Over a month ago, I learned the Japanese term “tsundoku“, an informal word meaning buying books and not reading them, letting them pile up unread on shelves, floors, or nightstands. Well, I’ve been ‘tsundoku-ing’ so bad this year, which isn’t really new, if not for my pledge in January that I will only buy 12 books this year. Who actually believed I could live up to it? I think no one did.
I was doing well until one sunny Sunday in February when I bought three books from Booksale. I termed my slow spiraling out of control as “It went downhill from BROOKLYN” as one of the books I bought that day was Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn. It was the 7th book I bought but I surrendered the pledge that day. Four months after, here I am, with a total of 38 books to add to my skyhigh book dump. It didn’t help that my mother regained her contemporary romance reading bug, and indulged me each time I wanted to go to a bookstore. She also went back to treating me to a book or two whenever I was recovering from being ill (let’s say I’m manipulating this practice to my bookish advantage).
It’s not that I threw money away because most of my purchases are from Booksale (the Robinsons Ermita branch may consider giving me an award, really) — and well, money spent on books and food will never count as wasted EVER in my book. Of this year’s buys, I consider the books I bought in Hongkong as my most expensive splurges. But hey, no regrets.
On the left is a gratuitous shot of my pile from January to April, pre-pox. When I recovered, that’s when I “rewarded” myself with regular trips to bookshops again. I am proud to say I bought plenty of Philippine-published works this year, in preparation for my Filipino reading month in August. I still bought books by authors whose standalone books I read before (or haven’t read, I just tsundoku’d, so ugh completist tendency) — for example: Marilynne Robinson, Tom Wolfe, Dean Koontz. For the second time since I started buying books on my own, I bought a duplicate copy of a book. It’s fine, for they are not identical. I may even start collecting different covers of books I love, although as of now, only one book comes to mind: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. So if you are thinking what to give me, there’s a giveaway hint right there. HAH. 🙂
I know I will not stop amassing books this year because the regular discount season of local bookstores (August to October), the Manila International Book Fair in September, and the 3rd Filipino Reader Conference in November are looming ahead. Anyway, as my constant desire since I had this crazy beautiful affliction, I hope to read more books than usual, even though it will never balance out the books I rake in. I know I have written practically this same post many times in previous years, but I don’t know, I just cannot get over how amazing this experience is.