Saturday, January 14, 2006

The beauty of a book well-read

2005 has come to a close, and with it the experience of reading many good books. In the short years since my sojourn in the hallowed halls of the academy, I have become an eager consumer of good books. From classical fiction to science fiction and fantasy, ministry and church helps, theology and great history, anthology and digest, cultural commentary and practical how-to, I just plain love good books.

And having read a pile of them over the last few years, I am starting to want to read them more fully. I have developed the habit of getting in to a good book, really enjoying it, but then forgetting about it as soon as the last page is turned. Most of the books I consider "good" are worth remembering, and many of them contain a lot of wisdom I'd like to put to good use.

So this year, one of my New Year's resolutions is to slow down a bit and reflect more fully on the books I am reading. Even before grad school, I'd been in the habit of keeping a reading journal--noting provocative quotes and rabbit trails the author generated in my mind. But this year, I am going to take this practice to the next level. After finishing a book, I am going to attempt a short synopsis of the book and attempt to concisely capture the most important discoveries along the way.

Books are a way of sharing wisdom and experience with another. I wonder how much of the wisdom and experience of others I've hurried past, chasing the back cover of the book? This year, perhaps I'll find each book's treasure less a fleeting notion and more a part of who I am.

1 comment:

Alien Shaman said...

I started a running post I will use to track this same kind of information.

Something else I have come to realize is that I need to revisit books quite regularly if I am going to truly digest what they have to say.

The 7 Habits for example, I have now read it, have a fundamental understanding and can adapt things slowly. My goal is that in six months I will re-read it to see how I am doing. The same goes for many other books I have been reading lately.

It is like an author of a book of mine said, "Eat like a bird, and poop like an elephant." Consume as much information little by little, and then you will come up with something big.