The miracle of words

I stumbled across an article yesterday which really made me smile. It’s kind of reviewing, but also showcasing, a book by Ella Frances Saunders who is a writer and an illustrator. Lost in Translation is a book which depicts fifty words that are unable to be translated out of their native language and into English. These words have not transcended languages, although we may all understand some or all of the nouns, verbs and adjectives that they refer to, and sometimes wish we had a word for! I loved looking at the sample of 10 or so of her illustrations and the words that they represent. Almost every one felt like it was showing me a previously unidentified gap in my language.

Tsundoku. n. Japanese. Leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.

TsundokuTsundoku really jumped out at me as a word that I could really do with having in my vocabulary. I love reading. Getting lost in a good book is one of life’s true pleasures. It is amazing how words on a page can be so engrossing, transport you to another world, extract emotions that we didn’t know we had, and leave us at the end like we have been on a journey. I love those types of book.

My tsundoku is not as large as it used to be. Although my Goodreads account may say otherwise as I currently have 81 books in my to-read list. But, of the books I have purchased there are currently only 5 or 6 in the pile on my bedside table that I have yet to read, which is a significant improvement!

The reason “tsundoku” jumped out to me yesterday was because I had just started one of those books that has been in my to-read pile. Admittedly, I only purchased it at the tail end of December last year, so perhaps it does not really fit the true meaning of tsundoku.

I remember buying The Good Girl by Mary Kubica on a whim. It was not a book that was on my Goodreads list, nor on my book radar at all. I was killing time before going to the cinema, so popped into a bookstore to kill some time, and hopefully make a purchase. They had an offer on a selection of books; buy one and get one for £1. So £9 for two books seems very reasonable to me, and I’d always rather buy more locally than feeding the giant Amazon machine. The blurb of the book reeled me in.

“I’ve been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don’t know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she’s scared. But I will.”

From the very first chapter I was gripped. I started reading the book on Saturday afternoon whilst using a bike in the gym and I had finished it by mid-morning on Sunday. I have not read a book inside 24 hours since the final installment of the Harry Potter series was released and I read it during my shift working a part-time job at Woolworths! wpid-img_20150111_1306492.jpg.jpeg

The Good Girl is a story full of suspense, drama and written in such a way that makes your fingers turn page after page after page. It has similarities to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but I much preferred The Good Girl; the ending was just so much more believable, the characters felt more real, and the suspense builds right until the final chapters, unlike in Gone Girl where the suspense is ended mid-way through.

I’m aiming to read 24 books this year, and if I find anymore gems like The Good Girl I will smash my target!

So, how big is your tsundoku?

lisa sig


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