Tsundoku is a Japanese word that literally means “reading pile.” It’s used to describe a stack (or stacks) of unread books, or the act of buying books and then adding them to existing piles of unread books.
I know my people can relate to this.
As if I didn’t already have enough physical tsundoku in my house, Goodreads conspires with Kindle to give me virtual tsundoku.
Amazon will load you up with more free books than you know what to do with. In addition to all the classics that are in the public domain, bunches of books that are first in their series are permafree, and newsletters like BookBub will tell you when books are on free promos. You can also follow the Twitter hashtag #freebook. And if that’s not enough, you can always dig around in Amazon and find where they hide the lists of top-selling free books. Sorted by genre, no less.
Yeah, I have just a little bit of a problem.
Goodreads, by helping me manage this addiction, is the biggest enabler. Whenever I download a new #freebook—or, let’s face it, several—I go to Goodreads and add them to my “to-read” shelf, which really should be called tsundoku.
To make matters worse, when a friend recommends a book, I instantly whip out my phone and add the book to my list. I did this recently in a meeting with my pastor and a financial advisor when we were discussing church finances and the advisor recommended Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate by J. Clif Christopher. Only after I had done it did I realize how tacky that looked in that setting.
When people have the recommended book with them, it gets even worse. Because then I ask, “Can I borrow it for a second?” I turn it over and use my phone to scan the bar code on the back, automagically adding the book to my virtual tsundoku. Yes, I actually did this at our Bible study last week.
Thanks to practices like these, I now have a to-read list of 1149 books.
And I haven’t yet added this week’s freebies. Or some of the books on the floor.
Do you relate, spekkies? How do you manage tsundoku, physical or virtual?