December 10, 2023
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Tsundoku: The Art of Buying Books You Can’t Possibly Read

In a world where digital media dominates, the allure of physical books remains strong for many bibliophiles. The joy of browsing through bookstores, the feel of the pages between your fingers, and the satisfaction of building a personal library are experiences that cannot be replicated by e-books or audiobooks. However, there is a peculiar phenomenon among book lovers known as “tsundoku.” This Japanese term refers to the habit of accumulating books without actually reading them. In this blog post, we delve into the art of tsundoku and explore the reasons behind this fascinating practice.

  1. The Pleasure of Possession: One of the primary motivations behind tsundoku is the pleasure of owning books. Book lovers often find solace in the physical presence of a book on their shelves, even if they haven’t read it yet. The act of acquiring a new book, whether it’s a rare find or a highly recommended bestseller, brings a sense of anticipation and satisfaction. Tsundoku enthusiasts find joy in the potential of the unread books in their collection, knowing that they have a world of knowledge and entertainment waiting for them.
  2. The Quest for Knowledge: For many, tsundoku is a manifestation of their thirst for knowledge. Book enthusiasts are driven by curiosity and a desire to explore diverse subjects. They are constantly on the lookout for interesting titles that pique their interest. While they may not have the time to read every book they acquire immediately, the act of purchasing these books is seen as an investment in their intellectual growth. Tsundoku serves as a visual reminder of the never-ending pursuit of knowledge.
  3. The Escape from Reality: Books offer an escape from the humdrum of everyday life. Engaging in tsundoku allows readers to transport themselves to different worlds, explore new ideas, and experience a range of emotions through the stories they contain. The mere presence of a pile of unread books can evoke a sense of adventure and possibility. Tsundoku enthusiasts view their collection as a personal refuge, ready to whisk them away whenever they desire.
  4. The Time Paradox: While the desire to read all the books we own may be strong, time constraints often make it impossible. Tsundoku arises from the paradox of having limited time and an ever-growing list of books to read. As life’s responsibilities and distractions take precedence, books can end up waiting patiently on the shelves, accumulating over time. However, tsundoku enthusiasts remain hopeful, believing that someday they will find the time to indulge in their literary treasures.


Tsundoku, the art of buying books you can’t possibly read, encapsulates the passion and devotion of book lovers. It is a celebration of the written word, a testament to the human desire for knowledge and escapism. While it may be seen as an indulgence or a slightly guilty pleasure, tsundoku brings joy to many and creates a unique bond between readers and their beloved books. So, if you find yourself surrounded by unread books, take solace in the fact that you are not alone in this delightful pursuit of tsundoku.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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