Reading between the classics : the attempt to defeat tsundoku

The constant stream of Greek plays, or any quality literature, would eventually become unbearable without the occasional foray into something a little more fantastical, modern, mysterious or just plain trashy. So in between the tragedies and histories I often take a day or two off, and try to read something sitting on my bookshelves which I have bought but never read, to enjoy but then discard to make more space and also to avoid being accused of practising tsundoku.

To quote Wikipedia, tsundoku is the constant act of buying books, but never reading them. Specifically, it is letting books pile up in one’s room so much that the owner never gets a chance to read all of them. The origin of “Tsundoku” is a Japanese slang (積ん読) “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). It is also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf.

I actually know someone who bought their neighbouring house simply to store their overflow of books and newspapers.

Nice to know there is a word for this.




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