Tsundoku, how do you stack yours?


For anyone with more than an armful of books, which is probably most people who read this blog, there must be one perennial problem, storing them and finding the time to read them. These days I read half the amount of books I used to; I just don’t have the time now my commute has switched to using a car from using trains but one thing that has not slowed is the rate I accumulate the things.

I accept I’ll always be buying more books than I can read, but how to store them? The problem with having hundreds of books is that inevitably there is the problem of filing them so you can find something, or at least avoid buying the same thing twice which I have done several times…

Several years ago I started a spreadsheet to get around this problem, sure it’s a bit sad but I now know what I have and what unread books there are littered around the house. At the moment I am delving back to 2008 for books I have had since then but never managed to read or look at after purchase, I think six years is too long to be on the shelf.

But, I still cannot figure out how best to put them on my shelves. At the moment they are sorted very roughly by non-fiction, fiction and Fortean on separate book shelves. I’m reasonably satisfied with this but I could go down the shelved by author route, or maybe the ‘wherever the hell I put them route’ and not worry about it. Or, maybe sort them by spine colour or size…

I’ll never be organized enough to use a real system such as Dewey Decimal, it sounds far too technical for my liking, besides I don’t really have enough books for that. To be honest whenever I have attempted to organise my books I have a suspicion that it’s like an itch I can’t scratch, and I’ll suspect there will always be a better way, a more visually pleasing way to present my favourite things. Now I have written this post I am tempted to take the whole lot off their shelves, mix them up and let anarchy reign, but I suspect after a couple of weeks I’ll be back to square one again.

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5 thoughts on “Tsundoku, how do you stack yours?

  1. Journal: The Summer of War 2014

    7. I remember talking to a 30-something fellow tennis teaching pro (and working actor) at Crosstown Tennis, the first club I worked at in Manhattan back in the late `70’s (it no longer exists), and what he told me when I asked him what he was reading. He said something like, “We move from being body, to mind, to spirit focused in life; I’m somewhere between body and mind, and getting ready for spirit right now.” I don’t remember what he was reading, but the line left an impression. He was not our 30-something tennis pro (actor) that appeared on a local talk show and said he had been abducted and probed by aliens on several occasions. He was not Byron Sanders, our eldest actor tennis pro, who posed for Salvor Dalis’ “The Crucifixtion,” acted in “The Flesh Eaters” and was a regular on “The Days of Lives,” may he rest in peace.

    8. 7 am. Three Days Sober. The Winter Fog has Lifted. The tear in the right calf muscle finally feels good enough to walk on without a limp–like it felt two weeks ago when I thought I was passed the initial injury suffered trekking around Siem Reap, Cambodia back in June. The temples, especially Angkor Wat were spectacular. How could Masayo leave my camera in a hotel restroom right before coming home?

    9. Scene: A visitor enters my apartment’s dark narrow 36 foot-long L shaped hallway; the drooping shelves running along the left wall are filled with old and new books of all genres, shapes, and sizes; the wall on the right is lined with boxes of books, DVDs, and other assorted files piled chest high. After angling along this tunnel, having to turn completely sideways at times, and finally breaking out into the small windowless kitchen, the visitors says, “Wow! You read all those books.” Our protagonist replies “Are you kidding. I would have wasted myself—probably put a bullet in my head, listening to all those ass holes telling me what to think.” I just can’t bear to get rid of them after all these years and I like knowing they’re still around in case I may need one. Last night, getting tired of Derrida’s signifying shit, I was so happy to find a copy of Pinker’s “The Language Instinct.” So easy, funny…I swear I’ll finish this one today, tomorrow…


  2. I love that the Japanese have a word for that. But I’m a bit of a tidy freak and hate having books laying horizontally on top of other books on the bookshelf. It makes it look all messay – aargh. So only a precious few books can be kept and the others go to the charity shop.

    My comics are in strict title and issue order – all bagged, but they take up so much room, I’m thinking of switching to trades. I might have to box them, just to free up space on my shelf.

    I’ve got stupid Billy bookcases from Ikea, which mean you don’t have much flexibility on shelf height. So I have my big hardbacks at the bottom by author and in order of release date. And then paperbacks are grouped by author and then genre. It sounds like you have a lot more books than me.

    I have quite a few books waiting to be read – recent gifts. But they’re all by men (ashamedly) and because I’ve made 2014 my year of reading women, they will have to wait. For every book I read by a man, I’m making a conscious effort to read one by a woman.

    The answer to avoid tsundoku, is to use your local library instead 🙂

    I suffer from tsundoku more with videogames.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think you would like my bookshelves, they have a decidely messy look about them. I have less than 400 books these days which is an all time low for me, I also have a tsundoku of library books and a mounting fine as I keep forgetting to renew them in time. I guess it would make sense to either read them or return them really!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Book shelf porn is awesome – thanks for a new method of procrastination that I didn’t need! Pretty procrastination though…


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