October 12, 2018

Do you own a bunch of books that you never read? There’s a word for that.


And, that word is “tsundoku.”

“Tsundoku” is a word specifically used to describe the type of person who owns a lot of unread books. The word is derived from the word “tsumu,” which means “to pile up,” and the word “doku,” which means “reading.” It’s been around for a while – 139 years to be exact – but it only recently picked up popularity among bookworms online this past year. With the mass availability of books online and in stores these days, it’s no wonder readers have a hard time keeping up with their own collections.

Tsundoku can mean one of two things: that book lovers use “tsundoku” as a self-effacing term, or that they wear the label of “tsundoku” as a badge of honor. Either way, it’s definitely a sorely needed addition to the vocabulary of the reading world.

So, the question is how many books are collecting dust on your shelf?

Alyssa Monera is an intern at Melville House.