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A New Way Of Reading

So I have been trying to make my reading more conducive to later writing. That is to say: I am trying to work toward a collected body of research that I can use to give evidence in articles. It is an interesting process — though one that I am not so sure, really, has much point — that is very time consuming. I think the problem is that I tend to read things twice instead of once: I read an article one time through and then I go back to draw out my quotes. Instead, I ought to read things through with my notebook and jot down my thoughts as I go along. Otherwise the impulse fizzles and thought runs aground, and trying to rekindle it or get it back on course by flipping through the marked up pages of books I’ve already ready is as irritating as it is tedious.

The place I am storing most this research is a Wikindx. The interface is nice enough, though it is tedious entering in the quotes etc. And since I have yet to make use of the research yet amassed — whether intentionally or in passing — I am beginning to wonder if my time wouldn’t be better spent picking my nose.

The real problem seems to be the precision of my retention. I read things and get the general import but do not remember precise facts. In books where there is an index in the back, this isn’t a great problem. But not all my books have indices; nor do I have all the books I’ve read. Which is why I started this project in the first place. I figure I will give it six months and see what happens: if it produces anything other than annoyance, I’ll keep it up.

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2 Responses

  1. it seems to me that the former method of reading articles twice would be more beneficial but it could be my losing my way when i stop to do anything else. i would worry that in making notes i would lose the idea of the passage read.

    i, too, seem to remember the gist but not the specifics again a reason why that second read is important, i am surprised how different the reading becomes.

  2. The thing about this, and the one that is bothering me most of all, is that I am assuming that my reading should produce something. This is probably a side-effect of several issues, not the least of which being that I do not get to produce much of value à mon travail, but also because I am parroting our culture’s “no work without product” mantra.

    Reading the second time is always better. Re-reading is essentially better, I think. You notice all the intricacies, if there are intricacies to notice.

    livingfossil8 January, 2007 @ 1:56 amReply

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