The Researching Reader
Do you find yourself researching as you read? This is something I just discovered myself doing recently. In an attempt to broaden my vocabulary, I will look up any word that I have the slightest question about its meaning. Because of my Latin background, sometimes I can deduce or guess a word’s meaning but to know for sure I look it up. Not only do I look it up, I write it down so I can go back to it later. Certain words stick out to me and I may use them later in my won writing.
I also found myself looking up other things such as events or people. Also, I look up various other items. For example, today when I was reading, two characters began discussing the painting Las Meninas by Velázquez. Since I am not familiar with fine art, I had never seen the painting before so in order to familiarize myself with the conversation and at least be aware of the subject of their discussion, I Googled the painting. Was this a necessary action? Maybe not, but as a reader I was now more informed than if I had just indulged in the conversation blindly without the slightest idea of the image being discussed.
There have also been times when I doubt an author’s research in writing historical fiction. Sometimes I have been proved wrong by my search, other times I have been right, discredited the author, and my trust in them was shattered (thankfully, this has not happened often).
How often do you, as a reader, research what you’re reading?