Made-Up Words for Literary Experiences

Rita Meade

Staff Writer

Rita Meade is a public library manager (and children's librarian at heart) who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Here at Book Riot, she hosts the Dear Book Nerd podcast, a bi-weekly bookish advice show. She reads as much as she possibly can (and it's still never enough), reviews children's books for "School Library Journal," and is the author of a forthcoming picture book called Edward Gets Messy (Simon & Schuster Young Readers, 2016). She also occasionally writes about funny library stuff over on her blog, and even less occasionally sings in a librarian band. Blog: Screwy Decimal Twitter: @screwydecimal

A few weeks ago I had a reading experience that I imagine most book-loving people have from time to time. Naturally, I tweeted about it because that’s what you do when you feel an emotion these days, right?

It’s one thing to not enjoy a book. I mean, that happens all the time. It’s another thing, however, to not enjoy a book that you had to wait a long time to read, for whatever reason (in my case it was because the book, which shall remain nameless, had many holds on it at my library). It’s the total letdown after the build up of anticipation that makes it hurts so much, like a disappointing tax return or not getting a pony on Christmas when you were a kid. (Unless you DID get a pony as a kid, in which case, you’re not allowed to complain about anything ever.)

Rebecca Schinsky, genius that she is, repsonded thusly:

She was right. There SHOULD be a word for that. And since there isn’t, we tried to invent one. (My best attempt was “disabookment,” which just goes to show you that I shouldn’t be inventing words.)

Other, smarter people on Twitter had some good ideas for this particular reader experience:

Anticipression” – @ninjaeditor

Reader’s Avoidery” – @Janineveazue

I think you’re suffering from Causal Vacancy.” – @noveldoctor


Of course, there are countless reader experiences for which there are no hard and fast terms coined. So I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends if they had any phrases they’d made up to define their own experiences. Here are some of my favorite submissions (in alphabetical order, because I’m a librarian like that.)

“I call books I give up on 50-Pagers. I gave it 50 pages and it sucked, so I quit.” – Book Riot contributor Emily Gatlin

“Reading several books at one time without being able to commit to just one of them.” – NYC writer Michael B.

The state of being confused by a book’s plot. – @wnylibrarian

“Named after the band, this is what happens when you fall in love with an author and they blow you away and with each subsequent book you’re blown away a little less.” – Book Riot contributor Jodi Chromey

“When you come to the end of a book and cover the final page with your hand or sheet of paper and read line by line, so as to not accidentally read the final, final words, and also to maximize the finish.” – Brooklyn Librarian John Leighton

“An unfinished novel.” – Children’s author and pun lover David Lubar

“When you lose track of a book right before you get to the end.” – Book Riot fan on Facebook Diana Brooks

“Quickly and shallowly reading tons of books to keep up with trends.” – David Lubar (again!)

“When a book is so bad you want to throw it at the wall.” – Rebecca Schinsky

Those were just a few examples. Feel free to add more in the comments, if you are feeling clever.

I hope all of your reading experiences are positive ones. (And if they aren’t, I hope that, at the very least, we can joke about them.)


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