The answer is – no I haven’t. I have not yet had enough hours in my life to have read all of the books lining my shelves. Most of the books I have read at some time, some I have just dipped into when needing to refer to something or looking up a particular reference. There are books that I have been given because people think I should read them (one from a previous work colleague who gave me “How to win friends and influence people” in order that I might learn a bit of tact!). There are books that I have had to buy to study a particular subject that I will probably never need again. And there are books that I bought because the cover looked interesting, but when I got into it I found it was as boring as washing up water.
And though there are books that I haven’t yet read, it is my intention to get round to reading them someday, and this time of isolation seems a perfect time to start to tackle some of those piles.
The Japanese have a word for it, it is TSUNDOKU which literally means a ‘reading pile’ and describes the act of piling up books and leaving them in convenient places ready for reading. And while Louise thinks they are scattered everywhere – actually the piles are carefully managed and rearranged and catalogued within my mind so I know exactly where everything is.
We are all, I think, guilty of TSUNDOKU in some way. But for many their TSUNDOKU, their reading pile, lies within the covers of the Bible. People do ask me if I have read the whole Bible, all 66 books – and to be honest – no I haven’t – not yet! Just recently I looked at Paul’s Letter to Philemon in the New Testament and I realised that I don’t think I have ever read this book. Containing just 336 words in the original Greek, it is by far the shortest of the Bible, but one which was part of my TSUNDOKU. But now it isn’t.
So I encourage you, to not just leave the books of the Bible piled up in your own TSUNDOKU. But to take some of this enforced isolation time, and to put some time aside, open the cover and immerse yourself in the good book!