Tsundoku

October 9th 2016

Today I organised my bookshelf. This is both a highly important, and stressful task. I must’ve gone through five iterations of shelving heights before I even put a book on a shelf. 

There are many ways to organise ones personal library, and I went for something perhaps a bit different. 

I  organised them on the shelves by size, and then subcategorised by genre and author surname. Let me explain. 

The bottom shelf is for the hardbacks, or books that are printed on a slightly taller paper than your average paperback. The genre of these books is kind of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, including anthologies for Shakespeare and Sherlock, and various biographies including that of the Queen, Elizabeth, and the King, Steve Jobs. 

Middle shelf is size sorted into standard paperbacks, with the left half being general fiction, sorted by author surname, and the right-ish edge being various trivia. 

The top shelf is for short paperbacks and travel books, as well as my Rubik’s Cube collection – ordered to display the flags of the British Isles. 

I’m a fucking nerd. 

The Rubik’s cubes are there to fill the space on the shelves that should really be taken up by books. If there’s anything that today’s organising taught me its that I do not own enough books. 

I’ve recently discovered that I like buying books more than I actually like reading them. A lot of the books on the shelves in that picture have never even been opened, but I just like buying them. 

Apparently, I learnt today, there is a word for that. 

Tsundoku.


It’s a Japanese word to describe that phenomenon. 

Why would you want to collect a load of books and not read them? Well, I ask you…

Why would you collect a load of old coins that you can’t even spend any more? 

Why would you collect anything? What do pebbles and shells even do? What do stamps or buttons do? (Apart from the obvious)

At least I have the option of one day reading the books. For now I want to buy them so I can put them on my shelf, and probably end up rearranging my entire bookcase. But that’s all part of the fun. 

The worst bit is when you come across something that crosses genres. Does biographical fiction belong with the biographies or the fiction? 

Can I put Ned Vizzini’s ‘it’s kind of a funny story’ on a shelf next to Shakespeare and Sir Arthur, just because it’s the same size paper? 

Until tomorrow, where is the line?

Jacn

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