The art of Tsundoku

‘Le Devagar’, Lisbon

In 1879 the word Tsundoku appeared in the Japanese language. It comes from Tsunu, to pile up and Doku, to read. Essentially it is the accumulation of piles of books waiting to be read next. Actually reading books is irrelevant. Tsundoku is referred to as a practice with positive intellectual and wellness implications, much like mediation or yoga. Don’t confuse it with Bibliomania which tends to be thought of as an unhinged obsession with books. Melissa and I have been master Tsundoku practitioners for decades. We love exploring book shops, and usually leave with armfuls of their wares. Most remain unread, particularly in the era of the Kindle. The sale or disposal of the space consuming tomes has never proved successful. Gifting can work, as long as it doesn’t lead to swapping. One of the most amazing bookshops we have visited is Ler Devagar, at the LX Factory in Lisbon. Many books were bought, most were written in Portuguese, a language neither of us can read. Perfect for Tsundoku. #bookshopsrule #let’s make lemonade

1 thought on “The art of Tsundoku

  1. “Tsundoku” = “Tsunu, to pile up and Doku, to read”. I love that word and what it represents. Even if we never read our tsundoku it defines us. It tells the world who we are and, at the very least, reminds us of who we want to be. Thanks for sharing tsundoku with me.


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