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"The Art of Buying Books and Never Reading Them" Topic

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24 Jul 2020 12:09 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Jul 2020 12:07 p.m. PST

Do you have a habit of picking up books that you never quite get around to reading?

If this sounds like you, you might be unwittingly engaging in tsundoku – a Japanese term used to describe a person who owns a lot of unread literature…


14Bore24 Jul 2020 12:26 p.m. PST

For heavens sake no, I doubt I have any book I haven't read.
( don't have a pile of lead I haven't painted either so maybe it's not a coincidence. )

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Jul 2020 12:54 p.m. PST

Do eBooks count? grin

William Warner24 Jul 2020 1:07 p.m. PST

"Tsundoku" can be blamed on sale and mark-down books. They provide bargains that can't be passed up, so most end up in a pile that grows ever taller. Sigh*

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian24 Jul 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

Also accumulating research and reference books grin

Gear Pilot24 Jul 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

I have books that I haven't read…yet.

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 1:47 p.m. PST

Time to buy a book on Tsundoku. Just in case I ever want to read about it…

Personal logo Silurian Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 1:48 p.m. PST

Exactly Bill! Research and reference.

For many of us here, that subtitle:
"Be honest, how many books on that shelf have you actually read cover to cover?"
makes no sense.
We know that perhaps in 4 or 5 years that one color guide or orbat in the $100 USD reference book we bought 7 years ago will make the purchase entirley worthwhile!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 2:51 p.m. PST

There is a distinction between reference material and books. I have hundreds of books that I haven't read, and my dad had unread books numbering in the thousands.

mquarmby24 Jul 2020 2:58 p.m. PST

I've done it once. When I finally managed to make some good money I went and purchased a fancy hardback copy of Lord Of The Rings. It proudly sits unopened next to my 'reading' copy of the same book.

Redcurrant24 Jul 2020 3:06 p.m. PST

I plead guilty – I have hundreds of books still to be read.

Wargamer Blue24 Jul 2020 3:12 p.m. PST

I have looked at the pictures in many of my Osprey books but I've never bothered to read them.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 4:00 p.m. PST

Of course.but most are history books. Literature I borrow from the library because they're already paid for.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 4:16 p.m. PST

A few – but not many and I am working thru them

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 4:19 p.m. PST

Yes.but if you wait to buy them latter ..either out of print or triple the price.

Chuckaroobob24 Jul 2020 4:21 p.m. PST

I have 2+ bookcases full of unread books. Nothing is worse than needing a new book to read at 2am, this way I can always find something.

skipper John24 Jul 2020 4:52 p.m. PST

I have over 60 unread books on my kindle. And I don't buy them unless they have a 4 rating or more. I keep reading but, I cant keep up with myself!! "Book Bub" gets me several times a week…

Syrinx024 Jul 2020 5:46 p.m. PST

I have a few quality print collections of authors who's writing I have partially read (in mangled paperback form) over the years. Plus a few collections that I plan to read. Even including my reference and history books it's less than 50.

I have never counted my ebooks or pdf reference books.

Der Krieg Geist24 Jul 2020 7:04 p.m. PST

I read my books as soon as I buy them. Most have been re-read multiple times also.

Legionarius24 Jul 2020 8:21 p.m. PST

I have recently read books that I bought 22, 8, and 5 years years ago. Some were bought on impulse, others were put aside as other interests interrupted. As I get older, I am trying to complete both my "lead mountain" and my pile of books.
It may prove impossible.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 10:36 p.m. PST

I think everything on my shelves other than reference books, and I'm sure I've used all of them at least a few times.

Unwatched DVDs, on the other hand: many years ago I worked near San Francisco Chinatown and discovered dollar DVDs at one of the hole-in-the-wall shops there. Chuck Norris movies I'd never heard of; all of the A Better Tomorrow movies; ninja-who-knows-what movies. I do have an excellent copy of Night of the Living Dead, which I have watched.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2020 10:56 p.m. PST

There's an awful lot of books I've started, but not got very far. Somewhere there is a book on the middle ages – I'm convinced that the professor who wrote it had been given a Thesaurus the previous Christmas. He might even have eaten it. Anyway, I found it so indigestible that I think I may have to pass it along to some other poor sucker


Huscarle25 Jul 2020 1:21 a.m. PST

I've got about 8k books, and I plan to read them all before I die. That said, my collection is ever-expanding (just like the lead-pile)…if I had to chose I would give up my minis rather than my books, but fortunately that isn't a choice (yet).

