09 September 2017

Presently, I am going through another period of  tsundoku, which is Japanese for "the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books".

Of course, I have my reasons excuses, which are mainly the four horsemen of the bookalypse: fb, twitter, instagram and blogs. Plus obsessively reading online news. (I am so with it, I am almost ahead of it all.)

My parents would not approve. And as a balancing measure, just in case my mother, in whatever shape or form she is currently haunting me, looks in and also to be prepared for my father's sharp comments that this in-ter-net (a dirty word in his vocabulary) surely spells the end of civilization, I have started to read three short aphorisms by Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 -1799) every morning.

My noble intention is to let them settle in my mind for greater clarity during the day. Thus, making me even more clever and to add wit to my conversations with society as a whole. I am kidding. There isn't a cat left in the neighbourhood I could talk to these days. Also, I am on triple antibiotics at the moment which make me nauseous and in dire need of distraction. Plus, vertigo is back, surprise, surprise, and I shouldn't really go about crashing into furniture or falling down the stairs.

My source is an actual - slim - book, albeit made of extremely lightweight paper, I inherited from my grandfather, complete with his faint penciled notes on the margins (mostly exclamation marks).

This is today's ration:

  1. The great skill of holding small deviations from the truth for the truth itself, is also at the same time the basis of our wittiest thoughts.
  2. Maybe our earth is a female planet.
  3. There are many people who are more unhappy than you. While this little sentence doesn't make your life any better, the shivers it sends down your spine make it worth repeating from time to time.


  1. I love that the Japanese have a word for piling up unread books.

    And I like the earth is female and she's pissed.

  2. I am caretaking a sick man, both of us in a sturdy ship, sailing forth, faith held tight in our fists. I am not unhappy with my lot, my love survived, and yet that third aphorism resonates like a gong. Life is complicated, good and bad together, and we pick our way through, carefully placing our feet. Thank you for this piece of a map, Sabine. I send love.

  3. Let me offer my expansion: tsundoku plus an optional prefix or suffix, meaning taking comfort in leaving the book unread but nevertheless communicating with it on a sort of personal wi-fi hook-up. Drawing strength from its physical nearness, speculating on its contents, estimating its eventual value. Plus, if it's thought to be "difficult", feeding the literary snobbishness that sustains us all from time to time.

    Three short aphorisms, forsooth. And "forsooth" may perform a similar function. Scattered about in discussions about modern phenomena, hinting - nay, proclaiming! - that the begetter may have seen a very rare production of Timon of Athens.

    For we are but the sum of our dictions and contradictions, some we may be proud of, others rather shaming. I have no cat to talk to, instead I gaze at my new computer monitor which has a curved screen. Space-time at either end. The salesman said curved screens weren't worth the money because one quickly becomes unaware of the curvature. But that's surely the point. A curve that may or may not be there.

    Earth is certainly not a female planet. But I'm forming a group to bring this about. I have faith in women and all my novels' central characters are women: tested then emergent. I mean, consider Marge Simpson.

  4. Lichtenberg ... hmmm. A Hessian for sure. I like the three you've presented here, Sabine. Now I have to ponder a bit on unread books, curvature, and words.

  5. I have a pile of half-read books I'm hoping to finish over the next couple days - as we will likely lose power here in Orlando. Earth has always seemed female to me simply because she endlessly gives birth.

  6. Oh you remind me that I really should start reading books again. I gave it up years ago after a year of a masters program in literature. The only thing I learned was how to dislike reading with intention. Our beautiful earth has always seemed female to me, as Colette says, so fertile and always giving birth. Take care there, Sabine.

  7. I don't know Lichtenberg. I'm not even sure I understand that first one! I have a bunch of unread books lying around too, but every few years I wage a concerted effort to read them all, and usually do pretty well at clearing my stack.

  8. Of course the earth is a female planet!