Inventing a Word for It

Kristen Twardowski

Pop quiz time!

The word “vellichor” is:

a. An adjective describing an agitated, violent state
b. A term taken from Latin meaning “one who sings”
c. The name of an alien species in the “Frigid Worlds” series of sci-fi novels
d. A word indicating the strange wistfulness of used bookstores

Ready? Have you chosen your final answer? No going back and switching to a different choice. No cheating either.


The correct answer is “d“.

Vellichor is “the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time—filled with thousands of old books you’ll never have time to read, each of which is itself locked in its own era, bound and dated and papered over like an old room the author abandoned years ago, a hidden annex littered with thoughts left just as they were on the day they were captured.”

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