Content warning for discussion of depression.
The Trigger Warning Database began with a small idea in 2017.
I was recovering from a particularly bad depressive episode at the time. The result of being triggered by a book for the first time in my life. The experience was traumatic in its own way and I knew, I knew, going forward I would have to be more prepared.
I spent hours scouring the internet for some kind of bookish trigger warning masterlist. All I found was a bunch of dead Tumblr blogs, Reddit threads with a handful of classics I was never going to read, and less-than-useful Goodreads list. There were no resources like what I needed… so I got out the Notes app on my phone and started my own.
From there, it grew and grew. I started added trigger warning lists to my reviews. I made a Google Doc, which eventually became multiple Excel spreadsheets, then a massive Google Sheet monstrosity. Thousands of hours of experimenting later, the idea for the Trigger Warning Database became this website.
This website, this database, is a place for readers like me. It’s for readers with triggers, readers on their own trauma recovery journeys, readers who just want the safe, enjoyable reading experience they deserve.
I know the idea of content warnings is controversial, but it is only because people don’t understand. Meme culture destroyed the legitimate definition of being triggered to the general public but it is real, valid experience. We know that and hope this website can help you out, even just a little.
It’s organised so you can browse for a list of books with your specific trigger or check the content of a specific book. Check the Masterlist to see the thousands of titles we have recorded.
It is is not a foolproof system. We are crowd-sourced resource, but we’re so proud of what we have created and hope it can bring you a little comfort.
Please consider supporting the Trigger Warning Database by donating to our Ko-Fi. All donations will be used to cover costs of keeping our website running.
This website is not a list of recommendations. The books listed or omitted in the database are not a commentary on any particular book or author. There are books listed that are inarguably problematic or are authored by individuals I would never personally support. However, I cannot exclude any book, series or author from the list in good conscience. There are certain books and authors I would not encourage you to read (for a variety of reasons), but in the end, your reading is a matter of personal choice. I would rather provide you with content warnings so you can have a safe reading experience.
If you are someone who is bothered by spoilers, pursue the database with caution. Certain trigger warnings may reveal plot points that could be considered spoilers.
I still don’t understand, what are triggers?
Triggers are specific kinds of content or stimuli that cause a trauma response. While every person has a unique set of triggers, they usually cause depressive episodes, panic attacks, or flashbacks. This can later led to long-term setbacks to people’s mental health, often by inducing nightmares, disturbed sleep, and/or suicidal ideation.
… so how do trigger warnings help?
Most readers are triggered because they were are not aware a book contained their trigger and could not prepare for it. Trigger warnings allow readers to be aware of a book’s content beforehand, so they can make informed choices of what they choose to read and when they choose to read it. They may choose to avoid certain books until their mental health improves or until they hit a certain point in their recovery journey. Other people find being aware of potential triggers is enough for them, and simply proceed reading with caution.
TL;DR? Trigger warnings are life-saving because they help prevent people from being triggered.
Why don’t you use the term homophobia? What does homomisia mean?
Homomisia means a strong dislike of homosexuals and homosexuality; it refers to people bigoted towards gay people, and anti-gay rhetoric. I don’t use the term homophobia because it is misleading and inaccurate, literally meaning ‘a fear of gay people’. It is also belittling and insulting to people with legitimate phobias. Most people mean homomisia when they say homophobia.
It can also be swapped out for other prefixes, such as queermisia or bimisia.
How do you classify anthologies?
Anthologies are treated like any other title. You will find them listed on the Masterlist under all of their contributors and editors.
If trigger warnings are available for the specific short stories or essays (etc.), the anthology’s individual post will be split into sections. If we are unaware what trigger warnings apply to which short story, the anthology will have a general listing.
Are non-fiction titles included?
The short answer is yes. For the most part, non-fiction titles provide their own trigger warnings. For example, a book about eating disorders, naturally, will have a trigger warning for eating disorders. Not all titles are so obvious though, so we include some titles for clarity, even if it seems redundant.