back then I was, but I always refer back to the old adage "everything in moderation". So long as you don't take any one thing to extremes, you should be ok. I don't think he ever realized that and sank deeper and deeper into the game.
I really enjoyed listening to the book. It brought back a lot of nostalgia and some good feelings about gaming that I long forgotten, but then he draws near the end and his attitude about gaming in general turns. He begins turning on games as a whole as if they were the cause of his problem. It almost started to sound like the old D&D protesters back in the 80's, implying that it is the cause of his obsession and lead him into other things like drugs and the occult. In fact, late in the book he even says "If you're older than 20 and still playing, you're an addict"
This I took offense at. Just because you enjoy something and enjoying doing it most of your life doesn't make you an addict. Being consumed with that "thing" and doing it to the exclusion of other "things" or even just your normal life, THAT is an addiction. My wife loves to drive and always has, does that make her a driving addict? If you go out once in a while and have drinks with your friends, does that make you an alcoholic? No, it doesn't.
I've been playing RPGs since I was 9, I'm 41 now and still playing. That doesn't make me an addict. Maybe if that's ALL I did. Maybe if I walked around in a cloak and talked like I was at the Ren Faire all the time and only talked about gaming regardless of the company I was in, but that's not moderation. I do love playing and doing stuff like creating games and adventures, but I certainly have a ton of other interests.
Overall, I liked the book quite a bit and would recommend it to others, but the last chapter left me with a sour taste in my mouth.