June is bustin’ out all over! It’s been one string of blooms to another, wisteria to rhododendron, phlox to peonies to clematis. Here in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania the weather has taken its good old time to warm up and brighten up with sunshine. That hasn’t stopped the outside chores. Around the inn we have been planting flowers and pulling weeds, mowing grass and fixing deer fences. Personally, I like sprucing up the yard and being outdoors, cloudy days and a bit of drizzle can’t stop me. On the other hand, wearing fleece jackets or full out downpours does get depressing after a string of days of that kind of weather. All that has changed, summer is almost here and it’s time to get away for a day or two (or three or four) of pure relaxation. Let our gardens and wildlife refresh and replenish your spirits. Enjoy our satiny soft sheets on pillow comfort mattresses. Grab a good book, find a comfy chair inside or out, forget the phone and don’t lift a finger. Time for that getaway!
When you travel to a Bed & Breakfast you most likely remember to pack a book, after all you are headed out for a relaxing vacation, right? If the B&B you are headed for is the James Manning House you are certainly going to find plenty of reading material in your guest room and in the common rooms, perhaps stacked in a corner, maybe on the coffee table, even in the basket in the bathroom. We like to provide books for our guests to read. There are books on the local history, on traveling, and loads of novels of all themes. Our excuse for all these books has always been “for the guests”, but then someone sent me the following article. We might just fit the following definition of: tsundoku. How about you?
There’s A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books
Than They Can Actually Read
In fact, most literary types are pretty proud of the practice, steadfast in their desire to stuff shelves to maximum capacity. They’re not looking to stop hoarding, because parting with pieces of carefully curated piles is hard and stopping yourself from buying the next Strand staff pick is even harder. So, sorry Marie Kondo, but the books are staying.
The desire to buy more books than you can physically read in one human lifetime is actually so universal, there’s a specific word for it: tsundoku. Defined as the stockpiling of books that will never be consumed, the term is a Japanese portmanteau of sorts, combining the words “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”).
We were reminded of the term this week, when Apartment Therapy published a primer for those looking to complete book-hoarder rehab. Several blogs have written on the topic before, though, surfacing new and interesting details about the word so perfect for book nerds everywhere.
While most who’ve written on the topic of tsundoku use the word to describe the condition of book hoarding itself, The LA Times used the term as a noun that describes the person suffering from book stockpiling syndrome, or “a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor, on shelves, and assorted pieces of furniture.”
Tsundoku has no direct synonym in English, Oxford Dictionaries clarified in a blog post, defining the word as “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.” An informative sub-reddit provides even more context, explaining that “the tsundoku scale” ranges from just one unread book to a serious hoard. “Everyone is most likely to be ‘tsundokursed’ one way or the other,” it warns.
According to Quartz, tsundoku has quite a history. It originated as a play on words in the late 19th century, during what is considered the Meiji Era in Japan. At first, the “oku” in “tsunde oku” morphed into “doku,” meaning “to read,” but since “tsunde doku” is a bit of a mouthful, the phrase eventually condensed into “tsundoku.” And a word for reading addicts was born.
Speaking of addictions ― the term “bibliomania” emerged in England around the same time as “tsundoku.” Thomas Frognall Dibdin, an English cleric and bibliographer, wrote Bibliomania, or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance in the 1800s, outlining a fictional “neurosis” that prompted those suffering from it to obsessively collect books of all sorts.
Bibliomania has a dark past, documented more as a pseudo-illness that inspired real fear than a harmless knack for acquiring books we won’t have time to read. “Some collectors spent their entire fortunes to build their personal libraries,” Lauren Young wrote for Atlas Obscura. “While it was never medically classified, people in the 1800s truly feared bibliomania.”
Tsundoku seems to better capture the lighter side of compulsive book shopping, a word that evokes images of precariously stacked tomes one good breeze away from toppling over. While there’s no English equivalent quite as beautiful, no one’s stopping you from incorporating the Japanese word into yourregular vocabulary.
“As with other Japanese words like karaoke, tsunami, and otaku, I think it’s high time that tsundoku enter the English language,” Open Culture wrote in 2014. “Now if only we can figure out a word to describe unread ebooks that languish on your Kindle. E-tsundoku? Tsunkindle?”
January is Cabin Fever Month! There hasn’t been much chance to shovel snow, but it’s always nice to sneak away, forget the phones, (and work) for a little R&R. Can’t you just close your eyes and picture yourself curled up in front of the fire with a good book? Or maybe you’d like to engage your partner in a board game, or take the time to piece together a challenging puzzle. The James Manning House can provide all that for your retreat. Visit www.jamesmanninghouse.com
AND then we’ll add a hot, hearty comfort food breakfast to energize should you decide to venture outdoors. Manmade snow has been covering the slopes, and the black diamonds are calling the skiers. Perhaps there will be snow on the ground to enjoy the typical winter sports, such as snowshoe trekking, or cross country skiing, or maybe to ride the sleds. Why not try something without the snow? The ice is now thick enough for some ice-fishing and the perch and panfish are very hungry. Prompton State Park has trails to hike, from easy to hard, open all year round. The park is also home to an 18-hole Disc Golf course, which never closes. Nature provides wonderful natural ice sculptures for the nature enthusiast and photographer to find. Without snow, and minus the leaves and insects of summer, geocaching is fun in the winter. Visit www.friendsofprompton.com.
Not an outdoor enthusiast? Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy on an Eagle Watch Experience. Right in our back yard (so to speak) the Upper Delaware River and surrounding region is one of the largest and most important bald eagle wintering areas in the northeastern United States. The visitor’s center of the Conservancy is open weekends throughout January and February. They offer tours or can give guidance for your own observations, such as good spots for you to view from your own car. Visit www.delawarehighlands.org.
Stay with us and shop our stores in downtown Honesdale. Have you visited the newest antique store, Union Chapel? Enjoy an evening at the Cooperage for some down home fun and entertainment. January has some interesting entertainment including game nights, open mike night, and performances by The Paramounts, Scott Ainslie, and Oren Fader. Visit thecooperageproject.org
Get away from the rat race, beat the winter blues, skip all the drama and reconnect with comfort. Reserve your two night stay at the James Manning House and enjoy the comforts of home; a queen bed, private bath, TV in the room, wi-fi, and electric fireplace in the room. The hospitality station is always filled with coffee and teas, but we will also treat you to some cappuccino and home baked goodies. Call us to reserve and let us know you’ve been reading and you will get two nights for the price of one! The only rules are that the nights are consecutive, in January, and no other discounts apply. Cabin Fever runs from January 5 through January 30.