Tsundoku: Buying Books And Forgetting To Read Them

Tsundoku: Buying Books And Forgetting To Read Them

This Japanese word perfectly describes this problem we have.

Kaitlyn Hipple

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into those traps, maybe one time too many, where we were in a bookstore and were browsing our favorite section and proceeded to pick up one or two books that looked and sounded really cool. It’s harmless isn’t it? Well, as I just finished a short little novella I recently ordered off Amazon, I realized that I had had a few books I still hadn’t read so I couldn’t buy more at my recent trip to Books A Million. Upon coming home to my bountiful bookshelves, I counted 12 books that I had recently purchased within the last year and have yet to read. Count a dozen. So, here’s my list of 12 books I shamefully haven’t read yet. What are yours?

1. "In Translation: Translators on Their Work and What It Means"

Written by Esther Allen and Susan Bernofsky; I purchased this book because I thought it would be interesting to read an anthology written by translators about their translations. It still does sound interesting.

2. "The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair"

Written by Joel Dicker; to be honest I didn’t actually buy this bool, even worse, I borrowed it. I’ll return it soon, I’m sure.

3. "Crónica de una muerte anunciada"

Written by Gabriel García Márquez; I already read this book in English! But, I wanted to read the Spanish version. So it doesn’t even count, right?

4. "Nadie me verá llorar"

Written by Cristina Rivera Garza; I bought this book because the author spoke at my college and I wanted to read something of hers before meeting her. Yep. It was during the semester and we all know there’s no such thing as pleasure reading during the semester. Ever.

5. "The Almost Moon"

Written by Alice Sebold. After reading The Lovely Bones I needed more. But I’ll be honest and say that I read the first two pages and realized this was not The Lovely Bones, so I gave up. Convenient that the cover of this novel explicitly states, “Author of The Lovely Bones.” Thanks.

6. "Love, Lucy"

Written by Lucille Ball. I have so much regret about this one. I actually love Lucy and I’m so sad I bought this book off Amazon for literally a penny and haven’t even cracked it open. Maybe it’s a signed copy or something? I’ll get back to that one soon.

7. "One More Time"

Written by Carol Burnett. It’s. Freaking. Carol. Burnett. Why wouldn’t I read her memoir? Need I say more? Oh, I guess I should admit that this purchase was yet again another late night lucky penny steal off Amazon…it even came the next day! Yeah, I’m sorry Carol. I’ll be I touch.

8. "Gone Girl"

Written by Gillian Flynn. I’m a fraud. Well, I’m not an English major anymore so I’m okay. But, I admit that I watched the movie before reading the book. Oops.

9. "The Blind Side"

Written by Michael Lewis; Yep. I did it again. I’m pretty terrible at that whole “read a book and then watch the movie” thing.

10. "One Breath Away"

Written by Heather Gudenkauf; This unknown author wrote an incredible book titled The Weight of Silence and I needed more by this author. She’s like a contemporary Jodi Picoult.

11. "Left Neglected"

Written by Lisa Genova; This book came highly recommended from a Psychology professor. The author has her Ph.D in Neuroscience and she wrote this metafictional novel about a woman who was in a car accident and described what it was like to function without her brain's left hemisphere. Interesting, right?

12. "Go Set A Watchman"

Last but not least, Harper Lee’s second novel. I’m ashamed to tell my 16-year-old, book-loving, High-School-English-Teacher-in-the-making me that I have yet to read this novel. Despite the critiques and the friends’ admonishments I still wanted it. I got it for my last birthday and it simply sat left on my shelf as I went to college.

We all have these books. But, even in English we don’t have a word to describe this phenomenon: Tsundoku. What books have you bought and forgot about?

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