THE HAPPY HOME: What To Do With Your Piles Of Unread Books If You've Fallen Into The Practice Of Tsundoku
This Japanese term for the habit of collecting books can be more fulfilling if paired with a mindful approach to book collecting
And just like that, we’re almost at the end of 2020. Maybe one may offer a sigh of relief, or sport a surprised look while pointing a finger at your calendar. Yup, we’re mid-way through November—and in a matter of weeks, the holidays will come dashing through our households full circle.
Even with the pandemic currently putting activities on hold, it cannot stop time. With it is another chance for us to renew and reimagine our lives come the new year. Even within our spaces, going about our annual gift-giving and home decluttering is a tradition we can’t simply pass up. After all, these things have given an extra layer of meaning to the year that has been—sharing our love to others, as well as putting aside what we’ve accumulated in the past 12 months and away what no longer serves us.
To successfully accomplish these year-end tasks, being mindful about what you have is key. Take, for example, the pile of books that have gathered dust in your shelves, left unread for way too long. Acquiring the habit of collecting books, whether unconsciously or not, is called Tsundoku—a practice that originated in Japan centuries ago. It came from the term tsun from the word tsumu, which means to pile up, and doku, which refers to “reading.” Is your book stacking quirk something bad? Not exactly. However, your pile could do better if you’re more thoughtful about it.
For this year, why not utilize this profound passion for book collecting into something more earnest and worthwhile? There are different ways to make the holidays merrier and more fulfilling without breaking off or letting go much of your Tsundoku practice.
For instance, make a New Year’s resolution that involves finally cracking those unread books open—say, aim for one book a month or whichever method works for you. Not only did you get to actually use the book, you also open the opportunity of learning something new. Plus, inserting a few pages for daily reading lets you off on social media which, in turn, lessens the strain cyberspace inflicts upon us everyday.
To easily follow through this promise, organizing your collection neatly is another way to make Tsundoku a better practice for you. Whether you choose to arrange your stack by genre, by author, by height, or by favorites, working this way avoids unnecessary clutter that increases the chance of you reaching for and being excited about the next book on your reading list.
Another way is to have an accountability partner which, in this article, we’d like to rename as your “reading buddy.” Having someone to rave about your current read (just like you do with all the K-dramas you’re watching!) encourages conversation, thus stimulating your and your friend’s desire to continually sustain this venture. You can tap anyone you’d like to be reading buddies with—ask your husband, your BFF, your close office colleague, or even your kid to join you!
With the season of giving fast approaching, use the art of Tsundoku with these tips to have a more purposeful and momentous celebration. And with it, opening your arms to 2021 in a brand new light.
All images via Unsplash