Let’s Talk with Diane Stuckart

Diagnosis…Incurable!

By Diane Stuckart

Yes, I have it. I’ve suffered from this condition for years…actually, for most of my adult life. It’s an ailment that primarily afflicts readers and writers, though some regular folks get it, too. I never knew this syndrome had a name until recently, when I stumbled across a web article describing the all-too-familiar symptoms.

To my surprise, a formal term exists for my disorder: Tsundoku.

The online Collins Dictionary describes Tsundoku as “the constant act of buying books but never reading them so that they pile up in one’s room…[f]rom the Japanese tsumu – to pile up- and doku- to read.” In other words, book hoarder’s disease. Or, as I like to call it, “The Never-ending To-Be-Read Pile”.

Though it’s not like I wanted to be this way. My fellow sufferers will agree that it’s one of those things that sneaks up on you. Once you have accumulated a TBR, it’s difficult to rid yourself of it, mostly because by the time you finish one book, another couple have somehow been added to the stack. The obvious solution is to quit buying books, or simply limit the purchases to Kindle downloads. But it’s not quite that easy.

As an author, I buy books from my fellow writers at signings. I get them in conference swag bags, am sent them from editors for blurbing, or receive them as gifts. Or maybe I see a review of the latest must-have tome and order it online in the dark of night. And while I appreciate the convenience of ebooks, I’m old-school enough that I do my best reading with a real live book in hand.

You probably have your own TBR pile – maybe one taller than mine – and by now you’re wondering, what’s the big deal? So what if we have stacks of unread books in our homes? Who does it hurt?

Usually, that answer to that is, no one…not unless the stack topples over onto one’s foot. But the other day, I was asked for the second time by a very lovely fellow writer if I’d had the chance to read the book she had gifted me several months back. I was embarrassed to tell her that it was still in my TBR pile…and that it still was a good distance from the top. It’s not that I don’t want to read it, it’s that time is short and the pile is so very tall!

But that conversation spurred me to take action, and so I’ve decided in the new year that I’m going to make a concerted effort to read down that stack. I’m not going to call it a resolution, because those things break way too easily. Let’s call it a no-pressure attempt to put my syndrome into temporary remission. I’ll shoot for a book a week…or maybe every two weeks. Or heck, one a month. That will mean twelve books down by the end of 2019.

And if that doesn’t work, I have a Plan B. I’ll take my husband’s suggestion and turn the pile into one of those cool side tables made from stacks of books.

How do you handle your To Be Read pile?

While you’re here, check out our Booklover’s Bench contest, open from January 1-18, 2019. We’re giving away a $25 gift card through a Rafflecopter drawing. To visit the contest page, CLICK HERE.