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Tsundoku – The art of reading too little

  • Posted on May 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Tsundoku: (n) buying books and not reading them; Letting books pile up unread on shelves, nightstands and floors.

Every writer has been given the talk about how in order to improve your writing you should do one thing above all else. Read, read, read. And how many of us end up in tsundoku? How many of us leave these words to sit on the page, undiscovered, untapped, unlearnt? However, I’m not here to talk about how much we should be read, read, reading. Today I’d like to talk about joy.

Specifically, the joy of discovering a new word. You see, I had never known tsundoku had an actual word tied to it. I had just thought that letting books you meant to read sit and collect dust required just the whole thing said as I have just said it. To have it broken down into three syllables, a few hiragana, a few kanji, and to finally learn it, it’s a sort of joy I’ve only recently found.

As with my absolute favorite word, sonder, I found a sudden sense of wonder at the world around us, and the words in which we use to describe it. Since, I have added a list in my bullet journal that I call ‘New Words’. In this, I have collected several words that have caught my interest and that I’m attempting to use in every day life and in my writing. Along with it, I’ve included a few other lists. “Word roots” to teach myself more about the roots of these beautiful words we use to communicate. “Daily details” to record the symbolisms and tiny beauties in my daily life. “Six word stories” to begin practicing brevity.

These are things I want to incorporate into my life so that I never lose the childlike wonder I had when I first cracked open a book and then devoured it in a single afternoon. I hope to never lose the wonder my child-self felt, but sometimes I feel it slipping away. In those moments, little discoveries like this bring it back forthwith.

I leave you with a list of places to search out new words:

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