Friday Follies 4-18: BTT, FFI, and another book meme

Vocabulary – Booking Through Thursday 4-17-08

btt button

Suggested by Nithin:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

I love defining things, especially concepts. It’s kind of a weird hobby of mine to determine what something means, subjectively – which I guess might be better defined as “interpretation” rather than true “definition,” which seems like a more objective idea – by definition. (There, I just provided an accidental, if somewhat confusing, example of what I’m talking about.)

But as far as true, dictionary-style definitions go, I’m pretty lazy most of the time. I tend to rely on what my language teachers called “context clues,” in more ways than one. I also make a distinction between vocabulary and terminology, in which the latter is much more subject-specific. If I’m reading nonfiction, especially something technical where terminology is important, I have been known to look up unfamiliar words or phrases if they’re not explained within the text; in that case, I hope the book has a glossary that will make it convenient for me to do so.

However, when I’m reading novels and encounter an unfamiliar word, I’ll usually try to get a sense of what it means from how it’s being used, and most of the time that’s sufficient (and effective). It’s very rare that I’ll actually look it up somewhere, and if it’s a foreign word, I might just glance over it, to be honest. I’ll almost never stop to look up a word when I’m reading fiction. As it happens, my general vocabulary is pretty good, and after nearly forty years of reading, my dictionary-free ways don’t seem to be hurting me all that much.


Friday Fill In #68

1. The last time I lost my temper I snapped, cried, and then felt really stupid about it!
2. The same old thing at work, over and over again, is what I’m fed up with!
3. The next book I’d like to read is something I haven’t decided yet – but I will soon. I have to have a few ready for my jury-duty stint next week.
4. The next opportunity I get to work from home is what I’m looking forward to. (I just did my first telecommuting day, and it was great.)
5. If you can’t get rid of the skeleton[s] in your closet, buy them some nice outfits (they’re in the closet already anyway)!
6. The best thing I got in the mail recently was a coupon for 20% off at Talbots.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to getting the chores done, tomorrow my plans include a family trip down to my mother-in-law’s for the weekend and Sunday, I want to be surprised by something fun!

There’s a new variation on the “Page 123” meme going around, and I was tagged for it (!) by Almostgotit. Here’s how this one works:

  1. Provide a list of the books you’re currently reading.
  2. Pick up the nearest book, and open it to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence, and post the next three sentences.
  4. Tag 3-5 more people by posting comments on their blogs.
  5. Link back to the person who tagged you. (done – see above)

As y’all know, I rarely tag, and I’m not going to do it this time either – so please consider yourself invited to participate if you’d like to! (But if you do, please leave me a comment and/or link back here so I’ll know that you RSVP’d.)

The great thing about this meme is that you can do it more than once and use different books.

I don’t usually multi-book, but as it happens, I actually have three books going right now.

Eleanor Rushing
, by Patty Friedmann – This one has been TBR for literally years. It’s an autographed copy I picked up on a visit to the independent bookstore Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, back when I still lived in Memphis. I started it a few weeks back, but put it on hold for two books I was scheduled to read and review for MotherTalk, and then I had to finish the book-club pick I reviewed here yesterday. I really should be back reading it now, but it’s waiting a little longer.

Only Child, edited by Deborah Siegel and Daphne Uviller – OK, I have to fess up; I posted my review of this book before I actually finished it. Since it’s an anthology, though, I really don’t think there was any harm done. I have jury duty next week, and I’ll bring it with me to read the rest of it then; I only have about four or five essays left.

The Ruins of California, by Martha Sherrill – California played a big role in the book I just read for Book Club, but I wanted to see it done differently, and this book has hooked me in pretty quickly. The title in a play on words – the family involved in the story is named Ruin – and I tend to be particularly drawn in by stories about growing up in the 1970’s, since that’s my vintage too. I won’t say too much about it now, since I’ll have a review here when I finish it, and I haven’t even reached Page 123 of it yet. Looking ahead, here’s what I’ll find there:

But I suppose she was right. If at eight I had been drawn to pairs and even numbers and symmetry – to sorting the world around me into collaborations and harmony – now that I was thirteen, my mind made studies of discord and asymmetry. I noticed the odd thing, what was off kilter.

I can definitely think of a few of you that might enjoy doing this meme, so I hope you’ll decide to play! I’d especially like to know what you’re reading right now.

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  1. found your blog through reader’s appreciation – though I am a new reader lol

    In answer to your ques about new words, depends on how important the word seems. Sometimes I will definitely stop and look it up or ask whoever is around if they know. Sometimes I write it down, sometimes ignore it all together. So this probably doesn’t help at all, now that I think about it.

    Thanks for the book tip. I will keep Ruins on my list.

    Just finished reading – Gena Showalter; To Catch a Mate and Playing with Fire. Neither of which are really a usual read for me. But they were very entertaining.

  2. Hi there, I’m in a book club, too, and we’re in California. I’m curious to know what book your club read in which California played a big role. I’ve been looking for a book that’s set in our area. Thanks!

  3. Janet – For some reason, I just had a silly answer for that one; glad you enjoyed it!

    Heidi – Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll be back!

    LisaMM – Sorry, I should have included a link to that review; I’ve edited the post to add it. The book was Best Friends by Martha Moody. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I was pretty much the exception among the group.

    I’ve just subscribed to your blog feed, and I’m going to e-mail your post about 10 Ways to Spice Up Your Book Club Meetings” to my own book club – some great ideas there!

  4. More for LisaMM – I’m currently reading the book I mentioned in the last part of this post, The Ruins of California, which I’m enjoying a lot so far, and the story moves among several California locations. Some are real – the SF Bay Area, Laguna Beach; others are thinly disguised, like the San Fernando Valley suburb of Van Dale, wealthy San Benito near Pasadena, and the bohemian, bucolic Ojala Valley.

  5. I’ve come to really appreciate glossaries in books, especially when it comes to technical or foreign words I am unfamiliar with.

    I used to be able to work at home now and then, before I became a supervisor. Now it would be impossible. I often wish I still could though. I’m at least glad you are able to do it now and then! One of us might as well be able to!

    Have a good weekend, Florinda.

  6. I used to look up words all the time, now I’m too lazy.

    I’m not near any books right now, I’m in the kitchen, unless you count cookbooks. Maybe I’ll try that out another day; itshoulb be interesting.

  7. Bundle-o-Contradictions – It was may first time telecommuting, but it really worked out well, and hopefully I can persuade my boss to let me do it again.

    Literary Feline – It’s definitely the supervisory/management responsibilities that will make it unlikely for me to work from home regularly, but I hope to be able to make it an occasional habit.

    Glossaries are much more convenient than keeping a dictionary next to me when I read. 🙂

    Mike – I don’t know, I think it could be interesting with cookbooks. You’d end up with ingredients 6,7, and 8 of a mystery recipe, I’m guessing. 🙂

    Gautami – I probably overthought BTT this week, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  8. i’m with you on #2! i’m glad the telecommuting day worked out well!

    i’m going to have to do that book meme when i get a little time!

    have a great weekend! i hope you get a happy surprise!

  9. Alisonwonderland – I thought I’d answered your comment last night, but apparently not…

    I will be looking for that book meme on your blog soon!

    Visits to my mother-in-law’s are pleasant but somewhat predictable, so I’m hoping for a twist this time; not sure exactly what, though.

    Alice – Come back and let me know if/when you do that meme, and I’ll check it out!

    Reba – Thanks for stopping by!