LJ Best Books 2016

A jury of our peers discussed, debated, disagreed, and finally declared LJ’s annual Top Ten Best Books of the year, selected by our editors, as well as Top Five lists for genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and SELF-e titles. VISIT THE WEBSITE

Staycations Are Here To Stay! The Dictionary Says So!

For BookSmack!, one of LJ‘s e-newsletters, I spent some time recently pulling together a roundup of materials that I thought would be useful and rewarding for people either considering or actually undertaking a "staycation."  (Here’s the piece.) 

I had mixed feelings about the term "staycation" itself, but figured that as long as we’re in a tough economy and more and more workers are without employment, the staycation concept would be staying around, as I think I wrote in the piece.  And, regardless of economic challenges, there’s a lot to be said for the concept of a staycation. 

Well, as of yesterday, it’s no longer a concept. No further need for its enclosure in quotation marks. Merriam- Webster has announced that staycation is among the 2009 additions to its dictionary. It’s a genuine word! 

Let’s remind ourselves that Merriam-Webster is not a prognosticator about our economy!  

But as a prognosticator about our language?  What do you think?  Other chamber-of-commerce-driven portmanteau words have become part and parcel of our lifestyles:  we eat brunch and stay at motels without thinking that restaurants needing to drum up business or  new-fangled hotels offering parking, and parking-lot-access to their rooms, were behind those words ages ago. Before those words developed a patina from exposure, they must have seemed a bit garish too, parvenus on the scene.

I don’t know why I’m surprised by the quickness with which Merriam-Webster has welcomed staycation. Maybe it’s because they’ve also taken in frenemy as a word this year, so long after it tripped off the tongues of those Sex and the City women (Merriam-Webster dates it back to 1977). I didn’t know it was still a part of the zeitgeist — now there’s a portmanteau word to fling around! Isn’t that the crux of the matter?  

How much staying power does a word need before it gets into the dictionary?

Margaret Heilbrun About Margaret Heilbrun

Margaret Heilbrun is a former Senior Editor, Library Journal Book Review.