I have been seeing the word Tsundoku bouncing around on the internet a lot lately. Some book people are in love with this “new” word. Apparently the word is used to describe the action of buying reading materials followed by letting them pile up and never reading them. This activity has been talked about for much longer as book hoarding. Nasty thing. Hoarding. This word is better. Obviously.
Except….never reading them? Never? I mean, we have all purchased something a friend has recommended, tried it, subsequently hated it and then sent it back into the literary recycling world. Or, and I have done this more than one, purchased a “must read” book – be it a hoity toity must read (Tolstoy) or a seasonal must read (beach books) – and had buyers remorse. But, to collect beautiful books and never read them? I don’t understand.
What I can completely understand is purchasing more books than you have room to properly store them. I can further completely accept that sometimes you buy a book on a whim and either (1) do not get around to reading it right away (because the library just let you know a new stack of books was ready for pick up!) or (2) because you just cannot get into the book. These things happen!
For example. I have always had books. I have almost always had more books than I have had proper shelves to put them on. Recently, I achieved a DIY dream of installing IKEA bookshelves all along one wall in my lovely house. Ignore the books stacked in the chair waiting to be shelved and the ukulele. If I waited until I cleaned this post would never happen. Ever.
How nice are these shelves?!? This is a Pinterest dream come true for me. Plus, all my best book friends have a nice home (the ones on the chair and coffee table are in time-out.) Now, I have promised myself that if the books cannot fit onto the shelves then they need a new home. This is a lie. IKEA will let me buy more shelves. But, I’m trying.
Back to the original point. See those shelves all the way to the left?
Here. I took a close up shot for clarity.
Those five shelves of books are all To-Be-Read. These are books that I could not resist at a Half Priced Books (someone else might get to them first!!!), out of a little free library, as gifts or even from people who were kind enough to just give them to me for no reason at all when they were finished reading. I will eventually read all of these books.
So, I’m not a book hoarder. I do not suffer from Tsunduko. I’m a book lover and an avid reader. Sometimes people visit and they say things like, “Wow, that is a LOT of books.” These people think I’m just a pack rat for books. Other times, people come over and lovingly open each shelf and admire all of my beautiful books. These people understand. It’s just for the love of books.