Bemused vs Amused: Do you know the difference?

discussion posts

This is such a huge pet peeve of mine. Authors use the word “bemused” when they really mean “amused” all. the. TIME. Let’s review definitions, shall we?

amused definition

bemused definition





I read a book recently where the author used the word bemused TWICE. Now, I’ll say giving the author the benefit of the doubt, bemused could hypothetically have fit the situation. However, in the context of the story, amused would have made much more sense. And here I am, as a reader, wondering how nobody knows the difference between these two words! Not the author, not the editor, not anyone else who read this book before it got published.

But to be completely transparent with you, when I looked up bemused on, this is something else that popped up:

The¬†verb¬†bemuse¬†(usually¬†as¬†the¬†adjective¬†bemused)is similar in sound to amuse, and has in fact taken on the meaning “to cause to be mildly amused.” Many usage experts and traditionalists consider this a misuse of bemuse, pointing out that its proper meaning is “to bewilder or confuse.” However, the history and use of bemuse has shown that is meaning is often ambiguous. It’s often the case that one’s feelings are a combination of bewilderment and amusement: Their customs bemuse most Americans. Even when it clearly means “to bewilder or confuse,” bemuse usually retains a lighthearted tone: one would not typically say: I was bemused by his motive for the murder.

So apparently, because everyone keeps using this word wrong, it’s starting to mean what everyone has been using it to mean. Isn’t that weird? It’s just so…frustrating to me, because it’s wrong! Just because people keep getting a math answer wrong doesn’t change what the answer actually is, right?

I was telling my husband about this strange phenomenon and he told me that the same thing happens with travesty vs tragedy. A lot of people use the word travesty to mean an even bigger tragedy, when in reality it means: “a false, absurd, or distorted representation of something.”

Anyway, there’s my rant for the day. Are there any words that you’ve noticed authors (or other people) consistently get wrong? Why do you think editors don’t catch that kind of thing?


A brief issue with bookstagram

I’ve been noticing that a new trend has hit bookstagram some time in the last year… All of these bookstagrammers are posting pictures of paperback books with the cover folded all the way back so you can see the title page. What is this madness? Every time I see one of those pictures I just think about how that poor cover is never going to lay flat again! I would post some examples, but I don’t want to put anyone specifically on the spot–especially since it seems like EVERYONE IS DOING IT. I mean, people can do whatever they want with their own books, but I could never imagine making that sacrifice for the gram.

Do you guys have any bookstagram pet peeves?

DISCUSSION: Bookish Pet Peeves

Hello everyone!¬†Today we’re going to talk about pet peeves. I know that it’s hard to write a book (I myself have tried on an occasion or two and it is no simple task). That being said, there are some things that I just read and a small part of my soul dies. Why did the author have to include that? What does it add to the story? JUST WHY???


I’ll split my pet peeves into two categories: Things Authors Do and Things People Around Me Do.

Things Authors Do

1) The Weepy “Tough” Girl – I don’t mind when girls cry in books or when they have a weak moment, but I cannot stand when a female character is portrayed as being super tough and then proceeds to cry/break-down at every plot twist/fight with her romantic interest. Too many times have I read “I never cry” and then two pages later…crying. It’s just not consistent. That’s my real issue. The consistency.

2) Unexplained Skills That Happen to Save the Day – Katniss has an awesome skill–she’s super deadly with a bow and arrow. It is explained to the reader that she was taught to hunt by her dad and that her skill with a bow and arrow had been¬†necessary to keep herself and her family alive. This is a skill that makes sense. But there are a lot of times when a character has a seemingly “learned skill” with no explanation of how they learned it. I don’t know about you guys, but I actually wasn’t born being able to fix all things mechanical. That’s something that I’d have to learn and do a lot of to become good at. Apparently, that rule doesn’t hold for some fictional characters…

3) “This boy is so beautiful”¬†x¬†One Billion – Just…no. Repeatedly exclaiming over the beauty/hotness of a boy does not move the story along. I don’t care if that thought actually goes through the mind of a teenage girl twenty times a chapter–the reader does not¬†need to read it that many times. Just edit it out. Please. It’s like when you read through a paper and realize that you start every paragraph with the same word. No good. You need to mix it up, right? Same goes here. MIX IT UP.

Things People Around Me Do

1) Dog-Eared/Folded Pages – Why do people do this? Bookmarks can literally be made out of ANYTHING. Dog-eared pages are bad enough, but I have legitimately seen people fold pages in half to mark their spot. Can I please supply you with a post-it instead?

2) Constant Interruptions – I’m reading. Like, obviously reading. My book is out and I am dead to the world. I haven’t been responding to anyone for at least half an hour. This is NOT the time to ask me how my job is going! Okay, in reality I can usually stand for one or two interruptions. If you want to talk, that’s fine, I’ll set my book aside and we can talk. But it’s the interruptions that come every five minutes and only last about thirty seconds–just enough time to yank me out of the book. Then, once I’ve finally gotten back into it, I’m yanked¬†out again! So if you want to talk, just tell me and I’ll talk with you. I’m more than happy to set my book aside (actually, some times I might not be, but I’ll still do it to be polite).

3) Damaged Book Covers – Cover might not be the right word for this…maybe book sleeves? Whatever, you know what I’m talking about. It’s the cover that comes around hardback books. Personally, if I am reading a hardback, I remove the cover and leave it on my bookcase until I’m done with the book. This prevents the cover from receiving any wear or tear. Also, if I happen to spill something on my book (not that I’ve ever accidentally done something like that…okay, but rarely) then I have a nice cover to…you know, COVER any damage. I just don’t understand when I see book covers that are completely¬†mangled. It could have been prevented so easily!

Do you guys agree with my pet peeves? Disagree? What other bookish pet peeves do you have?