Bibliophile or tsundoku?

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Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Old_Begonia » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:21 am

So we can share understanding, I quote here from a linked article on a new [to me] word that too accurately describes me, my condition or situation.

"There are some words out there that are brilliantly evocative and at the same time impossible to fully translate. Yiddish has the word shlimazl, which basically means a perpetually unlucky person. German has the word Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly means a face that is badly in need of a fist. And then there’s the Japanese word tsundoku, which perfectly describes the state of my apartment. It means buying books and letting them pile up unread.

The word dates back to the very beginning of modern Japan, the Meiji era (1868-1912) and has its origins in a pun. Tsundoku, which literally means reading pile, is written in Japanese as 積ん読. Tsunde oku means to let something pile up and is written 積んでおく. Some wag around the turn of the century swapped out that oku (おく) in tsunde oku for doku (読) – meaning to read. Then since tsunde doku is hard to say, the word got mushed together to form tsundoku.

As with other Japanese words like karaoke, tsunami, and otaku, I think it’s high time that tsundoku enter the English language..."

Reference: http://www.openculture.com/2014/07/tsundoku-should-enter-the-english-language.html

Yes, I buy books, yes they are actually, literally, piled up in a room upstairs. (While on vacation this month I picked up several more.) But dammit I have EVERY INTENTION of reading them. Well, most of them. Really. Someday. Not today, but SOMEDAY!

Here are some books I recently purchased and why I bought them.

Please share your tsundoku stories!

**********************************************************
There's one called Saint Who? - 39 Holy Unknowns. We visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles gift shop and saw this.I think the clever subtitle got me.
Jacob T. Marley, was in the bookstore too, something I saw when it first came out but didn't want to spend the money. Seeing it reminded me that I wanted to read it. So I checked one of my favorite sources: ABE Books dot com. Found it for a song and free shipping. I might actually read this one.
And yet another Chesterton tome: The Catholic Church and Conversion. Ha ha. I buy stuff like this 'for my husband' who is interested in the church, but who will never read Chesterton.
Then we were at Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park Visitor Center and I saw Adopted by Indians. But they wanted way too much (for my budget) So standing there in the bookstore I checked Amazon, found it for a fraction (and free shipping).
Then, while I was looking at Amazon I noticed Roadside Geology of Northern California on my wish list. The price was going up not down, so I figured I might as well get it. It's been on the wish list for quite a while. This is a reference work. Therefore I don't have to have any intention of reading it. It's just good to have around, right? You don't READ dictionaries. You USE them. So...there, that's that one.


So...how about you?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby truehobbit » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:52 pm

Definitely me - cool word for it! :D

About two thirds of my books are unread, I'd guess. But, then, one of those thirds is reference books and other types of books you don't actually 'read' from front to back. Still, for every book I read, I buy two or three new ones. And then they go in a pile. Because the shelves are full. :D

We have just moved house, though, and could tell that finding space for books would be a problem: the shelves/bookcases in both mine and my sweetie's apartments were full, and the wallspace for them in the new place also all pretty much full. So we made a resolution not to buy any more books. A few days ago, we were in Sissinghurst for a friend's birthday. We could foresee a space of time between the end of the birthday party at five and our dinner appointment at eight. There were a lot of books in the gift shop and we hadn't brought our kindles. It was my sweetheart who suggested we get a book to fill up the time, but I'm equally guilty: I thought of our resolution but didn't mention it, because, yes, I wanted to buy a book. We got a Vita Sackville-West book each. Then we started ambling through the castle grounds and back to the village. We just about made it to dinner with only a ten-minute break in which I wrote a couple of postcards. My sweetheart did indeed read his book (he's much better at that than I am). He's read some more the next day and on the journey and is almost finished, I think. I'm on page ten of mine. It seems to be pretty good, I do want to read it. Some day. When I have time. :D
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:40 pm

