One of the things I often do as I'm reading a novel or short story is keep track of words whose definitions I do not know or that I find interesting. Either way, these interesting words are ones I feel might be of use in my own writing. That, and it's good to expand one's vocabulary every once in a while.
Read my review of Blood Engines.
consigliere: An adviser or counselor, especially to a capo or leader of an organized crime syndicate.
self-aggrandizement: an act undertaken to increase your own power and influence or to draw attention to your own importance
sarong: a loose skirt consisting of brightly colored fabric wrapped around the body; worn by both women and men in the South Pacific
diurnal: having a daily cycle or occurring every day; belonging to or active during the day
pagoda: a tall religious building in Asia with many levels, each of which has a curved roof
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