Skip to main content

Do you hoard books and never read them? There’s a term for it

By August 29, 2018No Comments

Source : The Indian Express

The Japanese have a term for people who own a lot of books and never get around to reading it. The word is not new. It is just that it’s little known.

Just like reading books is a habit, for many people, hoarding books also is. If you have a habit of picking up books and never quite get around to reading it, the Japanese have a word for it – tsundoku – a term used to describe a person who owns a lot of unread literature.

The word “doku” can be used as a verb to mean “reading”. The “tsun” in “tsundoku” originates from the term “tsumu” – a word that means “to pile up”. “Tsunde” means to stack things up; while “oku” means to leave for a while. When all these words are put together, it gives rise to “tsundoku” – which literally means piling a stack of books up!

The word is not new. It is just that it’s little known. Tsundoku dates back to the Japanese Meiji era (1868–1912). The phrase ‘tsundoku sensei’ is said to appear in a text that dates back to 1879, and is likely a satirical about a teacher who had a lot of books but never read any of it. While it seem to be an insult, it is used in Japan without any stigma or ounce of insult attached to it.

Buying books generally give people a feeling of comfort, even if it means stacking them up one after the other and never finishing any of it. It is a good feeling to have a bunch of books lying around for you to revisit anytime. So, what do you choose – to be defined by tsundoku, or getting around to read them before the burden of the stack gets too heavy to take?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.