Tsundoku – Japanese word for someone who buys books, let’s them pile up, but never reads them.
Are you a reader? Do you love books? Can you pass by a used book store or garage sale without perusing the titles on offer? Is there a stack of books on your bedside table, beside your crammed bookshelves or in the corner of your living room? Do you consider it a problem?
Most readers love to proclaim that you can never have too many books. For someone with a compulsion though, you can. A collection of a few hundred books may be acceptable for some, but when your book collection runs into the thousands of tomes, you might want to stop and assess your collection. As with any hoarding compulsion, too many of anything can detract from the value of it.
Bibliomania – excessive fondness for acquiring and possessing books.
While reading is a valuable tool to gain knowledge and enjoyment, when you find the stacks of books adding up, what you might not realize is that you never get the chance to read any of the books. As your to-be-read piles grow and grow, oftentimes so too does the dust. No matter how fast a reader you are, if you constantly purchase new books for your personal library, you will find there are not enough hours in the day to deplete those piles. The sad thing is, people who suffer from a compulsion may not even realize they have multiple copies of the same books. And in case you’re wondering, that isn’t a good sign.
When a habit gets out of control, there are several clues that you have a problem;
- your living space is compromised by your collection; ie, there are stacks of books on random furniture, piled on the floor, cluttering hallways
- you don’t have time to enjoy it; ie. new books are added to existing stacks with never enough time to read them all
- you spend more money on your habit than your budget allows; ie. you buy new novels versus pay for basic necessities like food or hydro bills
- you hide your collection; ie. never invite friends or family over to your home for fear they might criticize and endanger your books
Hoarding can be a serious condition, which should not be taken lightly. Don’t assume you can just throw away the source of someone’s compulsion and solve the problem. If you or someone you know has a problem, it is best to seek help.
That being said, sometimes we just have a few more books than we truly need in our libraries though. A good rule of thumb is for every new book purchased, an old one must be let go. Like clothing, if you think you will never read a book again, get rid of it. If there isn’t a spot on the bookshelf, choose your favourite books to keep and get rid of the remainder. Sometimes you have to be ruthless.
Of course, if you need to clear your hallway before you can host Christmas this year, Load of Rubbish can help. Not only do we collect your rubbish, but we also sort through items which may still hold value and donate them to charity organizations. Boxes of books need not end up in the landfill. Your old novels just might find new life on someone else’s bookshelf. So pass on your joy of reading to the next bibliophile out there and clear space in your home for… perhaps the next installment of a series by your favourite author?