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Thread: How to read

  1. #31
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    I'm exactly the opposite. I can't get my brain in gear until after a good hard run, might have something to do with circulation.

    My only advice: read slowly.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  2. #32
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    My only advice: read slowly.
    I would recommend the opposite; learn to speed read. Comprehension tends to go up as reading time decreases and it makes re-reads much easier which is usually when you begin picking up on subtext.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

  3. #33
    Originally Posted by Sancho:
    My only advice: read slowly.
    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I would recommend the opposite; learn to speed read. Comprehension tends to go up as reading time decreases and it makes re-reads much easier which is usually when you begin picking up on subtext.
    Ha, ha, quite interesting really both these comments. Actually I think you are both right. Evidence does suggest that speed reading can increase comprehension, but also I think there are times when you really need to sit down with a text and read the bloody thing very slowly, line by line, smash a cup of coffee and then go back over it again. Imagine trying to speed read Foucault for instance?

    This is it with reading though, there is often very few set rules or magic ways in. You have just got to read and read and find what works for you.

  4. #34
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    Imagine trying to speed read Foucault for instance?

    I can't imagine wanting to read Foucault for any reason whatsoever... so if such were required, reading him as fast as possible would surely be my goal.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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  5. #35
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Imagine trying to speed read Foucault for instance?

    I can't imagine wanting to read Foucault for any reason whatsoever... so if such were required, reading him as fast as possible would surely be my goal.


    Hear, hear.
    'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' - Groucho Marx

  6. #36
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Imagine trying to speed read Foucault for instance?

    I can't imagine wanting to read Foucault for any reason whatsoever... so if such were required, reading him as fast as possible would surely be my goal.
    Have you read him? How then can you pass judgment... He isn't even that difficult relative to some of his contemporaries.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    Imagine trying to speed read Foucault for instance?

    I can't imagine wanting to read Foucault for any reason whatsoever... so if such were required, reading him as fast as possible would surely be my goal.
    Really Stlukesguild how Virgilesque!

    Many theory roads lead to Foucault, whether we like him or not...

  8. #38
    Registered User sixsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post

    Many theory roads lead to Foucault, whether we like him or not...
    A fact that could militate against one choosing to read him. I'm not a Foucault hater in the classic sense. I enjoyed parts of 'Discipline and Punish' and 'Madness and Civilisation.' But I don't think he is necessary reading. Then again, I'm no longer in an academic environment where theory is unavoidable
    Last edited by sixsmith; 01-03-2010 at 08:37 AM.
    'Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.' - Groucho Marx

  9. #39
    Registered User virginiawang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBI View Post
    The University of Toronto has essentially linking to virtually all electronic resources available - Robarts is the third largest library in North America, but the electronic resources of the library are linked with a sharing agreement to the top universities in the US, Harvard, Yale, etc, to create a super database.
    I came to the conclusion that you must have a head similar to a computer in structure which gives you such wonderful desire to suck information from around the globe, of all fields, and I was forced to confess the limitation of my head in its volume and the listlessness it displayed when it confronted information.
    I do not want to train my head in a way people build up computer files, because I don't think it is necessary to accumulate knowledge once I gave up my dream of oral interpretation. Even an oral interpreter is not required to know so many points of view provided by different experts, and Encyclopedia Britannica is more than enough for him/her to handle a case. Why do people want to know what other people think so eagerly after reading a text, I wonder? I don't think it necessary for the purpose of appreciating art works to know how other people had felt for them in the past. David Henry Thoreau who once led a simple life of an artist in a forest, wrote in his small book, Walden that he did not even care to read newspapers. To be knowledgeable does not indicate to any higher achievement in art, and at the same time it blurrs the vision of one's own.
    In college, I plagiarized in exams when I was required to offer a great deal of comments which I had not. To be able to plagiarize is not always easy, and I had to memorize word for word many paragraphs before I took the exam. However I would almost always offer my genuine opinions when I encountered some reading that shook my soul, whether I was writing a term paper or an exam. I think it's honest to say nothing when I do not feel anything, so that will be the time for me to improve my English by memorizing lines from essays. It's interesting to pick up lines from different essays which I think will fit into the questions in a test. I've got to predict what my test will look like the day before to be able to choose the right quotes. However I must say that I never plagiarized in my term papers beacuse they were opportunities to practice writing. I could write anything unrelated in my paper because I could always digress to a far distance beyond the subject. In fact I should say everything is related in one way or another, and last but not least I want to impart an experience to all of you here. The importance of group discussion is what I was referring to. To discuss with a group generates fresh ideas, which improve the understanding of a work tremendously.
    Last edited by virginiawang; 01-04-2010 at 03:20 AM.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by sixsmith View Post
    A fact that could militate against one choosing to read him.


    I'm not a Foucault hater in the classic sense. I enjoyed parts of 'Discipline and Punish' and 'Madness and Civilisation.' But I don't think he is necessary reading.
    I don't mean that is necessarily necessary in his own right, but he and his thoughts seem to pop up in a lot of places. So even if you have only got a general understanding of Foucault it often helps, rather than having to go back in reference all the time. In a similar way I often feel a little blind that my knowledge of the Bible is rather limited. I think it would have been useful to start literary studies with the Bible because it underpins so much in literature. I'm not saying that Foucault has that much influence in comparison to modern theory, but he does seem to be a bit of a root figure and someone I would recommend to try to get a grip of if you are approaching (modern?) theory.

