What is Bookswain?

What is Bookswain.com?

Bookswain is where I ponder books and share my literary notions and devotions. As I fill in some of the gaps (chasms even) in my personal canon, I’ll consider important bookswain questions like:

  • Am I the only English major who hasn’t read Wuthering Heights?
  • What’s the best punishment for miscreants who reveal book endings?
  • When is it OK to stop reading (i.e. break up with) a book?
  • If I own more than 1,000 books and each book cost $12…let’s not go there.
  • Can a book club exist on dessert and wine alone?
  • How many major plot points have I forgotten since high school and college?
  • Can you have too many books? (Just kidding.)

What is a “Bookswain?”

Bookswain: noun ˈbu̇k-swān or ˈbu̇k- sən

Definition: an admirer, suitor, and/or lover of books.

Example 1: Alicia is such a bookswain; she can’t pass by a library, bookstore, or tag-sale pile of books.

Example 2: At parties you can find that bookswain checking out the titles on his friends’ bookshelves.

Origin: Derived from “book” (Middle English, from Old English bōc, letter) and “swain” (Middle English swein, servant). First known use: 2013, this website. See also, boatswain and coxswain.

Is bookswain even a real word?

It is now, thanks to neologism!* Writers like Lewis Carroll (chortle), Dickens (the creeps, flummoxed), Dr. Seuss (nerd), Spenser (blatant), and Shakespeare (bump, courtship, eyeballobscene, plus 1,700 more) have been credited with coining new words for ages. Bookswain is my contribution to our ever-changing lexicon.

*That’s neologism as in “a new word, usage, or expression,” not neologism as in “a meaningless word coined by a psychotic.” Important distinction, I hope.

Who are you?

headshot2I’m Alicia MacLeay, a New England bookswain, writer, and editor. I started Bookswain.com because I love books and wanted a place to share my own literary notions and devotions. Children’s books, classic and contemporary novels, nature field guides, outdoor adventures and skills, even the occasional romance—I love books in their many forms.

From grade school afternoons roaming the library to editing my high school literary magazine to studying English lit and creative writing in college—I’ve surrounded myself with books and words. I’m not here to try to impress you with erudite literary themes, commentary, or discourse (even if I could). I just really, really like books.

If I’m not reading a book, I might be found ogling spines and covers as I rove the stacks at my local bookstore or library. I love libraries with their beautiful organized shelves, filled with stories and information, reaching up to the ceiling, stretching across walls…

In addition to obsessing over books and libraries, I’m also the co-founder and editor of Trailspace.com, the outdoor gear community.