One of my favorite Japanese words is 積読 (tsundoku). It’s a portmanteau, derived from the compound verb 積んでおく (tsunde-oku), which means piling something up and putting it somewhere. The last three kana of the verb rhyme with the pronunciation of the kanji 読 (doku), which conveys the idea of reading. Thus, 積読 refers to the piling up of unread books.

So, are you guilty of 積読? Do you have books piling up on your bookshelves or in your e-readers? 読書家にとって、積読は密かな喜びです (Dokushoka ni totte, tsundoku wa hisokana yorokobi desu, For book lovers, “tsundoku” is a secret joy [guilty pleasure]). Well, it’s the perfect time to make a dent in your reading list because Oct. 27 to Nov. 9 is 読書週間 (dokusho shūkan, Book Week) in Japan.

This unofficial event initially lasted for one week alongside a Children’s Book Week in the United States. However, Japanese publishers, libraries and bookstores made the move to double the time frame in 1948, making 読書週間 last for 二週間 (nishūkan, two weeks).