Book Geeks have many phrases that are unique to us, and many that we have adopted from other communities. To help new-comers figure it out, and to give old-timers a bit of a giggle, I thought I’d compile the Ultimate Book Geek Glossary. Some of these are a little tongue-in-cheek, and no offence is intended! If you can think of any I’ve left out, or that you would like to see included, let me know in the comments!
Affiliate Links: Links many bloggers/vloggers put in their content, leading directly to a website where you can purchase a particular item, in this case usually books. Bloggers/vloggers will make a very small commission for any sales generated through these links. They are often time-consuming to add to content, and are rarely ever clicked.
ARC: Stands for Advanced Reader Copy. Usually distributed to reviewers, vloggers, and bloggers prior to a book’s official release date. Can also be referred to as a “galley”, “proof”, or “eARC” (in the case of an eBook). Can create excitement and hysteria. Can also result in stress if you still haven’t reviewed it by the release date…
Auto-Buy Author: When this author releases a book, you have to have it (if you haven’t already pre-ordered it). No matter what the topic, and no matter who blurbed it. Hell, no matter what the early reviews say, you will own it, and you will read it. Mediocre releases by auto-buy authors don’t put you off easily. Everyone has a bad day, you will wait for the next one, and it will be epic.
Bad Boy: Love them or hate them, bad boys are common features in fiction, especially in Romance. He’s independent and wilful (aka he does what he wants when he wants), and is often a little rough around the edges. He’s a heart-breaker with a 5 o’clock shadow. Indescribably irresistible to women. Some Book Geeks feel there’s a fine line between bad boy behaviour and an abusive relationship.
BEA: Stands for Book Expo America. An apparently phenomenal experience for book lovers and bloggers, where lots of fun is had, and lots of ARCs (see above) are distributed. Obviously, this occurs in America, so a lot of us miss out and take part in self-torture by constantly refreshing our Twitter feed while it’s on.
Binge Read: Reading a lot in a short space of time, with minimal pauses. Can also apply to watching movies and TV shows (e.g. “I binged Season 8 of Big Bang”). Involves sacrificing all other aspects of living. Can include reading until ungodly hours in the morning, resulting in a Book Hangover.
Blogoversary: Your blogging birthday. Often celebrated by hosting giveaways, and wondering how you’ve managed to keep your sanity while blogging for another year.
Blurb: Traditionally a short description of a book written for promotional purposes, usually found on the back cover. Can also be used to describe a favourable quote, by a recognised person or entity, to encourage others to read the book. These are often found on the front cover, or on the first few pages.
BookTube: A black hole, where once you enter, time zooms past entirely too quickly. A corner of YouTube where Book Geeks mingle. Includes unboxing videos, hauls, reviews, tags, rants, readathons, etc. Check out my favourite BookTubers.
Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend: The epitome of romance, and the answer to all of your burning desires. Makes you have all the feels. You may even swoon. Book Boyfriends usually have exceptional hair, wonderful arms, and are in touch with their emotions. Book Girlfriends are blissfully unaware of their own beauty, are “cool girls”, and are the only people in the world who can tame a “bad boy” (see Manic Pixie Dream Girl).
Book Hangover: Being unable to start a new book, because your imagination is still stuck in the previous one. Or, a book being so fantastic, emotional and/or wonderful that no subsequent book compares. Or, feeling like death the morning after the night before, because you stayed up so late reading (see Binge Read).
Book Hoarder: Book Geeks who own copious amounts of books. Will occasionally be heard talking about “culling” their collection, and yet never seem to get around to it. In extreme cases, will own multiple copies of the same book.
Book Sniffing: The act of deeply inhaling the scent of paper. Creates feelings of calm, joy, and sometimes euphoria. Book Geeks can usually differentiate between types of paper e.g. textbook, paperback, old or new etc., and usually have a preference. Most often done in private.
Book Snob: Condemns any and all literature that could be considered “popular” or mainstream. Claims to have read obscure classics, and sometimes carries them on their person to prove said point. Makes irrelevant references to ancient literature during normal conversation.
