How to Read a Book 2

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In late 1999, Time Magazine ranked the 100 most important events of the last millenium. The most definitive event occurred almost half-way: in 1455, a German goldswith ran off 200 gorgeously designed Bibles on the first Western-style printing press. At the time of Johannes Gutenbergs invention, there were fewer than 30,000 books in the world. Forty-five years later, there were over 9 million.

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How to Read a BookHow to Read a BookIntroductionIn late 1999, Time Magazine ranked the 100 most important events of the last millenium. The most definitive event occurred almost half-way: in 1455, a German goldswith ran off 200 gorgeously designed Bibles on the first Western-style printing press. At the time of Johannes Gutenbergs invention, there were fewer than 30,000 books in the world. (Thats less than the size of the childrens section upstairs in the the Cloverdale library.) Forty-five years later, there were over 9 million.Gutenbergs invention either made possible or magnified the impact of virtually every other major world event that followed him, whether the wildfire spread of Martin Luthers ideas, the publication of Charles Darwins Origin of Species, or Albert Einsteins mind-boggling theory of relativity.No shiny gadget has the potential to change your life as one of these cheap wood-pulp products. When I got my library card, fondly remembers Rita Mae Brown, that was when life began.Books are to the soul what windows are to a house. They offer the possibility of transcendance and a chance to lead an extra life. Books stretch the imagination, stir the heart, and challenge our ideas. They invite us to think and feel in new ways. All of us can read, but not all of us can read well. Here are some proven suggestions that will help you get the most of your reading.Pick the best books.You can only read so many books. Make sure you read the very best.There are two kinds of books: the books of the hour and the books of all time. The books that survive the test of centuries are those that deal with the eternal human problems. No one will be reading John Grisham in one hundred years.C.S. Lewis reminded us that readinq old books keeps the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds. They guard us against the blindnesses of our own age.Create a good environment.Good lightA good chair I read better at a table.)A comfortable chair, but not too comfortable. QuietTimebut not a marathon. 1 or 2 hours.An alert mindThere are two classes of readers: those who read to fall asleep & those who stay awake to read.How many times have you daydreamed your way through pages & pagss and suddenly realizing you have no clue what you just read?Get the general idea.Read through once without stoppingSkip arguments & references that escape you.Example: Shakespeare was spoiled for high school students by forcing them through the minutae.Look for the overall plan. Can I describe this book in one sentence?Having a general grasp will help you understand the particulars the second time round.Ask the author questions.Hold a conversation with the book.Who is the author? (Qualifications, biases)What problem is the author trying to address?What are the book's arguments?What evidence is supplied?What conclusion is reached?Assess the arguments.Are they valid?What weaknesses are there?Uninformed?Misinformed?Illogical?Incomplete?What are my criticisms?Does the author respond to these? How well?Be fair-minded.Suspend judgementDon't be quarrelsome.The best book is the one that makes me put it down and think for myself.Sum up the book.Create notes as you go along3-5 pages per 100 pagesWrite page numbers beside each note.Create an outline showing the books structure.Write down the answers to the questions you were asking.The author is addressing the problem of a. He believes b because of c, d and e. The argument is [strong/weak] because of f, g, h. ConclusionThe point is not to read as many books as possible ... it is to become a larqer person by reading well, and readinq deeply. One book well-digested is worth libraries of which one has only read enouqh to be immunized against.Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read. (Groucho Marx)