JimSelzer25 Jul 2020 1:54 a.m. PST

yes just like I buy figures I will probably never paint or games I won't get around to playing! I think it's human nature or at least it's mine.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2020 2:21 a.m. PST

Only books I have received as presents, and most of those have found happier homes via charity shops after a respectful period of time.

DVDs are a bain. I get them, and then never feel like watching them, even when they come on TV as I can 'always watch the DVD when I want'.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2020 2:37 a.m. PST

I have over a hundred unread books. I don't read as much as I used to but am chipping away on them. Lots of Ospreys etc unread used as references etc, Trying not to buy more books.

arthur181525 Jul 2020 3:56 a.m. PST

I can't claim to have read every book I own from cover to cover – some I just dip into to research some particular point/find a quotation, &c. – especially my dictionary and my thesaurus, which I probably never will!

15th Hussar25 Jul 2020 7:48 a.m. PST

Tonnes of them!

And Proud to say as such too!

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP25 Jul 2020 8:20 a.m. PST

I have quite a few. I told my wife I'd get rid of 18 linear feet (a bit less than six meters) of books after retirement. I'm working on it.
Te thing is, you just never know when you'll need a book. I read The Great Influenza earlier this year as part of lock down, and it has turned out to be a playbook for the ongoing pandemic.


bobspruster25 Jul 2020 10:33 a.m. PST

I own quite a few books, ebooks as well as paper…maybe 2,000. Lots of reference books. Can't say I've read them all, but they're just nice to have! And I'll buy more, for sure.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jul 2020 10:53 a.m. PST

Something over 1000 military histories and reference works on the shelves in three rooms, and too many were gotten decades ago when WW II was pretty much "it." Some of these became obsolete after the release of the Enigma Codes secrets, others are simply too massive on subjects now too depressing.

But for the last thirty years or so, pretty much everything is read upon purchase as my buying has become more targeted.

The Internet is a blessing in that I can find specific titles--brand new to very old--on the subject I'm currently working on, and frequently for a song.

But, the wise Japanese who coined that term would recognize me in a heartbeat.


Basha Felika25 Jul 2020 1:39 p.m. PST

Guilty as charged, m'lud.

I blame red wine, Amazon and passing references on TMP to obscure campaigns I've not heard of, which I'm never likely to game, but still ‘need' to know more about.

Even worse are the books I've now got 2 copies of, neither of which are read – again, I blame the last glass of wine late on a Friday night.

Earl of the North26 Jul 2020 3:58 a.m. PST

I have a stockpile of sci-fi and fantasy ebooks to read at some point and its ever expanding due to the availability of free books through Amazon (lots of self published authors release the first book in a series for free). I've also picked up a lot in sales to read later.

rmaker26 Jul 2020 10:29 a.m. PST

I have some, but the current isolation orders are helping reduce the backlog.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 2:52 p.m. PST

"read" = cover to cover? or can it mean skimming, or reading certain sections/chapters in depth.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP26 Jul 2020 5:12 p.m. PST

Over the years I had more money than time. Now that I am retired I have more time than money. So I have been catching up on books, DVDs, and model building. I am catching up on the books most rapidly, but still probably 100 or so left to go.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP27 Jul 2020 4:41 a.m. PST

Guilty as charged.
And I recently inherited the complete "Harvard Five Foot Bookshelf" collection and a complete set of Collier's History of Nations circa 1928, which I have no idea what to do with. I know I'll never read them, and I don't have room for them, and they're unlikely to be of use to a library.

KSmyth27 Jul 2020 3:47 p.m. PST

i have some, but not as many as I used to have. I try not to buy 'em until I'm ready to read them. I also get more e-books. Reference books are a different story and every time I part with one I regret it immediately. The Facebook Naval Wargaming group daily features great subject-related "Featured Kindle Purchases of the Day" that are always great deals. I've purchased a few, but mostly have them squirreled away for a rainy day.

Choctaw28 Jul 2020 1:57 p.m. PST

I was an avid book reader until I delved into the internet. The net has ruined my life.

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