Old Begonia! Lovely word! I must confess I have bought far fewer books in the last couple of years for just this very reason, the many books I've yet to read (or would like to re-read) taunting me from that pile... We have a simply wonderful library system and I can get most books I wish to read without them piling up unread all over my house (which could use a bit of de-cluttering anyway). If I truly love a book & think I will re-read it at some point .. or, more likely, wish to use it as a reference, then I will purchase the book.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby portia » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:05 am

At some point over the last years, I have changed from a bibliophile to a tsundoku. The reason was no more space on tables or bookcases. Now, I get my books from the Library, and take them back. Sometimes I buy a book from the Library sale, but it goes back, too. Less than 5% of the books I read are purchased with the intent to keep them.

I maintain a list of what I want to read, and put them on reserve.

I am still working on getting rid of Mr. Portia's books--he never changed-- and to decide what to keep from what has been collected.

Along with the rest of my Anti-Hoarding activities, it helps.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Frelga » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:53 pm

Well, getting a Kindle helps with the piling up part. Now the entire Gutenberg project is my book pile.

But I do still have the book piles of paper kind.
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"You start running they'll never let you stop. You stand up, push back... Can't say no forever right?"
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby truehobbit » Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:08 am

The problem with getting books from a library is that you have to actually read them within a very short time because you have to return them. :D

Currently unpacking after moving house, and with each pile of books I take out of the boxes there are some that make me think: oh, I really want to read this - I think I'll read this as soon as I get to sit down - I'll start this right in the next break.

Well, so far since the move I've read half a book of collected Donald Duck cartoon stories... :roll: :D
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Old_Begonia » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:24 am

truehobbit wrote:The problem with getting books from a library is that you have to actually read them within a very short time because you have to return them. :D

Currently unpacking after moving house, and with each pile of books I take out of the boxes there are some that make me think: oh, I really want to read this - I think I'll read this as soon as I get to sit down - I'll start this right in the next break.

Well, so far since the move I've read half a book of collected Donald Duck cartoon stories... :roll: :D


Truehobbit, I'm right there with you. I stopped using the library when the fines started exceeding the price of the books. Besides, I had pretty much read everything of interest to me at my local library. I was in a WWII phase back then. I read everything I could get my hands on about the European theater, (including a Freudian psychological analysis of Hitler written during the war.)

Frelga, yes, the kindle has helped in a way. But the Daily Deals at the kindle store are a temptation. At least the unread books only taunt me when I'm browsing my kindle, and they don't make my RL world any more cluttered.

RoseMorninStar, I too had books piling up all over the house for years. A bookcase here and there around the house...a stack on the desk...a few on the mantle...
It wasn't until my children started leaving home and I had the opportunity to put them all in one room that realized how many I actually have. And even after buying another bookshelf, there are [small] piles of books on the floor.
****************

But so, tell me...

Which unread titles have you acquired and why? Was it the dust jacket/cover? The clever subtitle? A positive review?
If there are too many to mention, please share one or two of your favorite unread books.
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby RoseMorninStar » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:54 am

Our public library allows I think 3 or 4 week check-out and it can be renewed for another couple of weeks if someone else doesn't have it on hold request. I find that if I haven't made the time to read the book in that amount of time.. I'm probably not going to get around to it. I get an e-mail a couple of days before it's due so I can renew it online or drop it off. That way I avoid most of the fines (but not all!)

Old_Begonia wrote:But so, tell me...

Which unread titles have you acquired and why? Was it the dust jacket/cover? The clever subtitle? A positive review?
If there are too many to mention, please share one or two of your favorite unread books.


As I said earlier, I have curtailed the purchase of books which I don't take the time to read. I don't have a kindle. I did pick up a second-hand 'Best of Ethnic Cooking' book that I haven't even taken the time to flip through in the hopes of trying a few Old World recipes. And I purchased 'The Children of Hurin' because .. well.. had to. :D One day I'll get around to reading it!
Last edited by RoseMorninStar on Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby portia » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:08 am

Our library has reserve/exchange agreements with a lot of libraries around, so you can get whatever is in the County's library system, and some from other libraries. Unfortunately, the time you have has just been reduced to 2 weeks, 3 was about right. But you can renew online.

