Having my reading goals be pretty lofty the past few months and by being in a class where I need to have books read in a short amount of time, I’ve been thinking a lot about how closely I am paying attention to what I’m reading as opposed to barreling through so I can say I finished it. So far, our class has read House of Mirth by Edith Wharton and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We are given time in class to do a close reading of a paragraph or two and analyze what the author is saying and why they are saying it. It is amazing how much more I get out of digging into a paragraph – because I am spending time doing it! Now, I’m not sure how realistic it would be to do close reading for every page, paragraph, sentence, etc. however, it did get me thinking about my pacing through a written work. Sometimes, I find myself racing through a work and not retaining a lot besides basic plot points and character actions/thoughts. What would it look like if I read more carefully? In college, I was in a political science class and my instructor had stated for every article we read, it was good practice to read through it 3 times – once to get a gist, twice to catch things missed, and thrice to absorb the information. What a concept! And here comes the part where I think, do I actually have time for that? Not in a that wouldn’t be useful or would be a waste of time kind of way but more so that would significantly impact how I structure my time – probably affecting how many books I read in my lifetime. That’s a matter of contemplation of importance – read a whole lot and retain little OR read a few and reflect more deeply?
How do you manage to read through lots of books and retain deeper meanings?