15 New Words for Book Nerds

Sea Stories

Tsundoku” is an informal Japanese word that refers to the act of buying books and letting them pile up, unread.

This is a great word for book nerds! But we thought there ought to be a few more. After all, dedicated readers experience a lot of different book-related emotions—and they are nuanced, complicated, and often slightly outside the realm of non-reading-related experiences. That’s why we’d like to introduce a collection of brand new words, to help us express exactly what we are feeling in our book-loving hearts and minds on any given day.

When something terribly sad has just happened in a book you are reading, and you want to burst into tears, but you know that you’ll feel ridiculous trying to explain yourself if anyone asks.

Example: “I was so deeply afficted by the ending of Eleanor & Park that I had to bite my wallet to keep from crying when I finished it on the bus this morning.”

When you finish the latest book in a series, it ends on a serious cliffhanger, and there isn’t even an estimated publication date for the next book in the series yet. (!!!)

“I just finished A Dance with Dragons, and now I’m filled with angsticipation waiting for the next book to get a release date!”

When you finish the last book in a series and there are no more books left in that series but you are not emotionally prepared to begin a new series just yet.

“I just read Allegiant, and it’s left me utterly bookklempt. I just can’t pick up another book right now.”

The next-day tiredness you experience from staying up all reading.

“I was up until 4 a.m. finishing Gone Girl, and I am so chaptigued I can barely function at work today.”

The dizzying euphoria you get from inhaling just a bit too much of that “new book” smell.

“I just huffed a brand-new collector’s edition box set of the Harry Potter books, and almost passed out from delitrium.”

What you shamelessly do when you discover that a favorite author has a new book coming out soon. Often accompanied by a smug little happy dance.

“Did you see how excited she was about the new Rainbow Rowell? She could NOT stop glowting.”

Reading a sad book for the umpteenth time and hoping against hope that this time, the ending will be different somehow.

“It was my third time reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, but the madgedy is, I still allowed myself to hope that maybe this time, Randle Patrick McMurphy would triumph against Nurse Ratched.”

When you’ve stopped reading a book just long enough that you keep putting off starting it up again, because it’s going to take a few long moments to re-immerse yourself in the story.

“Three-quarters of the way through a charming book about alpacas, mehnertia struck and I let the book sit untouched for months.”

When you haven’t yet finished a book, but you realize that it has already begun to establish a permanent place in your heart as one of your all-time favorites.

“I’m barely halfway through A Visit from the Goon Squad, but I can already tell it’s going to be a favoread.”

When you pick up a book you’re sure you’ve never read before, but it feels very familiar somehow.

“I know I’ve never read anything by Rita Mae Brown, but there’s something in Murder, She Meowed that’s giving me page-a-vu.”

When you’re barely halfway through a new book, but you’re already telling several different friends that they absolutely must read it.

“Ok, I haven’t finished it yet, but I can tell you right now that The Goldfinch deserves a heap of premacclaim.”

When you recommend your very favorite book to a close friend and they tell you that they read it, but didn’t really like it.

“I never thought I’d ever rageammend The Hunger Games to anyone, but my sister-in-law couldn’t even finish it.”

When you’re furious at yourself for putting off reading a certain book until now, when you feel like you should have read it years ago. You could have reread it at least 3 or 4 times by now!

“When I reached the last chapter of The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, I was filled with readgret that I hadn’t read it way back when everyone first started recommending it to me.”

When you finally, finally get around to starting a book you’ve been meaning to read for years. (And it’s great!)

“So I’m finally reading—and loving!—Middlesex! What a readlief.”

The guilt you feel when you start a new book you just COULDN’T wait to get to—while you were still in the middle of a perfectly good other book. Sorry, other book! It’s not you, it’s me.

“Even though I couldn’t put down Cop Town, I still couldn’t wait to start The Quick, and it’s filled me with swapshame.”

What are some book nerd words we may have missed?

  • Readenfreude – when you experience joy at how much someone else loves one of your favorite books. “Seeing how much my sister adored The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay gave me a serious case of readenfreude.”

  • Tina Tome

    I think “rageammend” should be when a book (or character in a book) really makes you angry, but it was still so good you have to recommend it to others.

    • Or when you kinda hated a book and you want someone else to read it so you can rant about it together.

  • Cameron Bennett

    It’s interesting how almost all of them are portmanteau words.

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