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The Bookish Acronyms That We Don’t Have (But Really Need)

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LH Johnson

Staff Writer

LH reads, writes and researches children’s books. She's also a librarian, blogger, and makes pretty amazing chocolate brownies. Cake and books, what’s not to love?

I think if you hang around any bookish corner of the internet, you’ll start to recognise a few acronyms. In fact, if you’re looking for a refresher, you can start here). And whilst DNF and TBR are great, I think it’s time for four new ones.


Meaning: “Harry Potter Retcon.”

Usage: When a series has started to retcon itself, you can simple remark “They’ve gone full HPR on these books” and start to work out whether you have the strength to keep on going. If you follow up with a comment on how the series is now stronger than you possibly imagined, and do it in an Alec Guinness impression, then you get bonus points.

Pronounced: AITCH-PEE-ARRRRR (me hearties).


Meaning: “Not If You Pay Me.”

Usage: There are books out there that I will not read. Ever. Twice Ever. Twice Ever Ever. When presented with one of these books, simply shake your head and say “I’m sorry but that’s a NIYPM” and skip back to your beloved part of the library and never talk to that person ever again.

Pronounced: NYE-PIM.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy“TTFLTWTL”

Meaning: “Tried To Finish Lost The Will To Live”

Usage: When you are reading the worthy book, the one that an elderly member of the canon club has recommended to you, the one that you think you should read, but every word is torture and you can’t even begin to feign interest in what’s going on. These are the TTFLTWTLs and life is too short to read books like that. (My TTFLTWTL? Tess of The D’Urbervilles.)



Meaning: “Time To Step Away”

Usage: This is one for those moments of self-care. Perhaps a book isn’t doing you any good emotionally, or the discourse around it or its writer is starting to make the reading of it less than pleasant. TTSA is a quiet way to acknowledge that you’re happier stepping away from that book—and equally, that you’ve got a right to do so.

Pronounced: TEE-TEE-ESS-AY.


Meaning: “Sticks To The Status-Quo”

Usage: Books should give us something different. An edge. An opportunity. A slight crack in the mirror that they hold up in the world. A voice being heard that wasn’t heard before. Not all of them do that. STTSQ can be a useful shorthand for those books that just repeat the world as is, and don’t call out or challenge that. Those books that could have been brilliant, could have burnt the world with every word, and just—don’t.

Pronounced: STAT-US-KEW (even more bonus points if you sing…)