In high school, I read voraciously. Not much has changed, as I’m pretty sure I read four books in the last week. Score!
Back then, my brain was pretty spongy (that sounds awful!). Everything I slurped up I added to my knowledge well. Not so uncommon, I guess, when we’re young. In addition to the education that school and sports and socializing offered, one of my favorite learning ops was to kick back with a good book. Or a mediocre novel. Or, occasionally, an execrable tome.
I would never have put it into these terms then, but I was definitely receiving a crash course on character, plot, and the promise implicit in genre fiction – that the bad guy is brought to justice in a mystery, the kingdom is saved in a fantasy, and the h/h achieve their happily ever after in a romance (and, score again, if these all happened in the same story!).
One thing I also read for?
Good golly, do I delight in a well employed word. My love started back then and continues today. Why push when you can shove or nudge? Why laugh when you can chortle or snicker? Reading gave me these gems: vapid, vehement, and viscount (see an old blog post here to get the skinny on my love of all words V).
Heck, even just browsing the shelves at the book store expanded my personal dictionary:
The details of these stories elude me all these years later, but I remember looking these words up and talking about how to use them properly with my mom. Yes, my SAT verbal score was high (not stratospheric, but high).
These days I still happy dance when I come across a word I don’t know, especially when I can fit it into my speech vocabulary right away (don’t you find you learn a word and suddenly you stumble over it, like, 15 times in the space of a week? Did the word even exist before you learned it?).
And true confessions, sometimes I still go to bed with a dictionary.
Do you geek out on words? Do you have a favorite? One you loathe? Tolerate? Cherish?
P.S. Do you know what an antimacassar is? I do. Because, reading.