Tsundoku

I learned a new word today, thanks to this article. Tsundoku (not the be confused with the number puzzle sudoku) is the Japanese word for the acquiring of reading materials, followed by letting them pile up and subsequently never reading them.

Now, who among us isn’t either guilty of that ourselves, or at least knows someone who is? It’s a tragedy. When I think of all the trees that have been converted into expensive paperweights in this manner, it makes me want to weep.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a huge proponent of reading. I absolutely love books. What I really hate is stuff. Accumulation. It’s just too much. That’s why I adore libraries. I can always lay my hands on any book I want. I just don’t have to store it myself. I can’t think of a more amazing service to provide the public.

Somewhere in Missouri are about 50 boxes of books, moldering away in a storage shed. They are my inheritance from my late sister. The one thing we had in common was a love of reading. But I don’t know what she was thinking. I couldn’t afford to ship them all from there to here if my life depended on it. And where would I put them? One of these days I’m going to have to fly out there and donate them to a library or sell them to a used book store or something. Meanwhile they just sit there, occupying space and entertaining no one. What a hassle. What a shame.

I guess you might say I suffer from Tsundoku by proxy.

pile-of-books

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4 thoughts on “Tsundoku

  1. LYN

    Saw this in the comments of the article : They will come handy when all the lights go out, and will keep us from going insane. Solar Storms, or an EMP will knock out all the satellites and nothing will work. We will have to go back one hundred years, and start all over. Our government is not protecting our grid, and they are wasting money on other things.

    So those books may not be a waste if you preserve them. Maybe books should be included in everyone’s emergency disaster kits. 🙂

    1. Along with a light source by which to read them. I used to have a college professor that said that the only people who will survive a nuclear winter would be secretaries and people in prison. Because paper and concrete are good insulators. So there’s another reason to keep books, I suppose.

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