The Literary Hipster’s Handbook — 2004 Q1 Edition

“Book Babe”: A book critic who makes crude generalizations and cowers in the face of literature.

“Coetzee”: To snarl during an interview. (Ex. The subject prefered to Coetzee rather than answer the stupid question.)

“drowning in Mitchell”: Whereby the avid reader obtains the oeuvre of a “difficult” writer, with an overconfident swagger and the vain hope of being ahead of the curve, only to find themselves thoroughly confused by previous books (such as Ghostwritten) in anticipation of the next labryinthine title (e.g., The Cloud Atlas). (Ex. I thought I had the time for the Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon, but it looks like Neal has me drowning in Mitchell.)

“Gabo”: In its original use, “Gabo” was a nickname for Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Now it is used as shorthand for any author’s name that a reader is fearful of uttering in full. Particularly used with names that Caucasians have difficulty pronouncing, such as “Jose Saramago.” (Or: Oprah Winfrey.)

“Jayser”: An act involving inserting leaflets into multiple copies of a hardback after several shots of hard liquor.

“plowing the dark”: Refusing to leave a library or a book collection and failing to experience life. The term was inspired by the obsessive readers drawn to Richard Powers’ intricate yet spellbinding books. Often, readers who plow the dark must have a book forcefully extracted from their fingers. The process of plowing the dark is, in most circumstances, altruistic. But somehow a forceful argument must be propounded by the friend hoping to recalibrate a heavy reader’s sanity.

“tanner house”: To face unreasonable expectations before taking on an important task.

“to Tivoli”: The original verb transitive involved an older human behaving like a child. The usage has now broadened to include older readers who read books that that are clearly beneath their regular comprehension. An example would involve a septuagenarian guffawing over Mad Magazine or E. Nesbitt. It is also worth noting that the initial pejorative use has lightened somewhat since its entry into the vernacular in February, and is now used in an affectionate context. (Or. Sarah Weinman)

World Book Day: Any well-intentioned event that falls upon deaf ears.