There are too many books in the world. None of us can read every book we buy, let alone every book that’s published. I’m a humble practitioner of the art of tsundoku (積ん読), buying many books and leaving them in strategically placed piles in the hope that I will pick them up and read them, or at least skim them in the methodical madness that is my never ending trajectory of research. The constraints imposed on our ability to consume books mean that one must have a good reason to produce them, to inject further textual obstacles into other people’s untidy piles. There are too many books that exist for no other reason than that someone needed to publish a book to further their academic career. What rhyme or reason they have is only articulated in retrospect, after the writing has largely been done, and often this is meagre comfort for those who have gone to the trouble of reading them through. Books should be written for a reason, even if that reason is: I really wanted to write a book (for its own sake).

There’s shelves, and then there’s the piles. The closer anything comes to actually being read the more entropy gets injected into the process.

There are not enough books in the world. None of us ever runs out of reasons to read new books, as long as we are alive and our curiosity hasn’t been terminally sated. The aggregate mass of human curiosity keeps expanding more quickly than it can be channeled to any particular purpose, and thus should it always be. This means that we should never run out of reasons to write books (for their own sake). As such, we have infinitely more reasons not to write books there is no reason to write, insofar as we should all be writing the books we want to see in the world. This doesn’t mean that every work of non-fiction should be bright, breezy, and stimulating, anymore than every work of fiction should be a rip-roaring adventure tale of piracy and romance on the seven seas. There are many good reasons to write books, some of which necessitate density, dryness, methodological cruelty, and various stylistic substitutes for unbridled enthusiasm.

I’ve had reason to begin writing several books over the years, but only one of them has been published thus far. My PhD thesis is a book in all but name, but I’ve never had reason to prioritise revising it for publication over my other equally unfinished projects. Hopefully, some of these other projects will be realised in print in the near future. One such forthcoming book is listed below.