Lev Grossman describes the style of Stephenie Meyer, whose garbologous vampire train wrecks are the object of my current mini-obsession, as “pillowy…distinctly reminiscent of Internet fan fiction.” A beautifully evocative adjective, yes? Still rather vague in this sentence, though. I think of a “pillowy” book as one you can take to bed: a comfortable, predictable story that leaves you feeling warm, unchallenged and happy. Since “pillowy” literally means “like a pillow” or “soft,” Grossman seems to have something in mind more along the lines of “squishy, sentimental and lacking in true substance.” I’d argue that Meyer’s books are “pillowy=comfortable and soothing” because they are “pillowy=sentimental and light.”
I also think “pillowy” should be removed from its derogatory relegation because it’s perfect for so many other things: the warm rounded curves of the Green Mountains, the gentle hills of cumulus clouds on a summer day, the layered mounds of petals in a rose flower, the frothy and cool sensations of Key Lime pie, the undulant stillness of floating in a calm body of water, the comfortable portions of a loved one that you like to rest your head against and, of course, the yielding mountains of bedclothes upon which you drop into dreams.