Thursday, March 22, 2007

Some Thoughts on Reading

As we wait to see who wins the free books in celebration of 1,000 books on my shelves (see previous post), here are some thoughts on reading:

Douglas Groothuis has a great post on reading. Here are his 12 principles:

1. Read often, giving adequate time for the nature of the work.

2. Stop watching TV (if you do). It tends to rot the mind. Read the appendix to Truth Decay on that as well as the contemporary classic, Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman (1985).

3. Mark up your books, underlining key ideas and jotting ideas in the margins. Keep an index in the front of the book of the most important ideas. If the book is especially profound, take detailed notes on it.

4. Try to use the ideas from good books in letters, essays, teachings, and conversations. Form a book club. Keep the ideas alive. Aspire to write a book yourself, if it is needed and you are the person to write it.

5. Reread important books. This is a mark of the literary person, as CS Lewis notes in An Experiment in Criticism. I have been rereading much of Francis Schaeffer recently, a man I first read nearly 30 years ago as a young Christian. It is well worth it.

6. Never get rid of a book you have read. I have thousands of books, but lament that have I let go of some I have read (and some I didn't).

7. Read and reread old books. Don't be taken captive by fashion. Savor the classics.

8. Ask smart people what their favorite books are and why. Then read them.

9. Read in silence. Carve out a private place if need be.

10. Always look up and learn unfamiliar words you find in your reading. From 1976-1994 or so, I filled a blank book of over a 100 pages with such words. Use such words in conversation, even if the person you are conversing with may not know them.

11. Spend time in books stores, new and old. Get a sense and feel for what is out there.

12. When in doubt, buy a book.


Anonymous said...

great post! i totally agree and was challenged to read more and write more. #5 confused me for a second bc i forgot you were not the writer...i was thinking, justin is not even 30 yet! how could you have read 30 years ago...oh well, i figured it out. :) hope things are going great!


Reader Scott said...

Thanks for those tips. I completely agree with the one that says turn off the TV. TV is worse than crack in my opinion. It does more damage to society.

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