Tsun: to pile up
Tsundoku: the piling up of reading things
I know people who have wardrobes full of beautiful clothes, kitchens stocked with polished cookware, living rooms decked out in elegant, matching furniture and artwork. In their tidy closets they have racks lined with rows of exquisite shoes, just the right ones for every occasion. As much as I might like to have these things, that’s not what’s in my home. Nope. In my home I have bookshelves groaning under stacks of books. More books than I’ll ever get around to reading. Dusty books. New books. Old books. Children’s books. Novels. Non-fiction. Memoir. Classics. Textbooks.
Many of these books are library books. They will have to be returned before they’re read even though I renew them as often as I’m allowed. The problem is, as well as being a master of tsundoku, I’m also a voracious reader of book reviews. I keep a journal of titles that I MUST someday read, so when I see them at bookstores or at the library I ‘acquire’ them and add them to the stacks.
And I do read – as much as I can. But there is never going to be enough time to read all the books I’ve accumulated.
There are worse things to practice than tsundoku. I could be hoarding a collection of troll dolls or dead house plants. But I may have found a solution for my unruly collection: the Little Free Library.
Slowly I’ve been weeding through the stacks of books that I own and finding ones that I feel I can part with. I keep a bag of them in my car and whenever I pass a Little Free Library I drop a few off. (The hard part is resisting the urge to also bring a few more home.) Maybe someday I’ll have tidy, book free coffee and bedside tables and organized, uncluttered shelves. And nice shoes.
And then again, maybe not.
“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.” A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.
Image credit :http://mocomi.com/tsundoku/