Micro.blog

jack
jack

While reading a book I have issues with, I try to think, “What can I learn from this?” rather than just looking for things to criticize.

adamprocter
adamprocter

@jack 👍✌️

vasta
vasta

@jack That is a fantastic perspective! Something we should probably adopt in every part of our lives. Thank you for sharing.

macgenie
macgenie

@jack Great perspective. I spent four years in a Ph.D. program in history where we read stacks of books every week and had to pick them apart in seminar. Though I appreciate the skills I gained in writing, research, and critical thinking, it took me several years to be able enjoy anything for its own sake.

justindirose
justindirose

@jack that’s really good advice. I often find myself wanting to stop when I strongly disagree, but I’ll take this into consideration!

Annie
Annie

@macgenie I didn't read anything for fun for a full year after completing my English degree.

garciabuxton
garciabuxton

@jack An excellent principle for a lot of things, not just books you don’t agree with!

macgenie
macgenie

@Annie After graduate school, I worked in book publishing. I didn't have to be too critical (after all, we are trying to sell these books), but it took a few more years to be able to read a book without worrying about who the editor, agent, and publishing house was. Too much inside baseball. I ended up re-reading Pride and Prejudice many times!

smokey
smokey

@macgenie Oh, you’re lucky it took until grad school! High school English (really, freshman English, but reinforced three more years) destroyed my theretofore boundless love of and voracious appetite for reading, and it never recovered :-( I learned a ton about literature from those classes and teachers and really appreciate that, but I still resent them for the undesireable side effects.

macgenie
macgenie

@smokey True. The rote approach to writing an essay about a book could kill anyone's interest in literature.

smokey
smokey

@macgenie It was worse than that, though…to prove that we had read the assigned pages (and hadn’t cheated with Cliff), we had daily (open-note) quizzes which asked about small and usually “unimportant” details, so you basically had to read and paraphrase the text into your notes if you wanted not to fail…. Then came the essays ;-)

In reply to
hexalspace
hexalspace

@smokey In high school, we had to close read books by writing tons of notes in the margins as we read. This ruined my experience of some classic books as I was always thinking about what I would need to write. Also, my handwriting was awful and the fact it was in book margins didn't help so I usually did somewhat poorly on them.

smokey
smokey

@hexalspace That sounds terrible! We at least got to take notes outside the books; I can’t imagine trying to take notes in the margins all the time (my handwriting is also quite poor). But that’s exactly it, always thinking about the note-taking and not enjoying the book for what it was….

Annie
Annie

@macgenie Yes! I found myself returning to reading via my old, familiar favorites. Lots of Austen, Bronte, and favorite YA series ... from there, slowly, back to a love of reading for its own sake.

Annie
Annie

@jack @macgenie Re: this whole conversation, one book that helped me read thoughtfully and critically without destroying the 'love of the book' is Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose. (Yes. Prose.)