Tag Archives: tsundoku

Tsundoku, My New Favorite Word

14 Sep

A teacher at my school sent me an email today using the word tsundoku to describe his reading habits.   It was a Japanese word I did not know nor heard before.  Which for me is unusual as I have had an affinity for Japanese words since my days in graduate school as the roommate to a Japanese exchange student.  (See blogs below.)

Of course, I had to look it up.  According to the Cambridge Dictionary tsundoku is “the practice of buying alot of books and keeping them in a pile because you intend to read them but have not done so yet; also used to refer to the pile itself.”

WOW.  How did the dictionary editors know about my secret?  Wait how do the Japanese know what I am doing?  I thought it was well hidden.  However, although I have those piles, I do eventually get around to reading all of the books piled on shelves and in a queue in my I Pad library.   I promise!!!

I will also admit that after getting onto BookBub, my online Tsundoku has increased.  Many days I just delete the email from BookBub to avoid adding more books to my online tsundoku collection.   I will also admit that sometimes I forget which books I have purchased, till I try to buy them again. Luckily Amazon sends me a note saying, you already own this book.  Thankfully they keep track.  When I cleaned out my house, I found several books I owned in duplicate and triplicate!

I have a book issue.   I thought I had released this when we moved 18 months ago.  I gave away thousands of books.  Not an exaggeration.   I really did.  (See blogs below.) I only moved about 1500 books to the new house.  I ended up purchasing four new bookcases, because the new house does not have built in bookcases.  So I took a deep breathe and told myself that my book buying days needed to end.  I made a promise to myself to go more frequently to the library and to stop buying as many books.  I could do this!!

But you all know, the libraries were closed for a long time.  And my so-called friend told me about BookBub.  She actually sent me an email telling me about it.  Putting in my face. That sometimes you could even get books for FREE!  Yes, you can!  And books for $1.99, $2.99, $4.99, and so on.  And if you like one of the free books, you can be drawn into a series and then need to pay to find out what happened.  Thanks friend!!!  You know who you are.

I do need to go to the library and not to Costco, where, when I am grocery shopping, I need to go past the tables filled with books. I inch around snooping at what is there.  Sometimes, I take a picture of the book.  I don’t buy it then.  I think if I come back next week and it is still there, I will get it.  But sometimes that does not work, I slowly walk around the store and return to the book table.  The book jumps into my cart by itself. I don’t notice till I go to checkout. And there it is still calling my name to join my tsundoku pile.

I have to be honest, now knowing the name of my syndrome, I feel much better.  But most of all, I can relate to the many others who share this same compulsion.  I always knew I was a bibliophile.  My love of books is well known.  For goodness sake, I was an English literature major in college. How much more booky can you be, unless of course a librarian.  I know them as well.  Some of my good friends and even relatives are librarians.  I just realized that they live a life surrounded by tsundoku piles. All those books to read piled up around them, calling them.  How do they get anything done?  I guess I need to ponder that as well.

Tsundoku is definitely my new favorite word.