Autodidact: self-taught


How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

by V. L. Craven

I read a lot but I don’t read as deeply as I’d like. Sometimes I want only to read everything I possibly can during my short time on phere, but other times I wish I could get more from my reading. To that end, I picked up Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, a classic for very good reason–it tells readers how to more fully engage with their reading material, no matter the subject. He says that reading is engaging in a conversation with the author and gives suggestions as to how to better conduct the conversation.

He starts with the dimensions of reading, wherein he talks about the four levels of reading that every person goes through, goes into detail on the first two levels (elementary and inspectional, which most people are up to by the time they’re in secondary/high school) and then gives tips on how to be a demanding reader.

The second part starts with the third level of reading–analytical reading. This is something I need to work on so I’ve been taking notes on that section.

Part three breaks down how to read everything from fiction to mathematics, social sciences, plays, history, philosophy–you name it.

Part four is about the most advanced type of reading: syntopical reading, which is the ability to read many books on one subjects and allow the authors of each of those books to talk to you but also to one another about their subject–sort of a literary conference call. This is something that amazes me when others can do it and something that I would very much like to be able to do one day so this section was note-heavy, too.

[This post is from a previous blog.]

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