The Literary Hipster’s Handbook, 2006 Q1 Edition

“Almond”: (n.) Generally, a talentless and paranoid midlist writer who believes in conspiracies and hallucinations. Almonds often have difficulty understanding eccentrics and are fond of convincing editors to pay them to spew embarrassing bile. (They may not be aware that the editors are using an Almond’s bluster to sell more issues and could care less about the Almond’s perspective.) Almonds are not to be confused with Ayelets, who are not aware of their embarassments. Indeed, an Almond revels in exposing his own shortcomings (while strangely concerned with mythical priapisms) and prefers bluster and TMI to craft and nuance.

“deco-op”: (v.) To not acknowledge the Litblog Co-Op in any way with the theory that the lack of attention will drive hardcore litbloggers insane. (Short answer: For hopeless cases, it does happen.) Literary hipsters might decide to deco-op when they learn that the Litblog Co-Op has picked a book considered “too popular.” Inevitably, most deco-opters, faced with the alternative of King Wenclas, generally return to the Litblog Co-Op’s pages for comfort or send hate mail to Mark Sarvas, blaming him for their problems.

“to dog out”: First overheard in a Brooklyn dive in reference to Ana Marie Cox’s move to nonfiction after Dog Days‘ terrible reviews, the term “to dog out” has now officially replaced “to dodge the issue.” Dogging out generally involves an author momentarily disappearing from the cocktail party scene and is particularly applicable to authors who are overhyped by the New York Times. There is very frequently heavy drinking and self-pity involved in “dogging out,” but, despite the term’s origins, sodomy is frowned upon during the healing process.

“frey up, to”: To betray readers in the most vile and self-serving manner. Hipsters should note that for extreme freyups, they should not say, “He really freyed up.” It is more common for hipsters to use “jamesfrey up” for extraordinary betrayals. (Ex. I always knew Caitlin Flanagan was a fuckup, but she jamesfreyed up her career after the Hustler spread. Now, not even the neocon soccer moms can take her seriously.)

“Leroy”: (n.) An unapproachable and socially maladjusted freak who attends author readings, often pretending to be the author. Leroys are mostly harmless. However, if you are a Hollywood actor or a literary figure, you may be pestered by a Leroy for attention, far more than a rabid fan. Literary hipsters are advised to disregard any and all Leroys. It’s really not worth it.

“Wickett, to” (v.) To seemingly occupy every known literary function. Alt. definition: To never rest or take a vacation. The term originated from the ongoing work of Dan Wickett and is generally used in a celebratory context. (Ex. William T. Vollmann Wicketted another 600 page novel while his family opened their Christmas presents.)

“Zadie”: (v.) To avoid interviews after saying something foolish or unfortunate to the press.


  1. Man, this, Frey and the Wholphin in a row. You are one cranky bastard, but that’s why I love you.

  2. Yesterday, Bookninja queried, “Maybe we should have a contest to come up with a new category name for books like Frey’s… ‘Fictoir’, or ‘Memtion’, or ‘Autolieography’ or something. Any ideas?”

    I suggested “freyction.” Feel free to add it to your handbook.

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