In Defense of Massive Unread Book Piles

Do you have a massive to-be-read pile and yet you still find yourself buying another book when you stumble into a bookstore? The Japanese have the perfect word to describe what book lovers like us do. It’s not hoarding; it’s tsundoku.

Jonathan Crow from Open Culture traces the history of the word tsundoku:

The word dates back to the very beginning of modern Japan, the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has its origins in a pun […] Tsunde oku means to let something pile up […] Some wag around the turn of the century swapped out that oku in tsunde oku for doku—meaning to read. Then since tsunde doku is hard to say, the word got mushed together to form tsundoku.

Some of us may a feel a little guilty for letting our stacks of books grow, crowding our homes. Your mom or your roomie might say, You have a bit of a problem. Your bookshelves are living hazards threatening to fall anytime. There’s just no space to sit around your room anymore. But let us here in Blvnp offer you a bit of comfort, a pat on your back.

Here’s why it’s good to keep your to-be-read list long:

It motivates you to keep reading.

Having a long to-be-read list means you will rarely find yourself a no-book slump. If you’re tired of the current book you’re reading, you can let it sit for a while and move on to another.

You’re promoting what you love and supporting your favorite authors.

Buying books is one way to show your appreciation to writers. You’re helping keep the book industry alive. You can spread your love for books by lending them to friends, or if you’re feeling more generous and you’re willing to go through a little separation anxiety, donate them to a charity or a school of your liking. Share the joy that you find in books with others.

Be proud. You’re not a book hoarder. You’re a book collector!

There’s no shame in that as much as there is nothing to be ashamed about being a toy or stamp collector.


Looking for more books to add to your to-be-read pile? Check out Blvnp’s books over here.