The Joy of Tsundoku

Engage, Inform, Inspire

There is no doubt that for many of us, buying books is one of life’s little pleasures. There is something so joyous and comforting about spending time in a bookshop, browsing through the offerings there, and then choosing something new to take home. Purchasing a book is like buying a new adventure, or new portion of knowledge, or just a little slice of joy.

However, for all of us who buy books and delight in the joy of reading them, there are also many of us who buy books and don’t read them at all! It might sound crazy and a bit pointless, but it is actually fairly common. The Japanese even have a special word for it: tsundoku, which means to buy or acquire books and other reading materials, then not read them. It’s not usually intentional, but it’s just that life takes over, as it so often does, and the book (or books) sits on the shelf gathering dust, unopened and unread. 

However, tsundoku is actually good for us and can bring us genuine joy! Be it the possibilities and hope that the unopened book may possess, the comfort of being surrounded by books, or whether it’s the pleasure that the mere thought of sitting on the sofa reading with a cup of tea brings, when in reality we rarely have five minutes to sit down and do anything for ourselves. And also, read, or unread, books look good! Whether they are sitting on a coffee table or on a shelf, they add to the décor of our home and are great conversation starters too. 

Of course, as with anything, there is a potential negative side to tsundoku – feeling the pressure of reading the unopened book – and maybe one day it will get read – but even if it doesn’t, try to resist the pressure and just enjoy owning the book. Take pleasure in the joy of tsundoku.  

A book maybe unopened and unread, but it doesn’t mean it’s unloved. 


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