Our Word of the Year (WOTY) for 2023 is Bookish

It’s a new year. A time for Fresh Starts. The out with the old, in with the new. It is a time for those New Year resolutions often made, never kept. We, The Crew, created our 2023 list of resolutions for Mystery Review Crew. During the process, we made a startling discovery. It went beyond being known as book lovers. It was one The Crew could not deny. We had to come clean, admitting who we indeed are.

The Crew are logophiles. As dastardly as it may sound, a logophile is a person who loves words. But it gets worse. We’re not just logophiles. The Crew are logomaniacs. Oh, yes! Not only do we love words, but we are individuals obsessively interested in words. Our obsession knows no bounds. It’s not just words, phrases, and idioms peppering our language; it’s also their origins.

Word of the Year: Bookish!

Even this article’s first paragraph contains an idiom, “out with the old, in with the new.” This saying has been around for hundreds of years and is attributable to many sources, including the Scots. Another is “come clean.” A common term in police speak. Where did it originate? The earliest use seems to be in the early 1900s in the U.S. and is likely a derivative of “making a clean breast of it.” A phrase that first appeared in the 1700s in a Scottish publication.

We’re not alone. There are many other logomaniacs. Why? Because word choice is at the intrinsic core of human intelligence and our ability to communicate. Words define us as a society and people. Words define our actions, character, and our world. Words captivate our imagination and hope or describe our despair and failures.

It’s not surprising that each year, from numerous sources, there is a WOTY, the Word of the Year. The WOTY is based on a single word to describe the relevance of issues influencing the public sphere. Our language is continually evolving, and the WOTY reflects the change, whether it is a new word or one that has gained popularity over the previous year. Some examples from last year are Covid, quarantine, perseverance, insurrection, sportswashing, woman, pandemic, vibe, and gaslighting.

For 2023, Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year is “authentic.” A term for something we’re thinking about, writing about, aspiring to, and judging more than ever. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, “authentic” had a substantial increase in searches during 2024, driven by stories and conversations about AI, identity, and social media accounts. 

Cambridge Dictionary’s 2023 selection, “hallucinate,” as in generative AI development, mirrored the rapid influence of AI technology. A word that is gaining intense popularity as people reflect on new technologies and the new ways in which internet culture has changed over the past year.

Oxford University Press, the world’s second-oldest academic press and the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, selected “rizz” as its official Oxford word of the year for 2023. “Rizz” is a slang term for saying you’ve got game or that you are a smooth talker who can easily attract a sexual partner. Is it social norms? We’re not sure. One of the new words Oxford dictionaries were rumored to be considering was, get this, “swiftie”. It revolves around the celebrity culture and type of behavior fans of Taylor Swift display. 

The word selected by the American Dialect Society was most enlightening. “Enshittification,” also known as platform decay, is a decline in online platform quality.

Collins Dictionary selected “AI”, the official definition meaning “the modeling of human mental functions by computer programs” for their 2023 word of the year. Considered to be the next great technological revolution, AI has seen high-volume lookup spikes in 2023.

Our Word of the Year Options

Mystery Review Crew is all about the plethora of words authors use to create thrilling plots, intriguing characters, and readers who love to read what they write. The Crew couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than with our WOTY, our Word of the Year. How intriguing and what a fun project. Such a cast of characters, or in this case, words to draw upon. Here are some of the different words that made it into our top picks.

Logophile: A person who loves words. A term that certainly describes most authors and readers.

Logomaniac: A person who is obsessively interested in words. This description takes a Logophile to a new level. 

Librocubicularist: Ever hide under a blanket as a child while reading a book with a flashlight? How many times did you get caught? If so you are a Librocubicularist, a person who reads in bed. Often, it is a pattern that carries over to adulthood, albeit without the flashlight or hiding under the covers.

Biblioklept: For our true crime entry, this one earned a few bonus points. A Biblioklept is a person who steals books. Here’s an interesting side note. From the advent of printing, Bookplates, decorative labels attached to the inside cover of a book, became a way to prevent theft of a valuable possession. Only the wealthy could afford books, and the bookplate identified the owner.

Hamartia: A flaw, typically a fatal one leading to the downfall of the heroine or hero in a tragedy. What an intriguing word. It’s definitely a Romeo and Juliet type of affair.

