Paper Cuts, a blog by the editors of The Book Review, needs little introduction – hell, they have 194 comments on one post, almost a third the amount of comments on the entirety of A Dribble of Ink – and they’ve certainly earned their reputation. So, needless to say, when they speak up, it’s wise to listen.

Bob Harris, one of the bloggers, recently wrote a funny, informative post listing what he considers the “Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing” and it’s definitely worth a look. Here’re are a couple of my favourites:

lyrical: Reviewers use this adjective when they want to say something is well written. But using the word loosely misses the sense of expressing emotion in an imaginative and beautiful way. Save lyrical for your next review of Wordsworth.

eschew: No one actually says this word in real life. It appears almost exclusively in writing when the perp is stretching for a flashy synonym for avoid or reject or shun.

I’d love to say I was exempt from using these words… but I’m pretty sure I’ve used each and everyone of them at least once in one of my reviews! You can find the whole article HERE.

What words make you cringe when you read them in a review?

Editor’s note: For the record, I must be the only person who would actually use the word eschew in conversation. I guess I’m weird!

  • Nathan Trader March 26, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    Don’t worry, Aidan. I use eschew pretty regularly, and I think I’ve even mastered saying it casually.

    Nice article, though. :)

  • Dark Wolf March 27, 2008 at 5:56 am

    On Ecstatic Days Mr. Jeff VanderMeer has his own list of seven deadly words. And his list is interesting too.

  • Sara J. March 27, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Every time I say eschew, someone always tries to bless me :P

    I have always hated “impacted.” I personally think verbing the noun is something like jumping the shark, but that’s just me.