Decoding Bookish Slang & Favorite Reads of 2015

BookTube embraces a whole new set of terms. In this post I review some of the ones that really stumped me.

Hi everyone! Today, I wanted to talk about bookish slang.

I don’t know about you but I’ve always been a bit behind when it comes to embracing slang. I think it’s because I’ve generally been more focused on learning English and also  because I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to most things in life. Even so, I really love learning new terms and, yes sometimes, fully embracing them as I tend to overuse the same terms over and over and over again—prime example, the word “amazing” or “adorable” or “lovely”. (Is there a word you tend to overuse? Please share and maybe share an alternative you’d like to embrace.)

Anyway, 2015 was the year that I discovered the BookTube community and with it a great assortment of new terms and phrases I’d never heard of before, which was both fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

Here are just a few of the terms I’ve especially found troublesome.


Bookish phrase: “So and so is bae… ”

The way this word is used is what confuses me. It almost sound like it’d relate to being at bay; which I immediately knew I had all wrong as it’s used in a positive way. It seemed more like a term of endearment instead of a way of cautioning “so and so”.  

Definition: Before anyone else (a.k.a. babe, baby, boo, lover, sex) (Source: Urban Dictionary)

After looking up its definition I realized that I really love this term. It is so sweet and, yes, a bit unexpected hence I will most likely fully embrace this term.


Bookish phrase: “I ship them.”

My reaction: Where will you send them?

Definition: To “ship” a couple means to have an affinity for it in one way or another; a shipper is somebody significantly involved with such an affinity, and so forth (Source: Wikipedia)

So…to “ship” a couple means that you love the idea of the couple together more than apart. If I were talking about a couple I especially love, I would simply say they are perfect together…they are meant to be…they ought to live happily ever after…or simply my happily ever after (when referencing the story not my reality; I’m very happy with my husband (aka. The man of my dreams.).

Point being, I’m not a fan of this term as to me it sounds impersonal.


Here’s another toughie. I really had a hard time understanding the context of what the person was saying when they referenced an OTP.

Definition: One True Pairing; meaning your favorite combination of characters in a fandom. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

In other words, the perfect couple; similar to SHIP, but not quite. I think the main difference is that the word SHIP is applicable to more than just a romantic pairing whereas an OTP mainly references a romantic pairing.  

To be honest, I don’t see myself using this term very often as, again, I find it very impersonal. I appreciate its use but it just doesn’t flow well when I say it so that’s another reason I won’t be using it.


These terms are very commonly referenced within the book community, mostly in a negative context and most often DNF rather than DNR.


DNF—did not finish (Source: Urban Dictionary)

DNR—did not read (Source: Urban Dictionary)

I DNF’d a book for the first time last year. I started reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond and was absolutely blown away by how beautiful the writing was as it was very descriptive and lyrical. Cynthia Bond is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to storytelling. I only read the first part of the book and at first fully intended on going back and finishing the book but the story made me so sad. I didn’t just cry, I sobbed at one point as the story got so intense. It was here that I decided to put the book down and come back at a later point. Before putting it down I flipped to the back and read the Author’s Note, which left me stunned for words. Here Cynthia Bond explains that many of the events that happened—many of them tragic & heart wrenching—were based off of real life events. She derived inspiration from her students experiences as well as from her ancestors. Knowing all of this made continuing with the story unbearable as topics such as rape and abuse are not topics I deal with well…at all. Cynthia Bond’s book is brilliantly written, but I can’t bare so much trauma, hence I will not finish this book.

Having said all that, I think DNF’ing a book is quite telling of a person’s taste and really important when taking into consideration their perspective as a fan and critic. I think it helps us understand one another better and we shouldn’t be afraid of admitting to not being able to finish a book especially when the book made a striking impression on you—positive or negative.  

Book Porn—

I am unabashedly in love with it! Just take a LOOK! I think it’s pretty self-explanatory. (Even I understood it’s meaning upon first hearing the term but I just couldn’t not include this link. These images are just so stunning!!)

Book Hangover—

Another commonly used term, I couldn’t quite deduce without a little assistance as it seemed so similar to a “reading slump”. I thought they were synonyms for a while there, but in fact they are very different. (I think I thought that because a biological hangover renders you inoperable for so long. You kind of feel like you’re getting over a slump when experiencing a hangover.)

Definition: When you’ve finished a book and you suddenly return to the real world, but the real world feels incomplete or surreal because you’re still living in the world of the book. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

Ever had a book hangover? It’s brutal...I experienced one after finishing the first book in The Hunger Games series last summer. The only way I managed to get over it was by talking about it and really dissecting the ideas presented in the book that were most impressive to me. (I go into detail in this video.)

Reading Slump—

Definition: A reader’s worst nightmare; not being able to pick up a book and read because you just can’t, you just can’t read. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

Upon first reading this definition, I thought it was awfully close to a “book hangover”, but really a book hangover can cause a reading slump and a reading slump may or may not have anything to do with your book hangover. (It’s kind of like the rule—a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square. In this case a book hangover often causes a reading slump but a reading slump doesn’t cause a book hangover.)


Commonly used, again, in a negative way.

Bookish Phrase: “My TBR keeps on growing and growing…”

My reaction: Where is it? Why is this a problem?

Definition: To Be Read (Source: Urban Dictionary)

The fact is many things contribute to your TBR (to be read) pile—continuous purchase of books, watching book related videos, browsing Goodreads, etc.. I think most book lovers feel the worst when it comes to purchasing of books and not reading them right away. I, personally, don’t see anything wrong with this instance—as long as it’s not creating a financial burden or a situation where you can’t live comfortably with your collection of books. But that’s just me…what are your thoughts?


Definition: Advanced reader copy. A free, not-quite-final version of a book often distributed to reviewers or book convention attendees. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

For the longest time, after figuring out what this term meant, I thought it would be the coolest thing to be given an ARC of a book. I thought, “I’d be so honored to be provided with the opportunity to read a book that is close to being published…hopefully one day I’ll get the opportunity to read one…” Well, sure enough the day came and I jumped at the opportunity. I wish I could say that the experience lived up to all of my expectations, but it didn’t. It was a total flop. Not so much because I didn’t fancy the plot, but more so because it was bursting with grammatical errors. The thought that this could be a possibility never crossed my mind…I wasn’t expecting a perfect book but a nearly perfect book. I received a less then imperfect book. It was bad. Really bad. Following this experience, I’ve been much more cautious when accepting ARC’s as I really don’t want to waste any time, whatsoever, on a book that hasn’t, at least, been proofread.

There are many more terms I’ve discovered, and have yet to discover. These are just a few that have been ongoing issues with me. What are some of yours?—book related or not I’d love to hear!


2015 Favorite Reads