Bibliophage: A bookworm, an ardent reader. The word has an interesting origin. It comes from the Greek language. “Biblio” means book, “phage” to eat. A play on words indicated a reader’s insatiable appetite, though there were a few obscure references to bugs.

Bibliophile: A person who collects or has a great love of books. This might be an understatement for us at Mystery Review Crew. We have an overabundance of intriguing, often-read books on our shelves, stashed in boxes, and new titles on our TBR lists, which begs another question to be answered. Are there ever enough books?

Bibliobibuli: A person intensely focused on reading. So immersed in the depths of an intriguing plot, the reader loses contact with what is happening around them. Even to the extent that they don’t hear anyone speaking to them. 

Bookarazzi: A person who loves to take pictures of the books they read and post them online. Welcome to Goodreads, book blogs, bookstagram, and BookTok.  Not only readers but authors fall into this category.

Angsticipation: A feeling experienced after reading the latest book in a series, especially one that ends on a cliffhanger, and there isn’t even a date when the next book will be published.

While The Crew focused on the not-so-common words, other favorite words were not overlooked in our pursuit of our WOTY. These included fiction, mystery, and genre.

What word topped our list? The word The Crew believes best defines the essence of Mystery Review Crew.

The Lure of Words

The lingo, jargon, and descriptive phrases to captivate and leaving you turning pages.

We found J.R. Sanders book, Dead-Bang Fall, to be an eloquent and “a realistic bad guys vs. the good guy crime novel with intrigue and a labyrinth of clues and hints trying to connect the dots.

March 1939, and try as he might, private eye Nate Ross can’t seem to stay clear of Hollywood. His latest case, a penny-ante theft caper, turns deadly serious when one of the miscreants is murdered and Nate’s the prime witness. No sooner does L.A.P.D.’s number one suspect – a former friend and disgraced ex-colleague – turn up asking for Nate’s help than he goes on the run again, from both the police and Nate. 

Nate’s forced to come to terms with more than one ghost from his past as his struggle to prove his on-the-lam client’s innocence brings him up against hostile cops, a pair of rolling assassins, film pirates, mobsters, and a girl who may need his help or may be playing him for a chump. 

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Lou Kemp’s latest book has an amazing usage of descriptive words that pull you into a wonderfully imaginative world where history and adventure meet.

It is 1870, and the immortal magician Celwyn, the automat Professor Xiau Kang, and Bartholomew, a scientist and widower from Sudan, set out on another adventure.

The adventurers leave the North Sea aboard Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, chasing a pirate ship and Captain Dearing. The pirates have kidnapped friend and vampire Simone Redifer, not to mention they have stolen something precious from Captain Nemo.

Meanwhile, in Prague a dastardly murder forces Professor Kang back home.

The Wyvern, the Pirate, and the Madman is a steampunk fantasy filled with murder, magic, and adventure.

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Taylor Adams created a world in which a women’s words may just mean her death.
(*A Note to the Author… We love your books and please don’t be like the author in this book), if you know, you know.

After posting a negative book review, a woman living in a remote location begins to wonder if the author is a little touchy—or very, very dangerous—in this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense and terror from the critically acclaimed author of No Exit and Hairpin Bridge.

Emma Carpenter lives in isolation with her golden retriever Laika, house-sitting an old beachfront home on the rainy Washington coast. Her only human contact is her enigmatic old neighbor, Deek, and (via text) the house’s owner, Jules.

One day, she reads a poorly written—but gruesome—horror novel by the author H. G. Kane, and posts a one-star review that drags her into an online argument with none other than the author himself. Soon after, disturbing incidents start to occur at night. To Emma, this can’t just be a coincidence. It was strange enough for this author to bicker with her online about a lousy review; could he be stalking her, too?

As Emma digs into Kane’s life and work, she learns he has published sixteen other novels, all similarly sadistic tales of stalking and murder. But who is he? How did he find her? And what else is he capable of?

Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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  1. I have GOT to read Lou Kemp’s books! They sound like they’re just my thing. I need more hours in the day to read.

    And I always read in bed. Have since I was young. But I never hid under the covers with a flashlight. I waited until my parents were asleep, shut my door, turned on my light, and got to it. And I’d read until my mother woke up sometime during the night and told me to turn out that light and get to bed. LOL

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