Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reading Practical Books

Look, you can use that signature program for all kinds of things.  

Since summer, I've been trying to figure out a way to interact with Mortimer Adler's book called How to Read a Book.  I've read the book before, but little of it "stuck" because I didn't apply it. I want to know it well enough to be able to give it to my high schooler to read.

Suddenly, it occurred to me!  It could go along with my slow-decluttering my bookshelves project!

I can use the books on my shelves to apply Adler's principles and maybe develop my reading skills!

Oh, I am definitely earning the right with this post to perch some geeky glasses on my nose, with all those exclamation points devoted to things like applying principles, decluttering shelves and developing reading skills!

Exclamation points aside, here is the plan.   I decided to start re-reading all my old self-help books.   This is for three reasons: (1) I can use the help (2) They are usually written on a fairly easy reading level, so I can read them on my stationary bike (3) I think they are the ones on my bookshelf I am mostly likely to be able to give away.  

But I don't want to give them away until I have gotten some of the good out of them, whatever made me want to keep them in the first place.  Though in some cases, I think I kept them in the wistful hope that just having the title on my shelf would be equal to having the characteristic, whatever it happened to be.  If that is so, all the more reason to pass them on to someone who can use them as more than a sort of talisman. 

Adler's book has a whole chapter on How to Read Practical Books.  It's in the middle of the book, but that's OK -- sometimes it's easier to jump in the middle.  He discusses the very thing I was noticing -- that just READING a practical book doesn't fulfill its purpose.  You have to do something as a result to get the good intended from it. 

So that's what I'm going to try to do...use my self-help books as practice in reading Practical Books.  It makes it even nicer that Adler's book is in itself, as he mentions, a Practical Book.  So it seems this fall is going to be Practical Reading 101.  Maybe I really will learn to be organized, healthy, integrated, confident and all that kind of thing ;-). Oh, and a good reader.

I'd better stop here, since Aidan wants my help with a project of his own .  (He found some smiley-face stickers and asked me to print out a clock with blank circles instead of numbers so that he can put the stickers on the blank circles -- maybe he can earn some geeky glasses too, since he's always thinking up this kind of paper- impromptu-Montessori exercise).

1 comment:

  1. I love that book. I give a copy of Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book as a graduation gift to high school graduates. Whenever a find an old copy I buy it. I like the old copy than the revised one.


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