Read a book related to a Merriam-Webster word from the year I was born – and reading recommendations

What a weird challenge I set myself LOL I need help deciding though.

If you don’t know what Merriam -Webster is, it’s just another dictionary. BUT! what the dictionary web page does so well is tell you what word where introduces to their dictionary for a specific year. By selecting Time Travel and the year you want, it will show you the new word for that year.

I had in my reading challenge for 2019 to read a book about or with one of the word from this site. This has turned out to be a little more tricky than first though.

Below is a screenshot of all the word introduced the year I was born; 1987

The options as you can see were great! I mean virtual-reality, degenderize, bioterrorism, bhangra, and shy bladder! I was super positive that whatever I picked up would probably contain some or at least one of these words/topics. But it couldn’t just be a brief mention of the word it had to have a place in the story.

Now in September, I’m very surprised to say that none of these word have come up! Not in any of the books I’ve read! As far as I know anyway.


I have a few more book to read this year but I don’t think any of them have these subjects either.

So I have decided to pick a theme and chose a book, just in case I don’t come across them in the next book and read it at the end of the year.

The word I choose is :


There are five suggestions I found that may contain Steampunk elements:

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Definitely Steampunk-y and I believe I have a copy of it somewhere which is a positive

GoodReads Synopsis for Leviathan:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard

I was recommended this book by a friend of mine after hearing I enjoyed reading Sabriel by Garth Nix. I’m not 100% sure if this is steampunk-y or not (let me know if you know).

GoodRead Synopsis for Johannes Cabal:

A charmingly gothic, fiendishly funny Faustian tale about a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the Devil, twice.  

Johannes Cabal sold his soul years ago in order to learn the laws of necromancy. Now he wants it back. Amused and slightly bored, Satan proposes a little wager: Johannes has to persuade one hundred people to sign over their souls or he will be damned forever. This time for real. Accepting the bargain, Jonathan is given one calendar year and a traveling carnival to complete his task. With little time to waste, Johannes raises a motley crew from the dead and enlists his brother, Horst, a charismatic vampire to help him run his nefarious road show, resulting in mayhem at every turn.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I have this and almost read it earlier in the year but never did. I’m not sure if this one really is steampunk-y so please let me know if you know. I though this was a bit more modern age, and steampunk was supposed to be more Victorian times I think.

GoodReads Synopsis for Neverwhere.

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This was another recommendation for steampunk but I though based on the synopsis it sounds way more like sci-fi than steampunk. I don’t know much about steampunk clearly.

GoodReads Synopsis for Cinder:

A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

This looks to definitely be steampunk and I have a ebook copy which is good.

GoodReads Synopsis for The Invisible Library:

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

Based on this selection which book do you suggest I should pick up? Or do you have other suggestions?

It seems I only have access to three of these books atm so the other two might be excluded. On another note it seems maybe only two are true steampunk.

It’s a difficult decision…

If you have any better suggestions to a Steampunk novel, let me know in the comments 🙂 I’m all ears!

Until next time; happy reading!

6 thoughts on “Read a book related to a Merriam-Webster word from the year I was born – and reading recommendations

  1. This is such a fun challenge idea! Steampunk is one of those sub-genres that I always forget I like so I’ll have to look into these books (Johannes Cabal, The Necromancer looks especially interesting)!

    Liked by 1 person

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