Canon: Content that is officially part of the original story in a particular book’s universe. For example, Hermione and Ron got together in Harry Potter, not Hermione and Harry. End of story. Can also be used by Book Snobs to describe “literary canon”, which means contemporary fiction is compared to classical fiction, and never deemed to be as good. See “classics”.
Classics: Describes literature that is widely acknowledged as having outstanding qualities, universal appeal, and can stand the test of time (i.e. we are still reading it 200 years later, even though no one can understand it).
Cool Girl: A mythological being (see Manic Pixie Dream Girl). Gone Girl provided the best description ever of a “cool girl”. I highly suggest you read it.
DNF: Stands for Did Not Finish, and means exactly what it says on the tin. A book, for whatever reason, you were unable to or did not want to finish. Some Book Geeks are better at this than others. Some of us suffer with FOMO.
Dog Ear: The act of folding the corner of a page in a book to mark your last reading location. Typically done when no bookmarks are to hand. Also typically done by unfeeling beasts who don’t care about their precious books.
Dust Jacket: The outer removable paper cover of a hardback book, used to protect it from dirt or damage. Generally has a decorative design. It can be removed when reading, or used as a handy bookmark. Removal of the dust jacket leaves a book “naked”.
End Papers: Found in hardback books, end papers have one half pasted against the inside cover, and the other half is the first free page. Book Geeks get very excited when these are beautifully decorated, especially with maps.
Epilogue: A piece of writing at the end of a story, that usually allows the author to wrap things up far too conveniently. Can make or break an entire book.
Fandom: A community that are collectively a fan of something, or someone. Big fans. HUGE. Fangirls/Fanboys are the female/male members of said community. They aren’t obsessive, they’re passionate.
Feels: An intense wave emotion that often cannot be expressed verbally, or with words at all. Often expressed in writing with “asdfghjk”. It’s an author’s favourite past-time to make their readers “get all the feels”.
FOMO: Stands for Fear Of Missing Out, and is the reason why many Book Geeks refuse to DNF. What if it gets really good just after the point where I stop reading?! It’s also the reason why Book Geeks buy a book they’ve never heard of, because all the other Book Geeks are reading it.
Genre: There are many, and it can get confusing. Book Snobs pride themselves on knowing all of them. Genres can be determined by literary technique, tone and content. Examples include Drama, Romance, Paranormal, Satire, Horror, etc. There are many sub-genres. Young Adult (YA) is not actually a genre, but it’s easier if we say it is.
Grabby Hands: Refers to the hand-gestures Book Geeks employ when a sought after new release comes out, or when there are many free ARCs in the vicinity.
HEA: Stands for Happy Ever After. The trope we love to hate. We don’t like it when there’s no HEA, but we complain when the HEA is unrealistic (which is all of the time). May or may not involve instalove. Some people live in a bubble and refuse to read anything that doesn’t end in HEA.
Hype: When a book is literally everywhere, and everyone is raving about it. You can’t escape it. Book Clubs are reading it, the movie rights have been bought, and even your distant relative (who never reads) has read it and said it’s wonderful. You go into the book with more than a little trepidation, because now that it’s been hyped up so much, it can’t possibly live up to it.
Indie: Nickname for an independent or self-published author. Book Snobs consider it to be any author not published by “the big five”. Sometimes indies are absolute hidden gems, diamonds in the rough. Sometimes they’re just rough. Cover quality is generally an indie indicator.
Info Dump: When an author gives a 25 page description of a character or setting, dumping all of the information on you at once, instead of incorporating it into the story. Often described as “telling” instead of “showing”. Common in Fantasy novels with complex world building.
Instalove: Something everyone hates, but secretly wishes would happen to them. A romance that escalates quickly, and is incredibly earth-shatteringly deep. It typically, but not always, involves teenagers. Can also be accompanied by lots of angst, and occasionally love triangles.
