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I'm in my final year at school next year and I'm looking to improve my vocabulary. What...

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monibell | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 23, 2012 at 4:14 PM via web

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I'm in my final year at school next year and I'm looking to improve my vocabulary. What are some good novels that I can enjoy and learn considerably from at the same time?

i hate romance novels and anything to do with vampires etc. (no Twilight). 

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praneshhk | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM (Answer #2)

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i sujjest you to read .. "world power made easy" book it helps u to improve the vocabulary .

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mizzwillie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:13 PM (Answer #3)

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I would suggest that you try some of the novels written specifically to teach SAT vocabulary with words underlined and definitions available for words you don't know.  You can find them at book stores if you just explain what you want.  Also, some of the more difficult books such as the classics use vocabulary which requires you to look up words in the dictionary if you don't know them.  Vocabulary books themselves such as the "Word Power Made Easy" suggested above do help.  In addition, the real secret to improving vocabulary is to know the meanings of prefixes and suffixes which are added to the beginnings and endings of base words.  Vocabulary is important to build anytime but especially before college.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM (Answer #4)

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If you are looking for some literary titles, I would recommend As I Lay Dyingby William Faulkner and One Hundred Years of Solitudeby Gabriel Garcie Marquez. 

These are two classics that boast quite a range of terms, using some arcane language, some rather specialized vocabulary, and draw generally from a wide lexicon. 

In your last year of school, you may now be ready for these books. (They are challenging.)

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:05 AM (Answer #5)

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The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (which is also one of my favorite novels) has a pretty sophisticated vocabulary that is made more palatable by McCarthy's generally spare sentences. The unorthodox use of puncuation can be a little off-putting for some readers, but once you get used to his style, it's not difficult reading. I would recommend this book, or in fact, many of his books, like Blood Meridian or All the Pretty Horses for readers trying to improve vocabulary. Another great book full of "ten-cent" words, as a former teacher of mine used to call them, is Confederacy of Dunces. Very unlike McCarthy's work, it is funny and dense, but Ignatius J. Reilly, the main character, spews out word after word that will send you to the dictionary.

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mwalter822 | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted October 24, 2012 at 6:10 AM (Answer #6)

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Any novel that is at or above your current reading level will offer some challenges to your vocabulary. One good tool to help you with this is something called a "lexile" rating. The higher the lexile rating the more difficult the book. Many libraries display a book's lexile rating. Just make sure that what you are reading isn't too low.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM (Answer #7)

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There are novels from a couple of companies that have words highlighted in them.  Those are pretty neat.  Although it is geared toward younger kids, A Series of Unfortunate Events is funny and easy and has a lot of adult humor, including definitions of words.  My favorite vocabulary builders are Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series though.  When I taught Hot Words for the SAT, it was astonishing how many there were.

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dkaye | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:54 PM (Answer #8)

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I recommend checking out older books--they often have vocabulary that has fallen out of fashion, but isn't necessarily more difficult than current bestsellers' word choices.

As a part-time gig, I edit classic science fiction novels into e-books.  I just finished a series of short books by Harry Harrison (the author of the story adapted into the movie Soylent Green) that uses a whole host of words even I had to look up--and I've got an MA in English! The first one is called The Stainless Steel Rat. They're pretty quick reads, and the main character is really fun. He's a slick con man with a code of honor all his own who gets caught up in a futuristic government agency that uses him to fight crime.  The books are fluffy, but fun--and classic retro scifi.

A few examples of great words I learned from that series:

eructate (to burp)

dottle (the tobacco left over in a pipe after smoking)

carom (to strike and rebound, especially in a game of billiards)

Happy reading!

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msnewbooklover | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) Honors

Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:04 PM (Answer #9)

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unlike others i would suggest u to read novels which u like....of any gener...but if u read fiction u will improve ur knowledge....remember vocabulary isnt build in a single day,it takes tym....u read novels and try to figure out contextual meaning...next tym u will read it anywhere u will remember it for ever.....

like mY teacher told me once the meaning of unanimous.....but i couldnt remember..but i read it somewhere...moreover i heard it in movie...now i remember it...movie too can enhance the vocb...........:)))

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rinodyssey | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2012 at 4:58 PM (Answer #10)

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A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. It's a great story with great vocabulary. It takes a good intellectual mind to fully comprehend the way he uses his grammar.

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William Delaney | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 27, 2012 at 4:06 AM (Answer #11)

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I learned a long time ago to choose books by authors rather than by titles or subjects. If you like one book by a certain author you will probably like his or her other books. Following this concept, I have read a lot of novels by Aldous Huxley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Hesse, Leo Tolstoy, Theodore Dreiser, and a few others. But I have also read lots of anthologies of short stories by authors like Guy De Maupassant, Edgar Allan Poe, John Cheever, John Collier, John Updike, D.H. Lawrence, Anton Chekhov, Henry James, Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and many others. I would suggest that you ask yourself what authors you have enjoyed and then try reading more of their works. If you liked The Great Gatsby, for example, have you read Tender is the Night? This Side of Paradise? The Beautiful and Damned? The Last Tycoon?

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guigs97 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:52 PM (Answer #12)

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Tsotsi by Athol Fugard is a good book, there is also a movie. Assasin's quest by Robin Hobb has good vocabulary, but it might not be your type of book.

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