Woman breaks promise to herself, admits to buying new books before reading the books she already owns

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A local woman received several books in the mail this month, even though she had made a vow not to purchase new reading material until she had read the books already sitting on her bookshelf.

“I know I should read what I have first,” said Melissa Kutsche, 36. “But I got so excited…I couldn’t help myself.” Kutsche also admitted to checking out several titles from her local library branch in addition to purchasing books from her To Be Read (TBR) list. 

Kutsche said this is not the first time she has made (or broken) this type of promise. “I’ve done this before,” she confessed during our interview. “I commit to reading only books I own because I want to save money and maybe even clear some space on the bookshelf. But then I make the mistake of visiting ThriftBooks.com or [my local bookstore], and I have no self-control.” When asked why she visited those sites and stores at all, she said she thought she would just “browse.” 

Kutsche said she is sure she isn’t the only person who does this. Our investigation into her assertion found that there is a Japanese term for buying books and never reading them: tsundoku. It is not known how many people engage in this activity, but the shame and disappointment associated with the habit make it difficult to estimate.

“One of my goals is to read more,” said Kutsche. “I know I’ll read all of my books someday,” she added, with the slightest hint of hope in her voice.

Her husband, with whom she shares a home and bookshelf space, could not be reached for comment.

This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series “Breaking News.”

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