Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Taking notes

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Ever since I stopped going to church, I’ve developed a Sunday morning ritual of my own.  I make a cup of tea and ensconce myself in my library with a serious book, one I hope will make me a better, wiser person.  I’ve been very very slowly reading my beloved set of Britannica Great Books, using the Ten Year Reading Plan that Mortimer Adler added to the set back in 1952, and then switching to my own literary hero, Mark Twain.  It is often my favorite part of the week.

This week, I tried adding note-taking to the ritual.  I sat in my Comfy Reading Chair with my book and a composition book, and as I wrote, I took notes on what was significant to me, sometimes pausing to write in more detail what I was thinking about it.

It added a dimension, for sure.  There was a small logistical issue related to note-taking in a cushy reclining chair, but darn it, Sunday Morning Reading Time doesn’t want to be relocated to a table or a desk.  It wants to be in the library, on the comfy chair.  That was a fairly small challenge, though, and perching the notebook on one knee, shifting it as I turned pages, was not too onerous.

I followed Aristotle’s Poetics much better while note-taking and writing reflectively.  I got more from the experience of reading it, too.  I’m certain that I would have found it much less interesting and much less readable if I weren’t writing while I read.  It did slow down the reading, but that, too, may be an advantage.  I can burn paper when I want to, but it’s good to add a mechanism for slowing down and savoring what I’m reading.

I think that my Sunday Morning Reading Ritual is going to include writing next week, too.


Written by Contented Reader

September 11, 2012 at 6:33 am

Posted in Opinions


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