1.02.2007

Oh, the places you'll go!

Hi there,

My name is "Legion" and I'm from "Rabbitania". I recently read White Man's Grave by Richard Dooling, and not only did I really enjoy the book, I appreciated it for the plethora of vocabulary words that will appear on the GRE that I'm taking in January. You seem knowledgeable about writers and I thought you might have an idea of other authors, at par with Dooling, that also use bigger words without being cumbersome or heavy.

Let me know if you have any ideas.

Yup, I'll get right on it.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Dick and Jane series is a good souce.

Ms. Librarian said...

Stephen Greenleaf - he writes mysteries. Even I sometimes have to look up the words he uses!

Mazement said...

Back when I was in high school, I was a little neurotic and wound up obsessively reading and re-reading Donaldson's "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever". (I got better.)

He's got a very puissant vocabulary and I got several extra points on my SAT because of that. (I remember "chiaruscuro", "gelid", and "anile" all showed up on the test...and probably some others that I've forgotten.)

I only had three volumes to work with back then, but now we're up to seven.

WARNING: He misuses the word "sojourn" all the way through the series. It isn't a synonym for "journey".

Don said...

Anthony Burgess has always been a good vocabulary builder for me. I remember having to keep a dictionary handy while reading Little Wilson and Big God and employing it almost as much as I do when reading something in a foreign language.

Anonymous said...

David Foster Wallace
Jonathan Franzen
David Markson
EL Doctorow
Thomas Pynchon
Gore Vidal


-kd

clarice snarkling said...

When I read Catch-22 several years ago, I kept running across words with which I was somewhat familiar, but would be hard-pressed to give a definition of if asked. Nerdishly enough, I started a vocabulary notebook for words from the book that I wanted to look up. That experience expanded my vocabulary in a big way.

Edyta said...

William F. Buckley uses an expansive vocabulary.

Debby G said...

There are novels now written which specifically include 1,000 SAT vocabulary words. I'm serious! The publisher is Cliff Notes.

See, for instance, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764578316/ref=pd_cp_b_title/102-1316523-1636106

Anonymous said...

Snarklings are so nice. I'm asneer at the arrogance of the person who wrote that letter - asking Miss Snark to do him/her favors just 'cause - but y'all are giving him/her honest suggestions.

I clearly need to strive to be a better person.

Shannon said...

I definitely agree with Catch-22 as a recommendation - I found myself thinking, "How would I define that word?" while reading it. Another book that wrote quite a few vocab words down from while studying for the GREs was Les Mis (although some are obscure/French).

mozartgirl said...

I'm reading "Against the Day" by Thomas Pynchon and I keep a dictionary by my side.

Anonymous said...

Anon #2 has a good list, but I was surprised it didn't include Cormac McCarthy.

Anonymous said...

How about the Lemony Snicket books? Not only does he use big words, but he defines them for you.

Anonymous said...

I read Julia Glass' _Three Junes_ just after taking the GRE a few years ago - many of the newly familiar words (thanks to my Kaplan prep book) appeared in it.

Chumplet said...

I once used 'Leviathan' in reference to a pod of humpback whales. My father said I was writing over the readers' heads.

I'm juggling 'Catch 22' and 'For Whom The Bell Tolls'. Talk about big words! I love it.

I have to re-read LOTR at least once every five years. Maybe after a few more readings, I'll finally understand the big words that don't even exist in the dictionary.

wanderlove said...

On another note, I studied the Barron's expansive vocab list with OCD fervor, and I achieved a perfect score in Verbal. I fully recommend it.

calendula said...

Neal Stephenson! Come on, people!

xiqay said...

Not fiction, but a fun word book: Vicious Vocabulary. (but perhaps aimed more for high school students)

Termagant 2 said...

Dava Sobel for nonfiction. I thought I had a pretty fair vocabulary until I read her LONGITUDE.

T2

Bella Stander said...

I'm reading a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, whose work always necessitates trips to the dictionary.

Alley Splat said...

Reginald Hill. He loves words. I love his books, partly it's such a pleasure to come across the occasional beautiful word that hardly anyone uses.

Anonymous said...

For Cormac McCarthy try the last two books in particular, "The Road" and "No Country for Old Men." They are the most accessible but still have those extraordinary flares of language.