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Thread: How & why do you read?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    How & why do you read?

    Over the weekend, my Menís Christian Group invited a professor from a local Christian college in to talk about studding the scriptures. I was surprised at how in depth some of the study methods where and it got me thinking about how I read other books too. One of the things that caught my attention was when the professor commented about how little people read anything. He found statistics that for every 150 hours of TV watched, one hour of non-work related reading is completed. He then said that 90% of that reading is either entertainment or the person reading does not actually apply any of the information presented. And none of these figures include online media. I had to admit I was surprised that the figures were that good. I thought that they would be far worse, but then another person in our group commented about newspapers.

    I think we as Planners are a different breed. I would venture to guess that our numbers are substantially better than the general public, partly because so much of our job involves reading and interpreting what we are reading knowing that our conclusions can have a dramatic impact on someone else. We still enjoy entertainment, but I think we are wired differently and apply good principles that we read into our lives.

    As some of you know, I have been devouring books over the past two years. The topics included history, finance, self-help, leadership, classics, religious, biographies, and philosophy. Now I am addicted. I think I might read 20 hours for every one hour of TV I watch.

    For me, I have a process. First, I put the date that I start the book inside the front cover. Then I as I read each chapter, I highlight, underline, and take margin notes. Once I complete each chapter, I will write a summary of the chapter in a notebook dedicated to that book. I will also include my thoughts on what he wrote and how I apply any good principles to my life. Then when I finish a book, I will write thoughts on the overall book and put together a check list of principles from the book that I can use to change my life for the better. I then focus on those principles over the next week, while I read new book.

    Do you just read cover to cover or do you read the messages between the lines? Do you have a process for reading? Do you just read for entertainment or to grow yourself?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    [QUOTE=michaelskis;607004Do you just read cover to cover or do you read the messages between the lines? Do you have a process for reading? Do you just read for entertainment or to grow yourself?[/QUOTE]

    Those are not all mutually exclusive. I can read for entertainment (cookbooks, for example, one of my favorite reads) and learn a lot to benefit our family.

    I haven't highlighted anything I've read since textbooks in college. I learn from everything I read: a "real" newspaper every day, plus mulitiple papers and news sources online; magazines; novels and non-fiction. Reading has been my #1 hobby since I was a small child. I read 7-10 books a week; fewer when I was employed, maybe 5-7. From newspapers and magazines, I glean recipes, new (free!) useful websites and apps, deals, etc. "Growing yourself" doesn't have to be limited to finance or self-help and religious websites or readings; anything you read can expand your view of the world. Novels, non-fiction, newpapers, magazines, the back of cereal boxes; we can all learn from anything we read.

    You can probably tell I'm a big proponent of reading! Seeing as how it's Banned Books Week, everyone go read a Banned Book!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    It Depends

    I read for several reasons: to be entertained, to learn something, to try something new, to expose myself to something, or for work.

    For entertainment, I don't highlight/write notes/anything, because it's entertainment, not work. I only write down stuff when it's either a new pattern or a new recipe. Usually I'm writing down shortcuts, corrections, or what I did different.

    Like ZG, I haven't highlighted anything since grad school. Personally, I don't find highlighting all that effective, and even in school I did it more as a reminder to come back later and reference the highlight in my notes.

    Reading should not be work. If I want to learn something, I read about it. If I want to learn more than what I just read, I read more books/articles/etc. I have a great memory, and don't need to write everything down. I usually have at least two books going at any given time. One at work for lunch breaks, and one for at home. I go through about 3 - 5 books per week. The central library is across the street, and they know me by name, and almost always refer to my . . . varied reading selections.

    I've read a lot of banned books, but I know one person who's read all of them, as of the last banned book list. A couple I read in high school, many more in college, and a few since then. Maybe I should get a few more crossed off my list . . . The library opens at 10am!

    As for reading from cover to cover versus between the lines - why can't you do both? If you read the whole book, and get the meaning, then you've done both. There have been a few books where I've missed the undertones, but then, I was in high school or college. I have found a solid grasp of world history, politics, economics, and keeping an open mind helps me to get the hidden meaning(s). And sometimes, there are those that find hidden messages that aren't really there - because they don't have an open mind.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Don't read that much, a few books a year. I find great pleasure in not finishing a book that is boring or stupid--now that I do not HAVE to finish it.

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    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    Don't read that much, a few books a year. I find great pleasure in not finishing a book that is boring or stupid--now that I do not HAVE to finish it.
    That's a good point. Once you are an adult and it's not something required by work that you absorb, and you read 20 pages and realize, this isn't working for me.... you get to stop.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    That's a good point. Once you are an adult and it's not something required by work that you absorb, and you read 20 pages and realize, this isn't working for me.... you get to stop.
    I agree. There has been more than a few books that I have done that. But then again there are a few books that I finished even though after page 20 I realized that I was in complete disagreement with the author. But I used it as a why was I in disagreement, and tried to understand why they thought that way.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Most of this forum is likely college grad, which makes us, in my area anyway, only 25% at most of general populace.

    I have a TV, but only an antenna, and don't watch any of what is there.

    I like to read books that give a reader some mental exercise, like Joseph Campbell or Carl Jung. Besides that I like reading fiction for prose style. I have to really like the first 100 wds or so to keep going with fiction. Besides that I love the New Yorker and keep a subscription to the Sun, which has no ads and is subscriber driven.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess View post
    That's a good point. Once you are an adult and it's not something required by work that you absorb, and you read 20 pages and realize, this isn't working for me.... you get to stop.
    I read something recently (though I do not recall where) that was talking about how the intense emphasis in school on reading and then immediately writing a report about it tends to have a negative impact on children's joy of reading during their own personal time. And I have to say, I have suffered from the same thing. I enjoy reading a lot more when I realize no one is going to test me for comprehension or ask me some pop question about it.

    That being said, I mostly read news and information type sources. Politics, reference stuff (I just got Brad Lancaster's "Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands" and recently read "The Humanure Handbook" by Joseph Jenkins) and the like. Fell asleep reading a New Mexico mountain biking book last night, for example. I read maybe 4-5 novels a year. Nothing compared to my wife's pace, but she doesn't read as much info and news either, so we make a well-rounded team. Not sure what the next one will be, but I have been eyeing a Malcolm Gladwell book or another Timothy Egan one (The Big Burn I think its called).

    What I really wanted to do is link to a clip of Bill Hicks' piece on reading at a Waffle House, but I couldn't find a good enough example. The short of it is that he is at a Waffle House and the waitress asks him "what are you reading for?" "Not, 'what am I reading' but 'what am I reading FOR?' - well, gol donnit, you stumped me..." If you know Bill Hicks, you can imagine where it might go from here...
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I've been reading a lot lately about "green" building techniques and greywater reuse. My lady and I want to build our own rural self sustaining home/mini-farm in the not too distant future, so I'm trying to educate myself as best as possible so I can do a good job at actually building the thing.

    I also do a lot of online reading. Washington Post and then random science articles I find.

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