Tuesday, 30 May 2017

"You suffer from tsundoku"

a friend told me. His son has been working in Japan for some years and M.... has been to see him twice for extended periods. He has come home with some "polite phrases and interesting words".
One of these is "tsundoku" which is apparently the Japanese word for the habit of buying more books than one can read.
I find it fascinating that there is a word for such a concept. It must be a serious habit in Japanese society. 
There are a great many books in this house. They sit double and triple stacked in shelves which take up all the available wall space. We parted with some recently - rather a lot of them - and it is hard to see the difference. Most of them were gardening and woodwork books belonging to the Senior Cat. Some of them were yet more cookbooks belonging to my mother. There were other craft books, such as quilting and macrame books, that I knew would never be used. There was even some fiction that did not rate as "worth keeping".
I did not give away any of my carefully collected samples of children's literature. They form a library the local children can use when they tire of what the local library has to offer. Yes, children's literature is different now. Ms Whirlwind has read almost everything and so have a good many of her friends. The boys around the corner ignored a few of the more "girl" books but they went through the rest. 
More than one person has walked in and asked, "Have you really read all these?"
My answer is, "If it belongs to me then I have read all the fiction, I have read some of the non-fiction and I have used the rest as reference material."
Yes, I  use the books I buy.  I do not suffer from "tsundoku".


jeanfromcornwall said...

I think the wrong word there is "suffer" - it is not suffering in my estimation. I helped out in the local ibrary as a teenager - largish town, but the library was a couple of shelves in the village hall, with the books regularly refreshed by a van from the County Library. I have more books in my living room that there were for the whole town back then.
Yes I have read them all, apart from the ones that do not interest me, but are my Husband's.

kayT said...

Is there a word for buying more yarn than you can ever knit? Oh yes, SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy). I do buy a lot of books but I also read them all. The yarn, well...

catdownunder said...

Jean I would expect you to have read your books - true bibliophiles do!
And Kay - we won't mention SABLE! I am not as bad as some people I know and I have been given a great deal of yarn over recent years so now make the effort to pass some on to be used for charity. I think non-knitters always tend to believe we can use "more"!