Weekend Reads #75: My Poor Vocab

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to sit, think, and draft a Weekend Reads post, a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

This weekend’s topic is from one of Sara LeTourneau’s Weekly Writer Wisdom posts:

How do you encourage the expansion of your vocabulary and the maturation of your writing style? For example, do you look up definitions of words you’ve never heard of before? Or “collect” words by writing them in a journal? Do you use writing prompts or exercises as a means of stretching your “language muscles”? What other thoughts or ideas does this quote bring to mind?

I love learning new things, but I hate the process of learning.

Learning is grueling and it takes so long sometimes to get to a level where your feel confident knowing what you’ve learned.

I’ve been working on expanding my vocabulary since graduating college 5 or so years ago, but I don’t think I’ve made much progress. I tried reading the dictionary but gave up after a couple words into A. I tried collecting words and phrases in a journal but often forgot them soon after I thought I had them memorized. I’ve always highlighted unfamiliar words and phrases as I read, but never remember to jot them down or look them up later. If I’m reading on an e-reader, I look up the definition soon after highlighting the word, but promptly forget the meaning a couple pages after.

The exception is when a word is associated with an experience of some kind, like when I looked up the meaning of “paragon” while reading Lios McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion because I realized that Paragon, the name of a liveship in Robin Hobbs’s Liveship Traders series, was an actual word. The meaning of that word has stuck with me since.

But otherwise, I don’t know what to do to get words to stick in my head. It’s as if I forget the definitions as soon as I learn them. Though sometimes my mind surprises me when writing because a word I thought I’d forgotten the meaning of would pop up in the right spot and then I have to look up the meaning to make sure I used it correctly.

I wish I could immediately know the definition of a word or that words stay in my mind after I’ve memorized them. There are times when I’m writing and need a word but can’t find one that fits what I’m trying to say. I think that means my writer’s toolbox needs to be improved; I just don’t know how to get started.

My language muscles could use a workout too. Blogging helps, but I need to bump up the exercise a notch. I’d love to partake of a writing workshop, but prefer those that are in-person rather than online. Finding the time to do this, however, will be tough.

I just wish I knew it all already. ☹

What I’m reading this weekend:

The Tome Topple Readathon, August 4 – 17, is in process. I’m pleased to say that I’ve completed 1 tome so far: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks (645 pgs.).

The readathon also inspired me to return to a tome I started back in March but broke from because I got bored: Eldest by Christopher Paolini (704 pgs.). Since I had only a quarter of it to read during the readathon before completing the book, I won’t count it as part of the readathon.

Other books I’m reading this weekend for Tome Topple include:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (illus.)

It’s over 500 pages. I borrowed it from the library.

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, illus. by Yu

This is also over 500 pages. I’ve always wanted to read and watch it.

The Reading Quest Readathon, August 13 – September 10, starts tomorrow (and I’m super excited for it!!!), so I’ll start with these:
Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I’m also considering to read this for Tome Topple because my Kindle edition is about 600+ pages. (Apparently the physical copies are about 400+ pages, thus not a tome. This is why I hate e-books, there’s no telling what the actual page count is. Where did the extra 200+ pages come from? Either way, it’s being read for Tome Topple too.)

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

I was going to read this for Tome Topple until I checked the book and realized that it’s under 500 pages, so not a tome.

Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, illus. by Yu

Only if I start it on Sunday instead of today.

It’s a rainy day on my side of the world so I think I’ll spend the day with my nose in these books. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few new words along the way.

P.S.: I just remembered a word I learned from The Invention of Hugo Cabret earlier this week: horologist (n.), a maker of clocks and watches.

I don’t think I’ve seen/heard the word used before. If I did, then I forgot it and recently relearned it. 😊


19 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #75: My Poor Vocab

  1. I agree, learning vocabulary is never particularly fun. I’m always trying to expand my German vocab (since I moved to Germany) but I also look up meanings only to forget them a few seconds later, or write lists that I try and memorise and then forget. The only way it seems to sink in is if I see/hear it enough times or see it in a memorable context (like your experience with ‘paragon’). Anyway, it’s cool you actually bother to look up meanings of words you don’t know in English, I’m often too lazy to do that 🙂

    Btw, I’ll be curious to see what you think of Queen of the Tearling when you read it. I haven’t read it yet but have heard a lot about it (both good and bad).


