KonMari for Tsundoku

When book piles grow like bamboo

I know. I’m a broken record. It’s all about Short Fiction for me. But I read this and I couldn’t help myself. I had to respond.

Tsundoku is the stockpiling of books never consumed.

A past reading of this would warrant a comment about rampant consumerism. Today’s reading has me more optimistic. I’m the number one abandoner of a good long book, guilty of consuming more than I can. There are stacks piled around the house, one atop another. Spines measured in inches, they grow like bamboo.

My wife — bless her, knowing it’s hopeless to stop me — has chosen to arrange our books by color in the shelves (which is a thing). When she did this for the first time, I admit, I handled it poorly.

“How will I find one when I need it?”

Arms crossed. Foot tapping. A look like, you gotta be effing kidding me, right?


Long ago, I made a decision to fill my reading hours with fiction. All the non-fiction, while noble in intention, was killing me intellectually. Or as Stephen King put it:

“The primary duty of literature is to tell us the truth about ourselves by telling us lies about people who never existed”- Stephen King

It’s true. I found I could get more with fiction. Then, more recently, I made a decision to fill my reading hours with Short Fiction. Call it KonMari. Call it anti-Tsundoku. Anyway, precisely for the anxiety created when a longer work goes unfinished…

In spite of our best intentions, there’s some pain in not finishing what you start. Solution? Stop starting longer things.

Have I stopped completely? No. I still can’t resist a good long read from someone whose shorter works I’ve stumbled upon. But I spend the majority of my time with the short stuff. And that’s OK. It’s more than OK. It’s necessary. If not for me, then certainly for my wife.


Hi, I’m Kelly. I am the co-founder of Great Jones Street, a Medium publication focused on buying great short fiction from writers you probably never heard and never knew you could get addicted to. You might thank me later. Also, we have an app where all the stories are free.