<strong>Tsundoku</strong>

Tsundoku

The beauty of certain expressions in the Japanese language is that they positively transform some concepts that have a negative meaning for Western culture. For example, “kintsugi,” the Japanese practice of highlighting and embellishing fractures and increasing the value of a broken object. This technique involves repairing the object (for example, a broken vase in shards) using a precious metal (gold, liquid silver), making the so embellished scars evident. The term derives from “kin” (gold) and “tsugi” (reunite, repair, rejoin).

Like many of you, I have a tendency (more than this, it’s a fact) to buy and put more books on the bookshelf than I can read. And yet I still managed to reduce this gap by virtually archiving the books I would like to purchase on my reading list on Goodreads. But in any case, the speed with which I read is always slower than the speed of my book purchase. And this has always caused me a certain frustration, which shows no signs of diminishing, because in any case I am always… behind on reading. But even in this case, Japanese culture comes to rescue me, with the term “tsundoku“, which describes the act of acquiring material to read, but letting it accumulate in one’s home without reading it. The word comes from “tsunde-oku” (to accumulate things ready for later use) and “dokusho” (to read books). However, this mania takes on a positive connotation, Nassim Nicholas Taleb believes that surrounding ourselves with books enriches our lives and reminds us every day of what we do not know. I am relieved.

Since we are in summertime and close to ‘Ferragosto’[1], and many have more time to read – and I will try to recover part of the gap described above, with less anxiety – I’m taking this opportunity for my reading suggestions, which is actually one reading advice, the splendid box on sustainability classics published by Penguin Books: the “Green Ideas Collection”.

In twenty short books, Penguin brings you the classics of the environmental movement. Over the past 75 years, a new canon has emerged. As humans have driven the living planet to the brink of collapse, visionary thinkers around the world have raised their voices to defend it. Their words have endured, becoming the classics that define the environmental movement today.

From art, literature, food, and gardening, to technology, economics, politics, and ethics, each of these short books deepens our sense of our place in nature; each is a seed from which a bold activism can grow. Together, they show the richness of environmental thought, and point the way to a fairer, saner, greener world.

Twenty fundamental books, to be read quickly, and this… helps if you too have your “reading challenge” underway. Happy reading and happy August 😊

[Photo by Matt Perkins on Unsplash]


[1] Ferragosto is a public holiday celebrated on 15 August in all of Italy. It originates from Feriae Augusti, the festival of emperor Augustus, who made the 1st of August a day of rest after weeks of hard work on the agricultural sector.

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