  11. #41
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorpheusSandman View Post
    I would recommend the opposite; learn to speed read. Comprehension tends to go up as reading time decreases and it makes re-reads much easier which is usually when you begin picking up on subtext.
    Sorry about taking so long to respond but I had to go to work. Baby needs new shoes.

    You have a good point and now that I think about it, thereís some stuff I like to read fast too - stuff like the back of tooth-paste tubes, instruction manuals, product safety warnings, and business contracts. Artsy-fartsy literature, on the other hand, I like to read slowly. I like to throttle-back and enjoy the ride, stop to ponder what Iíve just read, try to circle around and come at it from a different angle, spend some time enjoying a particularly well-crafted sentence.

    So hereís where I make a crude simile:
    Reading is like sex. Fast is good, but slow is better.

    And hereís where I recall a crude, anthropomorphic joke:
    An old bull and a young bull are standing on a hill, watching the herd. The young bull, sniffing and fetching and full of anxiety, says to the old bull, ďHey man, Iíve got a great idea. Letís run down this hill and f*** one of those cows.Ē The old bull says the young bull, ďNaw man, letís walk down this hill and f*** Ďem all.Ē
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  12. #42
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    When you speed read there's no rule that says you can't slow down for particularly good passages or even go back and read them and soak up the phonetic/aesthetic detail. But reading takes time; a lot of time compared to most of the other arts. Most people read at a rate that makes reading frustrating to them. When you read one word at a time like you speak then you're reading at about 250 words per minute. That means for an even average size book of around 400 pages it would take about 10 hours to read. Imagine being able to cut that time in half (which is easy with speed reading), then you'd be able to read the book twice in the same time. Imagine being able to read that same book in a day; think of how much MORE you could get read! There is so much great literature out there; so much that's worth reading. And outside of literature there are so many films, so much music, and so much of the rest of life to experience. If you can save many hours reading and experience more in less time I just don't think this is ever a bad thing. We may never be able to breeze through books like Harold Bloom, but it would be nice to get close.

    Yes, I realize that things like poetry or extremely complex prose are either impossible to speed read or that speed reading ruins the effect, but this only accounts for a small-ish amount of literature out there.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

  13. #43
    running amok Sancho's Avatar
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    Ah-hah! So Iíve learned that speed-reading is not the same thing as fast-reading and Iím willing to concede that it may be an effective technique for some readers, but Iím not willing to say itís for everybody. Iíll admit my prejudice here and make the excuse that those old Evelyn Wood TV commercials, with a reader zigzagging his finger across the page at lightning speed, seemed like a hoax to me Ė something in the same category as baldness cures or this-will-get-you-into-that-bikini-in-two-weeks-guaranteed programs.

    Anyway, it may have more to do with the temperament of the reader than with the method. That is to say, I donít think you can rank order these things like college football teams.

    Okay, so Iím trying to think of an allegory. Hmmm, something less crass than two bulls on a hill but probably not as well thought out as the Allegory of the Cave. Here goes: This how-to-read dilemma may be analogous to choosing an adult language program. You can go with an audio program like Pimsleurís, or a mostly visual program like Rosetta Stone, or you can take night classes at the local community college, or you can hook-up with a [your desired language here] girlfriend. There are people who will swear that one or another of these methods is the best or even the only way to learn a language. I think it really just comes down to the person.

    Well, enough of all that. What do you guys think of boozing when you read? I find that a couple of high-balls works pretty good when Iím reading someone like Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson, but not so much when Iím reading someone like Henry James.
    Some people call me Maurice
    'Cos I speak of the pompatus of love

  14. #44
    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    I think alcohol of the heavier kind like wine or schnapps or Belgian beer, ruins the concentration. It depends, like you said, on what you are reading, but Shakespeare with a glass of wine... I'd be surprised that by the end of the glass I was still concentrated and was just reading the words and not taking them in ...
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

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  15. #45
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    Iíll admit my prejudice here and make the excuse that those old Evelyn Wood TV commercials, with a reader zigzagging his finger across the page at lightning speed, seemed like a hoax to me Ė something in the same category as baldness cures or this-will-get-you-into-that-bikini-in-two-weeks-guaranteed programs.
    It's not a hoax in the least bit. The problem has to do that people are taught to read one word at a time and yet our brain is a powerful enough processor that we can read MUCH more than one word at a time. For instance, look at (don't read), this phrase:

    How many words can you see just by looking at it?

    Were you able to look at it without reading it? Probably not, because we read by SIGHT and recognize the word long before we say the word sub-vocally. If you can cut out that sub-vocalizing or minimize it you can read as many words as you can see. How many words could you see at a time in that line? It's undoubtedly more than one. In fact, it's impossible just to see one word. So imagine if you can read 4-5 words during each eye fixation? All of a sudden you've just doubled (at least) your reading time.

    I honestly do think speed reading is for everyone. I've only just gotten into it and it's already made a major difference in how fast I can get through books and even online message boards.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

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