I agree that if I do not read the book in a few weeks, I might as well not buy it--except for reference books.

Of course, I am still in the process of getting rid of books my mother in law had, or of books that Mr. Portia HAD to have, like an 1897 book on Equity.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Old_Begonia » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:33 am

portia wrote:Of course, I am still in the process of getting rid of books my mother in law had, or of books that Mr. Portia HAD to have, like an 1897 book on Equity.


:lmbo:

Notice I have not mentioned Mr. Begonia's music, or his hymnal collection. Those are inviolable.
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby siddharth » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:04 am

To be honest, I am a born tsundoku. Or atleast my mom tells me so. ;)
I think within the past two years I have bought atleast 500 books of all kinds - from slim travelogues to drag-you-down encyclopedias.
Why, it includes Tolkien as well.
I have Unfinished tales, Letters, and the annotated Hobbit none of which I have started to read. Actually, I did start the letters a week ago, just for that reason.
There's an amazing and detailed expedition-cum-travelogue book on Antarctica which I got on my birthday four years ago, and have reached only to page 100 of 700. :P
I have also yet to read Wells' Dr.Moreau's Island, a book by Pratchett I bought once, and of course so many of the encyclopedias I have on life and physical sciences. Ugggh, when will I get the time to catch up???

At this stage, I just feel like Bilbo's words in the latest trailer.

One day, one day I will remember. Everything I have bought. Those I read. And those I didn't...

:P
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Old_Begonia » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:24 pm

siddharth wrote:At this stage, I just feel like Bilbo's words in the latest trailer.

One day, one day I will remember. Everything I have bought. Those I read. And those I didn't...

:P


My excuse..ahem...I mean, my reason, for buying and keeping obscure, aged reference works is to be able to accurately represent things as they were understood in a different time. Who knows when I might need to really understand the world view of a scientist living in 1932?

I bought and keep a Guide to Antique Guns and Rifles, because I am writing a novel which takes place in the mid-nineteenth century. I wanted my heroine to start her journey in Indochina, with the denouement a bare ten years later. But the showdown includes a revolver using cartridges, which, if I really want that gun, my denouement has to happen about 30 years later. Or I have to find another weapon. You might think this an easy change, but I had my heart set on these parameters for so long, it's hard to give up.

So...let me understand, sid, you collect anything that has a reference to Tolkien Canon?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby siddharth » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:44 pm

I don't really "collect" books, I am not a collector though my father is.
I buy books from a desire to read it. But with the limited time I get, I am often not able to finish them.
I do not buy anything related to Tolkien either. Besides the basic books, rest of the stuff is too costly for me.

PS: I also started to read the fifth and final book of the Hitchhiker series but was not able to finish it as my vacays got over soon.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Wed Aug 06, 2014 2:25 am

At the Oxford moot I wandered into Blackwell's bookshop. Big mistake. I left £80 the lighter! (100 euros/135 dollars). If, if, if I had a bit more shelf space I could sort the book piles into useful subject areas. Ha! Self delusion is the worst kind.

Truehobbit; had you heard of one person's reaction to meeting the tweed breeched (knickerbockerned) Vita? Like Lady Chatterly above and Mellors below.
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Re: Bibliophile or tsundoku?

Postby Old_Begonia » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:41 am

Tosh, [and everyone] could you please share a couple of titles and what prompted the purchase?
"And it is said by the Eldar that in water there lives yet the echo of the Music of the Ainur more than in any substance else that is in this Earth; and many of the Children of Ilúvatar hearken still unsated to the voices of the Sea, and yet know not for what they listen."

There is something profound about standing AT sea level.
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