Tsundoku is a Japanese word describing the act of buying books without reading them. Long ago, I used to scorn people who complained that they had no time to read books. These were usually females that I had gone to university with, who had small kids. I thought they were using their children as excuses. Now that I have a child, I understand how parenting can take up so much time and lead to tsundoku. One has to play with the child after work. Other times one has to pay attention to make sure the child doesn't do what it ought not to. The demands on my time are obligatory because I am not the primary person taking care of the kid, so I have to do my share of the child minding. Also, I want to be a good parent and spend as much time as possible with the child.

The second reason I fail to read books is when the book is boring or the writing is difficult to read or the subject is of no value to me. There is no telling which books will be disappointing. The books I dislike most are those written like academic papers - full of long complex sentences interrupted by citations.

Some books, I dislike but finish because I want to brag. I know people who buy magazines for bragging rights. When I was in investment banking, my supervisor would always carry a copy of The Economist or Forbes to meetings. He would not read it in the car and he would hold it face outwards with his hand at chest level. I found it amusing.

Currently, I have about 10 unread books. The only time I can force myself to read such books is when I travel to countries whose language I don't speak. That means I cannot watch TV. And I decide not to buy a data plan so I cannot go online. When I am getting to the end of a book, regardless of whether I am enjoying it or not, I begin to get impatient. There is a sense of accomplishment in getting to the last page.

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