Tsundoku: A New Word I Learned For An Ongoing Problem I Have

I learned a new word on Instagram yesterday (who says social media isn’t educational?) that definitely applies to me: Tsundoku.

Tsundoku is the buying of books and not reading them. It is letting them pile up unread, on shelves and floors and nightstands.

I’ve been noticing this getting out of control all over my apartment recently. My rediscovered love of the library only seems to be exacerbating it.

I currently have unread books in all of these places.

It’s not because I don’t want to read them. It’s the opposite; I very much want to read all of these books so I collect them, intending to read them all and then Life is all You don’t have time to read all these books! You have to go to work/see people/do chores/plan a wedding.

Which is complete bullsh*t Life! I really just want to spend all my time sitting around (and I guess sometimes walking on a treadmill with a book, you know, for my heart), reading, with a cup of tea close at hand. Bonus points for a fire and/or a blanket.

Seriously though, I have piles of books all over my house. On my nightstand I have Ian Rankin’s Knots and Crosses, the first in the Inspector Rebus series; Jo Nesbo’s The Snowman, which should be book #2 in the series but I’ve been tricked before; The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel which I intend to read before seeing the movie so it’s probably a good thing the release date got pushed into the new year; a biography of Ingrid Bergman that was also liberated from my father-in-law to be’s collection; and a book about Charlotte Bronte, but like a fictional diary style version. The pile of books on my nightstand is so high, every night when I go to sleep and put my current read on top, I am unable to reach the top and my book is either perched precariously or it tumbles to the ground and wakes up my other half.

And the dog, who is convinced that someone is now trying to kill us and therefore needs comforting. My 90lb German Shepherd. Needs comforting because of loud noises.

In a pile on the floor in front of my book shelves (to distinguish between books that are mine and books that are borrowed) I have another Kate Atkinson book (I’m in the middle of another of hers right now, One Good Turn, and I have a sinking feeling it may be my last attempt at Atkinson crime fiction) as well as my haul from the library. My library haul this time includes: Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger; Marcus from Umbria which, no joke has been on my list for about 2 years ever since Jen Lancaster recommended it on her blog; The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach which I think will be the first time I’ve ever read a book about sports; And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, possibly her most famous work; and Kim Izzo’s My Life in Black and White.

Those two massive piles don’t even take into account all of my own books I have yet to read: War and Peace (I think I’ve made the decision that it needs to be read again from the beginning), Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals; the Steve Jobs biography; The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton; and From Splendour to Revolution, covering the dying days of Russia’s monarchy.

I need to get my tsundoku under control! Good thing I have an extended Christmas break coming up to make a dent in some of these piles.

Any books stick out for you that I absolutely have to read next?

11 thoughts on “Tsundoku: A New Word I Learned For An Ongoing Problem I Have

  1. I call BS on Life too! This is awesome – totally me! I have over one hundred books at home that I haven’t read. From your list I would say And Then There Were None is a must. And don’t let Atkinson crime fiction keep you from Life After Life if you haven’t read it already. Love this post.

  2. Ha this is awesome! You should try Case Histories. I thought it was the best of Atkinson’s crime fiction (although still depressing). Also have you read Behind the Scenes at the Museum? If you liked Life after Life you will probably like that one.

  3. Hi Gargi, I also have a problem with tsundoku. I keep downloading books to my Kindle, then forget they are there. Best wishes to you and your family through this season and the new year. ~ Dennis

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