Have you ever wondered about the lives of each person you pass on the street, realizing that everyone is the main character in their own story, each living a life as vivid and complex as your own? That feeling has a name: “sonder.” Or maybe you’ve watched a thunderstorm roll in and felt a primal hunger for disaster, hoping it would shake up your life. That’s called “lachesism.” Or you were looking through old photos and felt a pang of nostalgia for a time you’ve never actually experienced. That’s “anemoia.”
If you’ve never heard of these terms before, that’s because they didn’t exist until John Koenig began his epic quest to fill the gaps in the language of emotion. Born as a website in 2009, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows has garnered widespread critical acclaim, inspired TED talks, album titles, cocktails, and even tattoos. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows “creates beautiful new words that we need but do not yet have,” says John Green, bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars.
By turns poignant, funny, and mind-bending, the definitions include whimsical etymologies drawn from languages around the world, interspersed with otherworldly collages and lyrical essays that explore forgotten corners of the human condition—from “astrophe,” the longing to explore beyond the planet Earth, to “zenosyne,” the sense that time keeps getting faster.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is for anyone who enjoys a shift in perspective, pondering the ineffable feelings that make up our lives, which have far more in common than we think. With a gorgeous package and beautifully illustrated throughout, this is the perfect gift for creatives, word nerds, and people everywhere.
"Creates beautiful new words that we need but do not yet have."—John Green, New York Times bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars
“These aren’t real words, but if crysalism and ellipsism don’t perfectly sound like their meanings, I don’t know what other words would.”—George Takei
“Brilliant.”—New York Magazine
“Expressed beautifully.”—Washington Post
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 34 members
I have always been a fan of The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows since its Tumblr days. I am glad to see the words that I love will be printed into an actual dictionary. This is a great gift for any logophiles out there. I certainly will be getting one for myself.