The Shock of Recognition…???

Stacks of books on table

Angela Liao explains what the Japanese term tsundoku means – and how to pronounce it.

She then offers several methods of dealing with it.

Several of these suggested “remedies” sound promising. Or you can skip them all and enjoy the solace offered by Liao’s final paragraph:

However, if the mere presence of the beautiful stacks can bring you joy and lift up your mood, then you have nothing to worry about. As British fiction writer Jeanette Winterson said, “Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it.”

Found at Bookstr


So Many Books, So Little Time

Books and hourglass

If you haven’t already realized that during your lifetime you will manage to read only an infinitesimal portion of the books available to read, you might – if you want to get really depressed – take a look at these calculations 0ver at Literary Hub.

Found via Literary Hub’s Facebook page

“On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books”


Over at Literary Hub, blogger Summer Brennan thoughtfully examines whether it makes sense to apply the clutter-ridding principls espoused in Marie Kondo’s bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to one’s personal book collection.

The comments of readers of Brennan’s essay are as thoughtful as the essay itself.

Whatever you think about this dilemma, I think we can all agree that hanging onto or getting rid of books is far from a rational process.

This is definitely one of the best essays on this topic I have read. A bonus is Brennan’s hyperlinked list of nonprofit agencies that will accept any books you do decide to “let go of” in any of your impulsive or long-put-off purges. (And don’t forget your local public library, most of which also accept donated books in decent condition.)

Found at Sue Searing’s Facebook page

What to Read Next?

Booklovers everywhere can find themselves vacillating between two poles: the pole called So Many Books, So Little Time – and the pole we could call Whatever Shall I Read Next That’s Going to Be As Wonderful as This Book I’ve Just Finished?

Our anxiety about finding a really good next read can cause us to forget that other readers have read – and loved – some really great books! And while there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to what you, specifically, might enjoy, another bibliophile’s fave can pan out to be one of yours.

The Internet, of course, is one source of reader recommendations. For example, you can find FlavorWire’s list of ten famous writers’ favorite books here. There are thousands of similar book lists on the Internet, which Mr. Google can help you find.

There are also plenty of books devoted to valorizing particular titles, such as the 2007 title whose cover is featured here. This book features summaries of 544 different titles cited by 125 different writers. A compilation of simiar book-recommening titles can be found sprinkled throughout the Atlanta Booklover’s Blog’s  “Books about Books” section. You don’t have to buy these books: you can borrow them from your local library.

Finally, there are databases available that try to identify books with similar locales, writing styles, time periods, etc. One of the best is NoveList, available  to anyone with an Atlanta-Fulton Public Library borrower’s card. (You’ll find a list of databases on the library system’s website.)

With all these resources – plus whatever you may have scribbled down onto (or input electronically into) your own personal TBA (To Be Read) list – we hope you’ll never have to wait too long between One Amazing Read and The Next One.

Confessions of Another Book Addict

Wherein we learn to our chagrin that a Google search on “book clutter” yields over 18,000 results.

Read Gabe Hash’s delightful blogpost at Publishers Weekly, “The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books.” Also enjoy the empathic comments from Hash’s readers, including those who mention that they’ve tried to at least partially replace their book-buying habits with book-borrowing (from their local public library).

Found via The New Yorker’s Book Bench

A Brief Sampling of Reading Recommendations from Shelf Awareness’s “Book Brahmins”

Alert readers will have noticed that one of this blog’s favorite sources of information is Shelf Awareness.

Not only does Shelf Awareness have its ear to the ground for recent developments in the great wide world of bookstores, but it regularly features one of the best resources we know of for garnering intriguing ideas for any avid reader’s Must-Read list.

“Book Brahmin” is what Shelf Awareness calls this treasure trove of interviews with various individuals in the printed story-telling business – mostly authors, famous and otherwise. What’s unique about this running series of interviews is that the set of questions is always the same, and many of those questions are satisfyingly specific about the interviewee’s favorite authors and books.

Taken together, the highly-regarded books and authors treasured by the interviewees constitutes a perfect Mother Lode of considered book recommendations.  And the other information included in these interviews – including the other questions and answers – are also consistently interesting, as are each interviewee’s remarks about why he/she regards a particular book or author so highly.

Hoping this feature might lead you to either sign up for the Shelf Awareness newsletter or to make the Shelf Awareness website one of your Internet Favorites, below is a sampling of what several selected questions in some of the most recent interviews revealed. You can check the website for its archive of additional “Book Brahmin” interviews.


Joseph Epstein (interview posted 11/30/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • Leon Tolstoy
  • Marcel Proust
  • Willa Cather
  • Max Beerbohm
  • George Santayana
Italo Svevo’s Confessions of Zeno; Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard; Arlene Croce’s Dancing in the Dark

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”
Henry James’s                The Princess Casamassima Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past


Lawrence Dorfman (interview posted 11/28/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • Jim Harrison
  • Tom McGuane
  • Richard Price
  • T.C. Boyle
  • Stephen King

BOOK by Robert Grudin

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”
God Bless You,                 Mr. Rosewater                  by Kurt Vonnegut

The Stand by Stephen King


Dennis Cooper (interview posted 11/18/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

Of all time:

  • Maurice Blanchot
  • Arthur Rimbaud
  • Alain Robbe-Grillet
  • the Marquis de Sade
  • Raymond Roussel


  • John Ashbery
  • David Foster Wallace
  • Pierre Guyotat
  • Steven Millhauser
  • Gary Lutz
Agota Kristof’s trilogy          The Notebook / TheProof /   The Third Lie, known collectively as The Book of Lies

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”

Arthur Rimbaud’s               A Season in Hell

The Present and the Past       by Ivy Compton-Burnett


Jacqueline Carey (interview posted 11/16/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

For historical fiction:

  • Mary Renault
  • Robert Graves

For modern literature:

  • John Steinbeck

For fantasy fiction:

  • Guy Gavriel Kay

For gritty contemporary novels:

  • Dennis Lehane
 The Horse of Selene by Juanita Casey 
“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”

Little, Big by John Crowley


Paul Russell (interview posted 11/11/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • Joyce
  • Proust
  • Mann
  • Woolf
  • Nabokov

Mark Merlis’s An Arrow’s Flight

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles; Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks; J.L. Carr’s   A Month in the Country; William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow

Finnegans Wake


Michael Cannell (interview posted 11/9/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • Erik Larson
  • Robert Caro
  • Tom Wolfe
  • David Halberstam
  • Hampton Sides

    Rules of Civility                    by Amor Towles

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”
Robert Capa: A Biography by Richard Whelan Hemingway’s                       The Sun Also Rises

María Dueñas (interview posted 11/4/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • J.M. Coetzee

   “…and 499 writers more”

    The Corrections                    by Jonathan Franzen

“Book that changed your life?”

“Book you most want to read again for the first time?”

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

A World for Julius by Bryce Echenique

Mary Curran Hackett (interview posted 11/2/11)


“Top 5 Authors?”

“Book you’re an evangelist for?”

  • Dave Eggers
  • Alice McDermott
  • Colm Tóibín
  • Charles Dickens
  • Tobias Wolff

What Is the What                  by Dave Eggers

“Book that changed your life?” “Book you most want to read again for the first time?”
Sharon Salzberg’s Faith

A Tale of Two Cities               by Charles Dickens

Hats off to Shelf Awareness for being so book reader-friendly with its carefully-crafted and extremely useful set of  “Book Brahmin” questions. We predict you’ll find plenty of personal booklist fodder therein – especially if your reading tastes run to titles other than the ones that happen to constitute the current bestseller lists.