Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Saturday 27 May 2023

So many words…so why can’t I find the one I need?

A post that celebrates the sharing of favourite authors and provoking reciprocal responses. Felicity has captured that special relationship and magic moment of shared pleasure – I too can’t find the perfect word!

A Google search (#ididtheresearch) tells me that there are somewhere between 750 thousand and one million words in the English language. Susie Dent (if you haven’t already, check our 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown) suggests we know forty thousand words, but only use about twenty thousand of them. With so many words, why can’t I find the one word that expresses the thrill and enjoyment I get when someone loves the same author I do? 

The two words Google gave me are compersion, the positive thoughts derived from knowing of another person’s gratifying experience; and freudenfreude (the opposite of schadenfreude) - the bliss we feel when someone else succeeds. But they aren’t the right words to describe my feeling.

Daughter of the Forest
by Juliet Marillier

I love books by New Zealand born and resident West Australian author, Juliet Marillier. This love started when my mother purchased the second book in the Sevenwaters series for my birthday many years ago…I read the first chapter and realised that a love affair was born, and that I needed to stop reading and buy the first book before I could continue reading my birthday present. My mum gave me the gift that keeps on giving.

Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier

I purchased some of Juliet Marillier’s books for my workplace. They were not borrowed, so they have been withdrawn - based on our weeding policy - despite recommending them to many readers. I have mentioned them, ad nauseum, on any social media book related post. I may have even blogged about them in the past…and now, finally, I have two work colleagues hooked, and I am supplying their reading from my own library. And now I need a word to describe how happy this makes me feel. To have someone in my immediate sphere, other than my three children, love these books is a joy. As one book is returned, I pull another from the shelf and position it on my desk, ready to hand it over when the staff member walks past. This can go on giving me joy for months, as I have 25 Marillier titles on my bookshelf.

So, dear reader (#bridgerton) please come up with the word I need to describe my joy…we can’t all have the same forty thousand words in our lexicon…and I need that word. Surely it is sitting somewhere in the other 710 thousand words I don’t know! 

Please also post in the comments the name of your favourite author, so you too have the chance of experiencing this un-named feeling. I’m also happy for you to invent the word I need!

Felicity Sly is Teacher Librarian at Don College, Devonport and on the committee of CBCA Tasmania Branch.

Editor’s note: Thank you Felicity – you have provided the spark for me to return to one of my favourite authors who I have not visited for some time. I have series to complete – The Warrior’s Bard – here I come! Evidence that reciprocity is at work.

Warrior Bards trilogy by Juliet Marillier

1 comment:

  1. I came across Alan Gratz' work when investigating book banning in the USA and read the hilarious (but also passionate) Ban this Book for primary aged kids. I then delved further into his work and discovered a wealth of other books with challenging themes, and a strong author's voice that prompts the reader to think about their own stance on contemporary concerns. To my great joy, I have students and colleagues that have also become fans. Share your passion!!! Jennie Bales