I’ve posted before about tsundoku, the ‘affliction’ that I have apparently been suffering from and that it has taken a change of house to start to address. Don’t worry, it’s not catching, and it’s not apparently pathological. It may perhaps come close to OCD, but it does seem that I don’t need medication or counselling for it, just a good talking to. From myself.
OK. If you don’t want to follow the tsundoku link, this is what it is.
According to Wiktionary it is “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other such unread books”. Now the good news is that I’m slowly dealing with this, and it’s taken this year’s Reading Challenge to act as a catalyst and to begin disencumbering myself of unread books. At a rough estimate I’ve passed on a dozen of the books I’ve read so far this year, nearly half of the running total completed for the challenge. On the other hand, I’ve hung on to nine — I don’t want to go overboard on this, after all! — which leaves seven titles unaccounted for.
I couldn’t find suitable books on my shelves for some of the challenge categories so I resorted to a resource that luckily is already metaphorically on my doorstep: my local library. Indeed, I’ve also posted before about public service cuts that threatened libraries in many parts of the UK, including where I live, and I may have mentioned that I’m now on the management committee of the newly-formed Friends of the local library. One obvious way to show solidarity and enjoy myself at the same time is to use those facilities to the full.
So it is that I’ve managed to complete seven of the categories from those borrowed books: a non-fiction book about Narnia; a novel about magic and another title recommended by a friend (both part of a trilogy by Lev Grossman); a book by an author I’d never read before (Kiki Hamilton); a novel published in 2014 (Clariel); a memoir (Terry Pratchett’s collected non-fiction); and a title by an author (Charlie Lovett) sharing the same initials as me.
Don’t imagine I’ve just used the library for such a mundane purpose as a reading challenge (though it’s certainly a great goal, witness the summer reading challenges for young people that are popular, here as elsewhere): I’ve actually also borrowed no end of other books, mostly non-fiction but also fiction that doesn’t fit any category save (that I fancied the title/author/cover).
So, it doesn’t deal very effectively with those piles of unread books, does it — but at least it’s a step in the right direction.