I discovered a vital new word this week on Book Group Online – tsundoko – which is a Japanese word to describe buying books and letting them pile up unread on the floor, on nightstands, or as in my case double stacked in a bookcase. I think it’s quite normal, it’s saving one, or several, or more than several for later just in case you feeel like reading it.
There’s even a Tsundoko list on Goodreads; I have to admit I haven’t read or even tsundokoed The Last of the Mohicans or Contact by Carl Sagan which are numbers 1 and 2 on the list, but I have read Vanity Fair, Dracula, The Three Musketeers, The King Must Die which are all high up on the list and practically knew Dune, number 4, off by heart as a teenager because I’d read it so many times. Which all goes to show that one person’s tsundoko is another’s essential reading.
Japanese is full of useful words – Nito-onna describes a woman who is so dedicated to her career that she has no time to iron and dresses only in knitted tops. I wonder if it also includes non-career women who just don’t want to iron. A bakku-shan is a woman who looks pretty from the back but not from the front, Komorebi is the sort of scattered, dappled light effect that happens when sunlight shines in through tree leaves and Amagami is to pretend-bite someone. This might be more useful in football matches than the real thing, perhaps.
There’s about to be more tsundoko in this household as it’s the Phoenix Euro Book Sale next week, 18,000 second books in English for a euro. I know I don’t need any more books but there’s always room for a few more…