Piles of Books

Piles of books. I have them all around. Some are mine, some are my hubby’s, some are for the girls, some I want to pass on to friends and family, and some I keep in my collection because I have plans to get to them soon. They give me a sense of anticipation, all those stories waiting to be told, all those new characters waiting to be met.

Photo Jul 15, 8 01 06 AM

Almost every reader I know has at least one pile of books that stares at them, and it appears that these staring piles of books are a “thing” shared round the world. In fact, the Japanese have a word for it. Tsundoku is a noun that describes a pile of unread books, or refers to a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor and shelves. It is believed that the word entered the Japanese language in the late 1800s as a pun. The story goes that the original word, tsunde oku, meaning to let something pile up, got swapped out for tsunde doku, which literally means reading pile. The two words were eventually combined and shortened to make them easier to pronounce.

While my piles of books have all been boxed up while we get ready to move from one home to the next, I left out the reading pile … Just in case I have a moment with a cup of tea and a new book.

  1. Cindi says:

    I have piles of books to be read in at least three rooms and what I laughingly refer to as my book reading queue right next to the bed… make that plural ~ queues. There is one on each side of the bed. Also guilty of buying books and not reading them, though the intention is there. There is just something about books. I could never work in a bookstore. For one thing, my entire paycheck would be spent there; the other thing, work would never get done. You would always find me in the back opening the boxes of newly arrived books, rubbing the shiny covers while admiring each and every one. Yeah. I’m weird. 🙂

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    In the recent years, I have tried to have a new policy that I don’t get beyond 3 unread books in my pile. This way, when I see a new one, I have to ask myself if I really want it or can it wait until I finish my unread pile staring at me. There is something nagging about a stack of unread books and I have found that if the pile gets beyond 3, I am less likely to get started reading. It is as if the larger the stack, the more hopeless it seems that I can get them read. So I end up making the excuse “no time today” and the stack doesn’t dwindle. I am forced to ask myself why I have the book in the first place if I am not going to read it. The three book policy, I have found, has resulted in many new books being read and enjoyed instead of staring back at me as if to point a finger that says, go ahead read one of us! Does anyone else have to limit their stack of unread books in order to get any of them read? Or am I just weird?

    • Megan says:

      As I was reading your response, I thought to myself that limiting my pile is great idea. I’m in full support of this idea!

  3. Eileen Stone says:

    Oh, I know why I have all those books! I love them for their stories, their artwork, their smell! I love the way they look on shelves, in piles, & alone. I would have to live to be 200 years old to read them all, but I don’t care! I will read @ my leisure and leave the rest for someone else to enjoy. I DO NOT own a “Kindle” or other reading device. The electronic reading devices lack the wonderful tactility of a real book and they never run out of power!

  4. Next to my bed I have a pile of cook books!!! 🙂 Then on the coffee table my pile of library books. Upstairs in my craft room my pile of sewing/crafting books! And on… and on…. and on! Oh how I love books! (And the ones in your pile above? I’ve read three of them! I loved Three Cups Of Tea.)

    – Dori –

  5. Man Oh Man, thats me ! I am addicted to library book sales, and also book shops, so my piles are huge, ok not piles, most are neatly put on the shelves that line my entire living room,(my idea of heaven -a whole room of bookshelves.) I have the summer reading shelf but alas, I am getting to 15 years of boxes of magazines ( yep my entire bedroom floor is taken up with copier paper boxes of old gardening mags and such.) I promised to whittle it down, ( it would be nice to walk in the bedroom ) so that has been my summer reading project. Been having fun tho, and cutting out many, many clippings. So Meg , be sure warn your mom more clippings will be coming to her.
    Oh yeah and like you Dori, ” three cups of tea” is on my to do list, and I dont even have copy of that one. Oh and there is another box of duplicates of favorite books for gifts.

  6. Nancy Coughlin says:

    I have piles all over the house and would never consider cutting back! Gives me the shudders to just even think about doing that. It is amazing how often a book I already have is essential to a discussion; as a loaner to a friend who hasn’t been able to find it;as a reference;etc. I believe growing up with books is essential for kids. So many books and not enough time to read them– maybe!!

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