Learning to Embrace Tsundoku

1 minute read

2020 has made me realize that I have a book hoarding problem. My shelves are groaning under the weight of accumulated books and pages and words of literature. And no matter how much I dedicate myself to reading, the pile never seems to get any smaller.

Tsundoku (積ん読) is the Japanese word that perfectly describes my current situation, “…acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them”. And I do indeed have a habit of buying plenty of books, without realising that there’s a very good chance that I won’t be able to read them!

The crazy thing is that many of the books I buy are the same titles, but just different editions or cover designs. Call of Cthulhu by HP Lovecraft is one such example. I own three copies of it!

All three of them contain the exact same stories, with no differences between the texts. I was just intrigued by the beautiful cover designs and some unique printing styles each copy utilizes.

I’ve yet to finish reading even one of the copies…

But that got me thinking, is it really a bad thing? Is it even possible to own too many books?

If I had the choice to hoard something, surely books would be the most precious thing to hoard. Each book contains worlds created by its author or countless ways to improve oneself or to learn about the world around us. To say that hoarding books is a bad thing surely would mean that hoarding knowledge is a bad thing?

The only step we need to take is to actually enter those worlds of imagination or read through the treatises that enable us to learn more or improve ourselves.

While I might forever be stuck in a state of tsundoku, I won’t let that influence my love of books or of reading. I’ll always love browsing bookshops and finding a new edition of Lord of the Rings, or stumbling on a book with a unique cover design. Isn’t that the beauty of reading after all?

I’m publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting https://100daystooffload.com.