The word of that day is Tsundoku – the practice of buying a pile of books and then not getting around to reading them.
“Tsun-doku” 「積ん読」 came from 「積んでおく」 “tsunde-oku” (to pile things up ready for later and leave) and 「読書」 “dokusho” (reading books).
As currently written, the word perfectly combines the characters for “pile up” (積) and the character for “read” (読).
The LA Times used the term as a noun that describes the person suffering from book stockpiling syndrome, or “a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor, on shelves, and assorted pieces of furniture.”
Oxford Dictionaries defined the word in a blog as “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.”
The Tsundoku scale ranges from just one unread book to a serious hoard.
Everyone is most likely to be ‘tsundokursed’ one way or the other
The term “Bibliomania” emerged in England around the same time as “Tsundoku.”
Some collectors spent their entire fortunes to build their personal libraries,” Lauren Young wrote for Atlas Obscura. “While it was never medically classified, people in the 1800s truly feared Bibliomania.”
While Bibliomania is a pseudo-illness, Tsundoku gives you the comfortable feeling of not running out of good reads.
A. Edward Newton nailed the feeling the mere presence of books can bestow.
“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 … we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access reassurance.”
Maybe, today, remove a book from the Tsundoku pile.
Or be honest and rename your kindle to Tsundoku!
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.