Hard-Core Bookish Insults

Rachel Cordasco

Staff Writer

Rachel Cordasco has a Ph.D in literary studies and currently works as a developmental editor. When she's not at her day job or chasing three kids, she's writing reviews and translating Italian speculative fiction. She runs the website, and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

You may have seen this blog post of bookish insults floating around the internet, and they’re pretty amusing. But we here at the Riot figured that we’d try our hand at some really mean bookish insults- like, the kind of insults that would make your professors visibly cringe and send most well-adjusted people crying for their mommies. Now, Brenna recently gave us a new installment of literary Yo Mama jokes, but we’d like to add some more insults to the mix here. Enjoy, and only use when necessary because they leave scars.


“You so ugly, John Donne wouldn’t EVER write a love poem to you.”

“If Hawthorne had known you were gonna read his stuff, he’d’ve given up writing and become a sailor.”

“If you were a bird, not even Jonathan Franzen would be interested in you.”

“Hemingway and Orwell didn’t go to Spain to fight in its civil war; they went to get away from your ugly-ass face.”

“Raskolnikov wouldn’t waste the energy on you, even if you were the landladiest of landladies.”

“Even Joyce Carol Oates wouldn’t tweet about you.”

“You so lame, Stephen King would come to your house and take all of his books back.”

“You so laughably ignorant, Jane Austen would write a 10-volume series about you.”

“Ralph Ellison would happily throw you into the underground bunker, but he’d also remove all of the 1,369 lightbulbs.”

“You make Don Quixote look like he’s got his sh*t together.”

“You so obnoxious, Dante would’ve written in an entirely new circle of hell just to put you in it.”

“You know those really nasty Shakespearean insults? Yeah, they were all written for you.”

“H. G. Wells started writing about aliens because he met you and was so disgusted with humanity that he wanted nothing more to do with it.”