Love Triangle: Rarely well executed, and a pet peeve of Book Geeks everywhere. A complicated romance, usually involving one indecisive girl and two guys. One guy tends to be a long-termer, and one a hot new-comer. The long-termer is typically the “good guy”, and the new-comer the “bad boy”. Cue drama, angst, confusion, angst, increased testosterone levels, and more angst. The only thing worse than the “friend zone”.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A stereotype female character with the sole purpose of being the “cool girl”, and thus making every other woman feel bad about themselves, while simultaneously making every man feel like his girlfriend is a nag. Originally coined by film critic, Nathan Rabin, who describes MPDGs as, “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures”.
MC: Stands for Main Character. Is usually also the protagonist, and the hero of the story. Book Geeks lose their mind if these characters aren’t “likeable”.
NA: Stands for New Adult. A reasonably new concept developed when writers and publishers realised that life doesn’t stop at 18, and then get interesting again at 30. Typically feature themes such as leaving home, work and careers, developing sexuality (and sexually), drug abuse, suicide, and navigating friendships after high school. Pioneered by the likes of Colleen Hoover, who is wonderful.
Naked: Let’s not get too excited. This simply refers to a hardcover book when the dust jacket is off. How good does your book look when it’s naked?
OTP: Stands for One True Pairing. Used to describe the ultimate relationship, in your opinion (mine is depicted below). The one with all the feels, swoons, and relationship goals. The one that makes your heart soar when you witness it, and ache when you think about it. The one you drink copious amounts of vodka over, and cry while rocking back and forth, hugging your cat to your chest, because you know it will never be like that for you… *ahem*
POV: Stands for Point of View. Some Book Geeks have a preference when it comes to whose point of view we are witnessing in a book. The male, or the female. The victim, or the perpetrator. The innocent, or the guilty. Some Book Geeks also prefer stories from multiple POVs, especially in contemporary romance.
Prologue: The opposite of epilogue, this is a piece of writing at the start of a story, before you get to the good bits.
Reading Slump: The most awful thing that can happen to a Book Geek. This isn’t the same as taking a break from reading to binge watch your favourite TV show when it’s released to Netflix, or to socialise with the outside world (yes, it is still there). Oh, no. This is when no matter what you do, you cannot get into a book. Any book. You try all the genres. You pick up a new release by your favourite author. You meditate, mediate, and medicate. Nothing works.
Relationship Goals: Describes qualities of a relationship that make you pang with envy, get all gooey inside, or give you something to aim for with the fictional boyfriends in your brain. The couple everyone wants to be.
Shelfie: A photo of a Book Geek’s glorious book shelves. May or may not include the owner of said book shelves.
Ship/Shipping: A “ship” is a relationship that you want to see happen. You are rooting for these guys. In doing so, you are “shipping” them. Some authors make all of your dreams come true by making your ship a reality, some authors like to rip your heart into bits by making your ship sink (looking at you, Sarah J Maas). You can ship many couples, without them being your OTP.
Spoilers: A spoiler is something about a book’s story or plot that you were blissfully unaware of, until someone shattered your illusions and spilled the beans. Knowing this information can affect your enjoyment of the story. Some Book Geeks seek out spoilers, but most prefer to be forewarned of their existence. When you stumble upon an unexpected spoiler, your face does this:
Swoons: A specific type of feels. To be overcome with adoration, resulting in a faint-like sensation due to a rush of extreme emotion. Often results in daydreaming about the swoonworthy character, for they are now your book boyfriend/girlfriend.
TBR – Stands for To Be Read. Usually refers to a pile or a list. The physical pile being the books you own/borrowed that you have yet to read, otherwise known as the mountain of books that could crush you in your sleep. The list referring to a ridiculously long list of books, typically stored on Goodreads, that you could never hope of reading in three of your lifetimes.
The Big Five: The five largest publishing houses – Hachette Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.
World Building: The art of creating an entirely fictional universe that completely immerses the reader in the story. Much more difficult to do successfully than it sounds. Most commonly associated with Fantasy novels.
YA: Stands for Young Adult. YA is currently the fastest growing “genre”, usually with a protagonist aged 12-18. In years gone by, it was thought that YA books were read solely by that age range, but we now know any age range can read a YA book. Silly people throw shade at adult YA readers: