One thought on “Today’s Chuckle | 08.23.2022

  1. CHECK THIS OUT: It’s often said that “there’s probably a German word” for unusual situations that are difficult to express in English, but sometimes there’s actually a Japanese word instead. Tsundoku, for example, describes the act of buying books and never reading them. Many bibliophiles can surely relate. Doku can be used in Japanese as a verb that means “reading,” and tsun comes from tsumu, which means “to pile up.” According to University of London Japanese studies professor Andrew Gerstle, the word appears to have been coined in 1879 in a satirical reference to a teacher who didn’t read the many books he owned. Despite that, the term — which can also refer to the piles of books themselves — doesn’t carry a particularly negative connotation in Japan. (Well, that’s heartening!)

    For some, tsundoku might be anxiety- or even guilt-inducing — who hasn’t bought an imposing tome such as James Joyce’s Ulysses with every intention of reading it, only to pick up something lighter instead time after time? But it doesn’t have to be that way. There can be a joy to “practicing tsundoku,” since every unread book on your shelf can be thought of as a literary adventure in waiting. There’s no time like the present, but neither is there any harm in leaving Don Quixote for just the right moment. (In fact, I just bought Dante’s “Inferno” in Italian/English with the very best intentions! Will keep you posted on that one!)

Leave a Reply