Tsundoku

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“Too many unread books at home,” I sing-song to myself, even as I pull the paperback from the store shelf. “Don’t do it,” I plead, as the book makes its slow-motion arc into my shopping basket. “I don’t need this,” I think, as the cashier runs the back cover over the price scanner. And then, at last, it’s mine.

The book comes home in my car to meet the family, a rag-tag tribe I call my To-Reads. A small group of them hangs out on my nightstand, patient and beautiful. Some have set up camp on the five-shelf complex in the corner, listening to the Already-Reads tell old stories. A large number of them live inside my Kindle, asleep in its pretty striped sleeve. One branch of the family lives in a basket on the hearth in my living room: cousins visiting from a friend’s house down the road.

They are a happy family, collectively, and they love me. They are happiness and sadness, adventure and escape. And I love them back. I pull the newest addition from my bag, admiring its smooth cover and unwrinkled pages. I re-read the back cover, carefully peel price stickers, and introduce its friends. “I’ll see you soon,” I whisper, just as I have told the rest.

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