Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Towering Tsundoku -- BOOK THOUGHTS


Towering Tsundoku

"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."
– W. Somerset Maugham in Books and You.

After a sort through the other day, my unread nonfiction books are newly organized. Of course, my shelf space did not grow, so they are still stacked on the floor of my home library. But at least they are stacked in a more orderly way, not teetering and toppling when anyone goes near and not blocking the overflowing shelves.

I love nonfiction, including travel writing, books about food, books about books, general memoir, expatriate memoir, biography, house and home books, popular history, and general nonfiction. Some of my favorite nonfiction authors are Simon Winchester, Susan Orlean, Nora Ephron, Peter Mayle, and M.F.K. Fisher. The nonfiction authors most represented in my TBR stacks and on my TBR shelves are William F. Buckey (from my dad), Elizabeth David, Nancy Mitford, Mark Twain, and John Updike. I do not have as many matching sets as I do with fiction books, but I am a sucker for NYRB Classics, especially the nonfiction ones. 

But two things keep my TBR nonfiction stacked on the floor instead of arranged in alphabetical order (by author) on my shelves, like I do with my TBR fiction. First, when we build our home library, I had way more fiction than nonfiction. So I dedicated one whole wall to my unread fiction books and only one bank of shelves along the opposite wall for unread nonfiction. I had no room for any more nonfiction books, but of course acquired more faster than I could read them and make space. Second, as much as I enjoy nonfiction, I always end up reading more fiction than nonfiction, resulting in tsundoku towers wherever I find space.

I daydream about a time in my life when I can start reading at the top of one of these stacks and read straight down the stack, right to the bottom. 

My current nonfiction read is An Omelette and a Glass of Wine by Elizabeth David. I had hoped to finish it last weekend, but am savoring it slowly. Next up is Menagerie Manor by Gerald Durrell. 

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