I have a problem

I’ve just counted how many books I have on my shelves that I have yet to read.


And that’s just the ones on the main bookshelves. No doubt I’ll uncover others hiding in corners at some point. I might even uncover that copy of Anansi Boys that seems to have runaway.

I always knew it was quite a lot – I’d estimated about 100 or so – but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be that high.

It’s been going on for years. I’ll buy a handful of books and then only read some of them before I buy the next batch. Add in presents and those that I’ve rescued from friends and family who were about to get rid of them, and you start to well…end up with 293 unread books on your bookshelves.

The Japanese apparently have a word for it: Tsundoku.

I don’t seem to have the worst case of it. This BBC article references a forum that requires a person to have over 1,000 unread books on their shelves. But if I keep to my current reading rate – 43 books so far this year and on target to read 52 by 30 December – then I should be through them in just under six years. Although this raises another issue: even if I keep to 52 books a year, I’ll only read 1,560 books in the next 30 years. It’s thoughts like this that make me feel sad when I spend too long in a bookshop – what about all the books I won’t get to read?

I’m still attempting to put together a list of all the books I’ve read over at Goodreads (minus those that I’ve used as research that might hint at future plot points). Once my memory runs dry, I’ll start adding all the unread books sitting on the shelf.

PS – I’ve just been sent a link to this Barnes & Noble article. Personally, I think there’s only one question you need to ask as to whether to keep a book or not: do I want this book on my bookshelf? But then again, I quite like the thought of living in a library.

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