100 Books in 366 Days – Cornered vs. Lemmed


Books (Photo credit: henry…)

Anyone who has followed some of my past blog posts has heard me mentioned corner books.  A corner book is one that is so bad that you want to toss it into a corner and never have anything to do with again.  More or less, you do not care if you ever finish it, it is that bad.

Now, since I came up with that term, I had joined the Sword and Laser discussion group over at Goodreads.com.  To my surprise (well, not really), they had their own term for a book that cannot be finished.  They called it a Lemmed book, stemming from one of the moderator’s inability to finish through Stanislaw Lem’s Memoirs Found in a Bathtub.

You would think that the two terms would be synonymous.  I would argue that cornering a book is much worse than lemming one.

In listening to the Sword and Laser podcasts, I have heard the hosts refer to lemmed books every now and then.  One of the key points I have noticed when they mention a lemmed book is that there is a motivation to attempt the book again at some later point.  Thus, it seems possible that a book that was once lemmed could be restarted and finished at another time.  For example, I lemmed Game of Thrones the first time I tried to read it, but I am making a second go of it now.

By my definition, a corner book is so frustrating that you literally (or figuratively, in the case of an ebook) want to throw it in a corner and never have anything to do with it again.  As over dramatic as that sounds, it does convey the general feeling of how you feel about the book.  Case in point: I cornered Ghost of a Chance, a book I found so horrid that I pulled the bookmark out of the book and, quite literally, threw it in the corner of the room.

Thus, I would make the argument that it is possible to lem a book, only to come back and finish it at some later time, presumably once you feel ready to attempt to read it again, while once a book is cornered, that’s it, you are done with it

As I mentioned the first time I mentioned the term “corner book,” I have only cornered one book.  I have, however, lemmed a number of books.  In the case of a lemmed book, I could not finish the book for whatever reason.  However, unlike the cornered book, I am willing to give the book a second (or third, or fourth) chance, though not right at this point.  Hopefully, when that happens, I will not have to resort to sending them into the corner.

About chyrondave

Avid comic reader, amateur writer, music fan, and someone with opinions, lots of opinions.

Posted on May 23, 2012, in Books, Media, Opinion, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Thanks for explaining ‘lemmed.’ I, too, saw it on Goodreads and didn’t know what they were talking about. I lemmed E.R. Eddison’s “The Worm Ouroboros,” which is a very strange fantasy, but eventually finished it during a bout of insomnia.

    • Mostly I was looking for a way of allowing my “corner book” to exist with the “lemmed book.”. It was listening to the Sword and Laser podcast that I was able to find a way for both to coexist.

  1. Pingback: Cornered vs. Lemmed | Only Yes

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