Hi, I’m Wendy and I’m a book hoarder.
I try not to buy any new books but I can’t seem to help myself. I read a back cover about an interesting story –
I want to know more.
I hear about a new vegan family cookbook.
I want to try the recipes.
I watch someone being interviewed on a show.
I want to learn more.
And nope, buying them to read on a Kindle just doesn’t do it for me. I have to hold the book in my hands, smell the pages, feel the paper, see the font that’s used.
I am aghast when I enter a house that has no bookshelves, where on earth do you keep them?
I secretly judge people when I pass a bedroom and there is no book on the night stand.
And yes, I have more books than I can possibly read in my lifetime. I’m trying to offload some of them but it’s like saying goodbye to friends – something I’d rather not do. I keep books that I’ve started and lost interest in thinking that *someday* I’ll get back to them. So I make deals with myself. I can’t bring in a new book until I move out at least 3 books.
It worked until I went into an independent bookstore. By my calculation I need to get rid of 27 books by tonight in order to stay true to my commitment.
And then there are used books. Whenever I go with my daughters to a thrift store, they go right to the clothing and I to the books. Yesterday I brought home 2 travel essay books.
Add 6 more books to my removal total.
My husband is a very tolerant person. As an avid reader himself, he’s never commented on my “habit” – I mean when making bad life choices buying books is pretty low on the list.
But still the other day he quietly pointed me to a news article. Apparently the Japanese have a word for book hoarders.
The desire to buy more books than you can physically read in one human lifetime is actually so universal, there’s a specific word for it: tsundoku. Defined as the stockpiling of books that will never be consumed, the term is a Japanese portmanteau of sorts, combining the words “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”).
Who knew? In some ways it’s nice to finally be recognized (diagnosed?) for what I have, but on the other hand – wow, who knew this was a thing? It looks like I’m a member of a tribe that I didn’t even know existed.
So I guess I need to modify my introduction.
Hi, I’m Wendy and I have tsundoku.
Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.
Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.