Adventures in Reading

The Oxford American College Dictionary

Repeatedly through my life I have heard remarks like, “The more you read the better your writing will be.” In retrospect I feel this is somewhat misleading. Reading allows you to become familiar with grammar, spelling, and punctuation but it never actually teaches it (or at least not in my own experience of struggling with grammar). At least, that is, if you passively read a book. This is a somewhat new idea I had bouncing around in my head at work and I still have not developed any clear definition. However, I suppose what I mean by active reading is that you take your time to understand the text and look up words, phrases, and punctuation you are unfamiliar with (even if you assume you know what it is).

This is something I have done off and on during my adventures in reading (particularly after my English lit 2 professor started giving pop quizzes on unfamiliar words). Today I would like to share some of my most recent troublesome words and phrases:

inveigled v. persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery. to gain entrance to (a place) by using such methods

cock a snook A gesture of derision or defiance, as in the idiom, “cock a snook” meaning “thumb one’s nose”. (Source.)

madrigal n. a part-song for several voices, typically arranged in elaborate counterpoint and without instrumental accompaniment

cerise n. a bright or deep red color adj, of a bright or deep red color

I began reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last evening and made it through part one this afternoon. I first fell in love with the 1945 movie by the same name and some time around my sophomore year in high school I got around to reading the book. Upon rereading the novel, I never realized how poignant it was in discussing the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. Additionally, my naive 15-year-old self must have been entirely oblivious to the multitude of sexual occurrences in this book!