I have a lousy vocabulary.
Even though I can remember the three-course meal I ate in a tiny, fairy light lit, restaurant in Paris five years ago, the creak of the blue door in my childhood home, the outfit I wore the first time I watched my partner’s band play; I can’t retain the meaning of words I haven’t come across before (unless they have a particularly pleasing cadence like cerebral, loquacious, luddite).
The only way I can think to combat this is by keeping a notebook beside me while I read. When I come across an unfamiliar word, it goes down in the book. Sometimes I write the meaning in immediately, sometimes I come back to it. When I flick back through this personalised dictionary, I can tell what book I was reading when. The Victorian classic switches to a historical war novel which switch to urban fantasy which then switches to Sci-Fi and later crime.
I really don’t know if the dictionary is actually improving my vocabulary, but at least it’s an interesting record of the year’s past reading.
Image: Open Book by Craig Taylor