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 Crystal Rain.
cleat: a fastener (usually with two projecting horns) around which a rope can be secured
cordon: cord or ribbon worn as an insignia of honor or rank
gimbal: a pivoted ring mounted at right angles to one or two others to ensure that something such as a ship's compass always remains horizontal
sextant: a measuring instrument for measuring the angular distance between celestial objects
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