Unread books are more than just clutter

Mel Acosta , Opinion Editor

With its release on Netflix, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has taken the world (and internet) by storm. While its “spark joy” philosophy works for many different aspects of a tidy lifestyle, it misses a mark when it comes to book collecting.

Kondo stands strong with her idea of books kept needing to spark some sort of joy or pleasure for you. This concept is not so simple when it comes to the ownership of books.

Books aren’t written just to make us feel giddy, happy, and all around uplifted. Some are crushing and devastating. It’s absurd to believe that all the books you own should provoke only one type of feeling; books hold no standard other than to speak stories. Those stories don’t have to be perfect fairytales.

Sometimes, they’re supposed to help you see the bad and grow your understanding.

Besides the bases of “sparking joy,” Kondo also promotes the idea that books unread should be discarded. While I do believe it’s important to maintain your shelves and not keep just to keep, removing all your unread books doesn’t make you feel any more progressive.

In reality, you will feel much more successful when they are read. Or even just holding on to them long enough to realize they just aren’t the right type of books for you. Owning unread books is not shameful and should definitely not cause you to feel like a failure. You constantly have a goal you’re reaching for, and that, above anything else, keeps you motivated.

In one episode, Kondo says “books are a reflection of our thoughts and values”, but this is far from the truth. More often than not, they are a reflection of someone else’s.

If this concept were true, most successful writers would not be where they are.

Think about the books you own (or even just the books you like), do all of them indicate the kind of person you are?  The likely answer is, no. Books aren’t meant to have guidelines. They’re art, and art has no boundaries.

Our book collections aren’t supposed to face constant cut down. Instead, they should always be on the brink of expansion. We have the ability to gain so much knowledge, culture, and even open possibilities from reading. Enclosing yourself on basic ideals of “sparking joy” has the potential to break off the chance of finding a book that could change your entire life and perspective.

Here’s what you should do instead of worrying about your book load:  reorganize your shelves, discover books you want to read right now, books you miss and want to reread, go buy new books, or don’t.  The point here is that you shouldn’t feel confined when it comes to art, it’s our greatest form of expression and you should want to cherish as much of it as you can.  Despite what someone wants to tell you about “tidying,” it’s not the same story when it comes to books.