    1. Lol I get lazy too with looking them up sometimes.

      Well, I’m about a chapter or two in and I’m kind of leaning toward the bad. I’m curious to learn what’s going on, but…I don’t know what it is but I’m not yet feeling the story. I’ve put it down for now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah that’s a shame… I haven’t read it so can’t speak from experience, but I just know from reading reviews that some people loved it and others were bored by it. Anyway, I hope it picks up for you if you get beyond those first chapters!


  2. I completely get you when it comes to Learning. I like the process if I am choosing to embark on it on my own volition. But when someone forces me to learn something, such as for work, I really struggle. I have to practice it ALL THE TIME. As far as vocab is concerned, I’m not great at improving my vocabulary intentionally. O_o

    This is a great TBE! I hope you made some awesome progress. I really enjoy The Invention of Hugo Cabret, personally. It’s a quick and fascinating read.


    1. Same. I don’t like to be forced to do anything.

      Yea, Hugo Cabret was great. I saw the movie years ago but forgot the details of it so reading it now was like experiencing it for the first time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OH!
    Mist -out,
    Music 🎶

    BOUJEE da Z,,,

    The only other thought perhaps worth mentioning,
    Would be, and is more of a question,
    Who is the intended audience? And what words do they seek?

    Marvellous to be amongst such interesting and intelligent individuals.


    1. Pps
      No offence intended with the word BOUJEE,
      Perhaps i use it incorrectly, apologies 🙏
      I use it in the high class / fine example of a lady definition rather than it’s bourgeois origins.
      ‘ thought it might be a good example of extending one’s lexicon, from a different angle’.
      what i was striving at, trying to transmute,
      That personally words like BOUJEE, from my favourite kind of music, and others such as ” two cups of purple just to warm up, two cups ”
      Are words that extend my vocabulary in a chosen field, hence the audience allusion (?)
      (wrong word maybes)

      Everyone else’s including my first comment, i perceived as focusing on those ‘big’ /uncommon traditional l words that can be so illusive when grasping the mind for a sound that mimics the shadow and light of perception.

      So yes, i do appreciate your lesson’s for wayward children,
      Hoping / nay praying!
      That some of this Lexis (?) soaks to the very fabric of my bean,,,
      If not my Kentucky fried underpants. 😛


  4. Yeah I’ve never been one for reading the dictionary either. And I tried the writing it down in a journal method, but also forgot where they were… ahh I just wish words would stick too!! For instance, I love the word horologist- but just know it won’t stay in my brain long!


  5. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I like to think I have a decent vocab but there are times when hubs will ask me what a word means and while I understand the sentence I can’t define the word. I also can’t be bothered to write words down and even when I do, I never reference them. I just kind of know what I know and if I’m writing something and want a different word I use a thesaurus.

    Not to mention sometimes I feel like a broad vocab could be wasted these days, because if you run around spouting a bunch of words most people don’t know, you look like an ass trying to sound smarter than them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol yea, I’d think the person is being an ass too.

      And same here, I hardly refer back to the words I write down or look up. That’s probably why I can’t remember them. But the Thesaurus is my bestie.


  6. I use Anki, a flashcard program, in which I put all new vocab, with pronunciation and definition, because I’m a language learner crazy xD I’ve seen huge improvement in my vocabulary, but it might just be because I’m not a native!


    1. That’s good. 🙂
      I tried a flashcard app too but after passing the levels, I feel as if I forgot the words. I’m starting to think it’s because I don’t use the words in my daily life to reinforce them in my mind. Maybe.


  7. Oh hey, this side of the world is wet and wild too,
    Great show of bang and ⚡ last night, wow!

    I so want google wired direct to my brain and maybe a slot or two for cards,
    Oh To fill the gap between candy crime and feeling fine.

    My raggedy dictionary has inscribed upside-down in shaky mountain scrawl…
    “the dictionary that spineless fool
    Often hides words i seek
    and spells them different
    so to speak”

    It has the appearance of a book devoured by a wild and hungering beast.


      1. Oh man it only seems like yesterday. I bought that one from k-mart a few months before y2k was going to wipe out all the computers.

        So yeah my standing amongst the other pirates would have been greatly improved, but you know, the best laid plans…


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