Never in a million years did I imagine one of my New Year’s resolutions would be to read more books. But here we are. It’s not that I’m not reading. Last year, I must’ve read about 5,000 essays and articles (most of them political, probably). But when it came to books, other than my steady stream of before-bed Anne Perry and Rhys Bowen mysteries and Rosamunde Pilcher novels, I bought books only to let them pile up.
Turns out there’s a Japanese word for this phenomenon: tsundoku. The word literally means “reading pile” and describes the art of buying books with the intent of reading them later.
A nice thing about my old book club in Minnesota was that it forced me to read books outside my comfort zone. I wanted to participate in our monthly discussions, so I had to do the reading. What’s happening now is I still buy the kinds of books we used to read…but then I don’t actually read them. It probably doesn’t help that Netflix and Amazon keep coming out with amazing series like “The Queen’s Gambit” that feel like books you can’t put down. I’d never beat myself up for watching TV shows or movies because I’m a story junkie and I’ll get my fixes where I can. But books are books.
The pile isn’t too terrible yet. Maybe twenty or so? I’m committing here and now IN PUBLIC to reading a book I already own before purchasing a new one. Which shouldn’t be a hardship because look at that stack of beauties waiting for me. Orcas and rowing and spies, among other interesting things.
How about you? Do you ever engage in tsundoku or find yourself struggling to commit to reading new books?