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The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

af John Koenig

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
454655,444 (4.3)10
Poetically defining emotions we all feel but don't have the words to express, the creator of the popular online project of the same name invites readers on his epic quest to fill the gaps in the language of emotion.

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I found this entrancing at first, but didn't read it all the way through. I love the concept, though, and the book-as-object, with its small trim size and gold-and-black covers.

See also: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan


n. the act of deliberately refusing to learn the scientific explanations of things out of fear that it'll ruin the magic...
Danish forklaring, explanation. Pronounced "fohr-KLEER-ing." p. 29

There's a certain art to becoming who you are. There's no standard kit you can use to assemble yourself, swapping out parts as needed. Instead, it feels more like a kind of stretching, a teasing out at the edges, like a glassblower standing at the furnace. (63)

n. the frustration of being stuck inside your own head, unable to see your face or read your body language in context, only ever guessing how you might be coming across...
From point of view + ism. (75)

Your life is not just a quest, or an opportunity, or a story to tell; it's also just an experience, to be lived for its own sake. (78)

n. the fear that your partner is changing in ways you don't understand, even though they might be changes for the better, because it forces you to wonder whether your relationship needs a few careful nudges to fall back into balance, or perhaps is still as stable as ever, but involves a person who no longer exists.
Middle English fere, partner, companion + heresy, deviation from established practices or beliefs. (90)

Sonder: the awareness that everyone has a story. (123)

n. the atmosphere of camaraderie when people are stuck together in a certain place...which leaves them no other option but to be present with each other, with nowhere else to go, and nobody else to be.
From locked up + fullheartedness (126)

anemoia: nostalgia for a time you never experienced (167)

n. the feeling of loss that you never had a chance to meet a certain person before they died, which compels you to try to get to know them anyway...
Latin appetiare, to appraise, + ad pressum, after. (169)

adj. frustrated that you can't force yourself to remember something, even though it's right on the tip of your tongue... (170)
  JennyArch | Jun 3, 2024 |
Thought provoking, brilliantly written, deep, fascinating and szygnatic (I made the last word up).
I read the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows steadily across the year, primarily because the content requires time to consider and too many new words in one sitting lessens the impact.
The book was so good, I plan to have a couple of weeks off to begin again in January and take another year to re-read the book. ( )
  CraigGoodwin | Dec 18, 2023 |
Got this for Christmas, although for some reason, it was delayed. No matter, it was well worth the wait. I confess I haven't "finished it" because it is a dictionary of sorts, and I keep in the bathroom to read a bit at a time. Who cares. Move on.
Physically, the book is beautiful, feels good in the hand, and is visually appealing, in a sort of well, in an alternate universe, this book could have magic and power. It should hum or have fairy sparks coming from it. It does have power, truly.
This is a dictionary of words that don't exist but should, to describe the feeling of certain moments like looking wistfully out a windowpane that is dripping with rain. The words are carefully constructed, often with Latin roots, such that they SHOULD exist, and well, now they do.
I think the title may be a bit misleading. This is not a volume designed to make one despair, to get the hankies out and boo-hoo along with the saddest songs one can think of. Rather, it is a poetic journey through fleeting moments and recognitions.
For example: Echthesia: noun A state of confusion when your own internal sense of time doesn't seem to match the calendar--knowing that something just happened though it apparently took place seven years ago; or that you somehow built up decades of memories in the span of a year and a half.
I sure have this and am delighted to have it put to words. I assumed my woogie sense of time was either early onset Alzheimer's or a byproduct of being the child of alcoholics. There's hope, then.
Wildly creative and wise, these new words rearrange my brain a bit and make me yearn to write poetry. Unfortunately, to date, I don't seem to demonstrate an ability for same, but this would surely help.
Poets? Writers? Dreamers? Bibliophiles? You need this dictionary. Ha-ha, pun intended, take not mine, but Mr. Koening's word for it! ( )
  JEatHHP | Aug 23, 2022 |
I have been in love with The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows for many years, always overjoyed to see the words floating around, and always wishing they'd be arranged in a physical copy someday and I am beyond thrilled to see that finally happen!

This book is beautiful in so many ways. Even though these are made up words to express feelings it makes my heat jump to come across one that perfectly describes the feeling or mood I'm experiencing in a far more eloquent way than I could come up with on my own.

I can not wait until this hits shelves I will absolutely be purchasing my very own copy. Fellow word nerds, writers, anyone with deep emotions should be lining up for this one as well.

Thank you NetGalley and John Koenig and publisher for allowing me to view an e-copy in exchange for my honest opinions. ( )
1 stem chasingholden | Apr 26, 2022 |
A dictionary of made up words that put meanings to obscure feelings. I loved it, I kept saying I know that feeling! Some of the words made me think of certain people in particular. A book to flip through at random. ( )
  bookdrunkard78 | Jan 6, 2022 |
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Poetically defining emotions we all feel but don't have the words to express, the creator of the popular online project of the same name invites readers on his epic quest to fill the gaps in the language of emotion.

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