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Tsundoku vs Reading

Today is National Foundation Day in Japan, a country which, I confess, has always fascinated me.

I couldn’t tell you how it started, but it was probably an encounter with a manga comic or a photograph depicting a world so unlike my home in the Scottish Highlands that I couldn’t help wanting to know more. So I read more, learned more and grew desperate to travel there and be part of it.

That I had the opportunity to live and work in Japan is a privilege I’ve always been grateful for. I loved the kids I taught, the food, my colleagues, the landscape, the food, the oddly contradictory culture, did I mention the food?

While I loved my time in Japan, I do remember the difficulty of finding books in English in the relatively small city I called home, even though the Japanese love their books. Japanese has a wonderful term, Tsundoku (積ん読) translated as 'the art of buying books and never reading them' and it was wonderful to see the beautiful collections owned by my Japanese colleagues and friends.

The ‘book people’ among the ex-pat community, however, would exchange any reading material we had. The selection was far from broad and consequently, I have read both Pynchon and the Twilight series. Let us never speak of it.

These days, though, book people abroad have access to reading material that I would have killed for. Japanese readers have ready access to Sandstone Press titles such as: the award-winning Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi; Ruth Thomas’s delightful The Snow on the Works and the Northern Line; a story of the ‘healing power of place’ in the form of Linda Gask’s Finding True North, sure to soothe the soul of anyone far from home at this difficult time.

So whether you're a reader or a collector, we'd love to see how far from home our books have reached! Tweet or tag us on Instagram, we can't wait.

Jokha Alharthi

Jokha Alharthi

Linda Gask

Linda Gask

Ruth Thomas

Ruth Thomas