Resurrecting an old habit (and words!)

One evening last week, my husband and I read a short story out loud to each other.

When we were first married, we usually had a book going (at least in the colder months, when it’s easier for my active husband to sit still), but it’s been several years since we’ve done so. We read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy aloud in advance of the movies. We never really intended to abandon this habit, but somehow it happened. Last year, after months of trying, we finally received the 800-some page The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton. I had read all the Father Brown stories the library had a few years earlier, but I knew I hadn’t read them all. And I found them enjoyable! I figured this was the perfect read-together book. Still, we didn’t crack the book open until early 2009, when we read one story together.

And then, one night last week, we read the next story.

We read The Secret Garden. And I enjoyed it very much. And I found lovely words that I didn’t know!

logomachy, n Strife or contention in words only, or an argument about words
page 35, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
“After a time this ‘progressive’ logomachy had reached a crisis of tedium; Lord Galloway got up also and sought the drawing-room.”

argent, adj Silvery
page 36, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
“The argent light lit up all four corners of the garden.”
I should know this one, but I couldn’t remember.

factotum, n A person hired to do all sorts of work; handyman
page 41, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
“The instant the factotum had closed the door, Valentin addressed the girl with an entirely new earnestness.”
Doesn’t this one just sound cool?

monomaniac, n One with an excessive interest in or enthusiasm for some one thing, crazed; one who has a mental disorder characterized by irrational preoccupation with one subject
page 43, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
“‘Is Brayne a monomaniac?'”

bodkin, n A dagger or stiletto; a pointed instrument for making holes in cloth; a long, ornamental hairpin; a thick, blunt needle for drawing ribbon or tape through a hem, etc.
page 46, The Complete Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
“‘Well, the first question, you know, is why a man should kill another with a clumsy sabre at all when a man can kill with a bodkin?'”

More great words on my Words from my reading page.

What new words have you found lately? Do you read aloud? What books have you found good for reading aloud? Obviously, this book will take us awhile to finish, but any suggestions for what next?

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10 responses to “Resurrecting an old habit (and words!)

  1. I used to read aloud with my mom. We tried reading Great Expectations, but o don’t think we ever finished it. I liked doing it though. It’s fun. Enjoy!

  2. That sounds like a great habit! I do read aloud mostly to my children. When I do find a great book to read aloud to myself, it’s because the writing is beautiful.

  3. I think reading to each other is so romantic! Argent means silver in French, but it’s commonly used to refer to money. I guess their money used to be made of silver.

  4. We used to do a lot of reading aloud too. In the early days of our marriage it seemed so romantic. Then we had all those years of reading aloud with our children and now the grandchildren. It’s time to resurrect that old habit. Thanks for the reminder.

    I like your words this week, especially monomaniac. I think we can use that to describe many book bloggers.

  5. I always wanted to read aloud with my guy, but it has never happened… We just lead totally different schedules and I guess it is just not something that we can seem to work in! Otherwise, I haven’t done it since I was a little kid!

  6. AAGGHHH! Great words. I teach college English courses, and one of them is a “fundamentals” course to bring students’ reading skills up to snuff. One of the vocabulary words in their very first chapter is “monomania.” They always end up loving that word. It seems to be one of the few that gets latched onto and flung into everyday conversation.

  7. That is such a sweet, romantic habit, reading to each other! I’ve read a few of the Father Brown stories and enjoyed them – this 800-page collection sounds wonderful!

  8. There is a couple who signed up for my reading challenge that are reading novellas together. Here’s a link to their post:

    http://tdreads.blogspot.com/2009/10/new-challenge.html

  9. It’s a wonderful thing to do! My girlfriend and I read War and Peace to each other when we first lived together. Then we moved house and the book got lost, and by the time it turned up again a couple of years later, we couldn’t remember where we’d got up to, and couldn’t face starting again!! Still, we should definitely resurrect the habit, perhaps starting with something shorter 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder!

  10. I love Father Brown!

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