I have a nasty habit of reading books. It’s not, in itself, a bad habit. However, I inhale the pages. And they have to be pages — real books with inked words on slivers of a dead tree: I struggle to focus on digital words. It costs me a small fortune.
There’s a Japanese word, tsundoku, which translates — depending on whose definition you use — as ‘buying books and never reading them.’ There’re articles on the BBC and Atlas Obscura, to name but a few. My TBR pile has almost doubled in the past month or so and it was in danger of toppling before. Now, it’s split into many, smaller piles for my personal safety.
Edited 11th Jan: This article on Culture Trip is also worth reading for the semantics of how the word ‘tsundoku’ fit.
My intention is to maintain a TBR list on this blog — an accountability trail of my reading books — and as I read them, to talk about them: what I love and loathe.
And it’s a varied pile. There’s biography and autobiography. Literary fiction. Science fiction. Non-fiction and graphic novels. A smorgasbord of reading books and material. Perhaps that’s part of the issue… knowing where to start.
Last night for example, I read a poetry and flash fiction magazine. It was an incredible selection of stories and insights and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was too foggy for my Lazarus graphic novel series: the artwork is very much a part of the storytelling and I didn’t want to miss out on any of the details. The same as for The Wicked & The Divine.
And I couldn’t face anything that required steady focus and for me to retain detail through to the next reading session: that ruled out most other material.
Being tired, a collection of super-short pieces like this was perfect.
There appears to be a certain snobbery with writing; the idea you’re not a proper writer or it’s not a proper book unless it’s a novel. As someone most comfortable writing short form, I could be accused of being defensive here, but as a reader — and one who has focus issues because of her health — I love the variety of shorter pieces, and they take a lot of skill to get right.
My goal for next year is to reduce my pile of reading books and maintain the passion for reading I regained earlier this year after an approximately ten-year hiatus.