I tend to lean towards a minimalist mind set. I do not own many things and it really surprises people who come into my apartment when they notice all of the empty space and distinct lack of furniture and storage. When I moved to my current apartment, my heaviest box was filled with exclusively Japanese novels. As of right now I have a collection of 35 Japanese novels.
I felt a bit a shame when I thought about my book collection in the past. I had a good amount of books sitting around from when I lived in Japan, just waiting to be read. When I started to think about reading again as a hobby, my collection grew and grew bit by bit. I started picking out titles on bookmeter and purchasing them as I saw them at the Kinokuniya in Chicago. I went on a trip to see my best friend in LA, and purchased even more books from the LA Kinokuniya and Book-Off.
I started to feel fake, like the amount of books that I had did not reflect the amount of time I spent reading. I felt guilty about taking money that could have been saved for a future for my family and spending it on books that I was not currently using. I tried to justify it to myself as I was in the process of moving far away from Japanese book stores and would have much less access. But I still had mixed feelings towards my library.
Then COVID hit. I take staying at home very seriously. I work in the medical field and feel that I am high risk for getting COVID at work and do not want to spread it to others. In the beginning of COVID, shopping was difficult. It was hard to justify going to the store, and when I did go to the store many of the items that I needed where not in stock.
It made me rethink my minimalist mind set and think about what was important in my life. If there is an item that I need, or an item that is important to me, then I should have it in my house ready for use. I cannot count on what I need always being available for sale anymore. While I know things are getting better and stores are fully stocked, I still see the benefits of having a home well stocked with items that I will 100% use and love.
Now that I am staying at home and reading more, I am very happy to have the current book collection that I do. I am happy that I was a ‘book collector’ and am reaping the benefits of having a small library at my disposal. With out my library, I don’t think I would have ever been able to start this website.
Why you should buy a book ASAP
I think that everyone interested in reading Japanese novels should start with getting a small collection of novels. I think having books around your living space might be a good first step. You do not have to read the books all the way through to make them worth having. Even just glancing through a page once in a while can help motivate you and see how much you have progressed or where you need to start improving. I have had some books for years and am now just getting around to officially finishing them. It makes me feel like I’ve made real progress while reading books that I didn’t feel ready for previously.
Having a few different books to choose from makes me more likely to read. I tried to have books picked out in advanced as reading goals, but that didn’t work at all. I like being able to pick when I start reading. I like having the ability to take a break from one novel and start another.
I have just ordered 5 new novels and am in the process of ordering a few more from a different site right now and am really excited about reaching different reading goals in Japanese.
What I want to do with my life has constantly been evolving. At this point, my partner and I plan to move back to Japan with the goal of opening a language school based off of Stephen Krashen’s model of second language acquisition. In order to do this, I will need to create a huge media library of books at different reading levels to help guide students. I want to make this library public access so that people in the community will be able to use it as well. Once I move back, I will have even more reason to collect and review different Japanese novels and share my love of reading.
You have to have books before you start reading books. Its okay if collecting Japanese novels is apart of your reading journey even before you start reading. Novels are worth spending the money on as extensive reading is the path to literacy.