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The little book of black delights

Schadenfreude: pleasure derived from another’s misfortune. Black humour. The hilarity experienced in watching a pratfall, the clumsy slip on a well-placed banana skin. From the German compound noun, deriving from Schaden (adversity, harm) and Freude (joy). Obvious. Understanding the effects of schadenfreude on both the subject and observer is an important sub-branch of psychology. According to Wikipedia, a distinction exists between “secret schadenfreude” (a private feeling) and “open schadenfreude” (which is outright public derision or scorn).

In his latest book, Tim Lihoreau (author of the 2006 bestseller: Phobias – A litany of Contemporary Fears), inverts the proposition of fear and turns to delight, to schadenfreude. It was an absolute pleasure to see the title misspelled however temporarily on the recent Facebook press event page and to note that you can already pick up a copy on Amazon for half the price of the publisher’s original valuation. Would that be delight in watching a fellow author’s dwindling royalties cheque? Bibliodimunoregiuphilia, perhaps.

I, of course, jest. If you enjoy little black books, then Lihoreau’s latest offering with its almost Moleskine cover is just for you. This would be particularly the case if you have (and who hasn’t?) experienced either private or overt schadenfreude at another’s expense. In Lihoreau’s little black book you will find “lujocophilia”, the delight experienced by having a deep understanding of a particular technology, “niovemophilia”, the enjoyment inherent in dispelling myths and “vodeiectophilia” from the Latin for “verbal diarrhoea” the delight in talking without pause. I almost feel like this book was written for me…

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