Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Reading Process, Howling Frog Style

Howling Frog Style, that sounds pretty cool, like Gangnam Style only better.  Now I just need a surreal video and theme song!

The WEM group--Adriana at Classical Quest, the the WEM Ladies from A Classic Case of Madness, and Ruth from An Experiment with TWEM--is posting today about their reading and note-taking habits, and they were very kind and asked me to participate.  They say I can be an honorary WEMer, which is awfully nice of them I think.

I should explain that WEM is short for The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had.  This is a book by my favorite homeschooler, Susan Wise Bauer, on reading to fill in the gaping chasms of ignorance many of us have.  It's divided into five genres: fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry, and gives lists of pivotal works in each genre.  The idea is that if you read the lists chronologically, you'll get a good idea of the development of each genre.  It's a great book and I do recommend it for reading fiends!

In accordance, the members of the WEM group read classic books, take notes, and then discuss in detail on their blogs.  (Right now it's Huck Finn, with bonus Pride and Prejudice for Valentine's Day.)  I have sometimes joined up, as with Portrait of a Lady, and I'll be reading along with Huck Finn too.

And now to the point of this post!  The only trouble with me writing a post about my reading and note-taking process is that I don't really have much of one.

I have a regrettable tendency to read while doing other things, in snatches: I stir soup and read a few paragraphs, and so on.  Of course I also sit down and read, but even when I mean to underline important bits and take notes, either the notes or the entire book tend to get forgotten.  Portrait of a Lady has underlines--in the first 100 pages.  I have a couple of notebooks by my bed with notes of, say, Locke's Second Treatise on Civil Government (which I need to take notes on in order to understand), but the book has been gathering dust for some time.  I'll have to read it eventually though; I put it on my Classics Club reading list.

Mostly I just read the books and then write up a post.  It's true that a lot gets lost this way.  I'll be reading along, full of thoughts, and then when it comes time to write something it's all gone.

I do have one good point in my favor.  My friends credit me with the super-power of being able to find any passage in a book in no time flat, which is mostly true.  It's not much of a super-power I guess, but I'll take what I can get.

I had a WEM-style reading journal a few years ago.  I was quite pleased with it actually; it had dividers for different genres and everything, and I really did take notes and write things in it.   It's still sitting in its place getting dusty, so maybe I should take it out and start again...


Cassandra said...

Your reading process sounds a lot like mine! I always want to take notes, but it hardly ever happens. It's just too much of an effort usually.

Oh, and I'm a fan of Howling Frog Style! Sounds classy :)

Jean said...

Well, at least I'm not the only one. Reading all the other posts makes me want to do better, though!

Adriana @ Classical Quest said...

Jean, You have a super power, no doubt about it! Thank you for taking part today. I'm glad you've accepted your title as an honorary WEMer!

Blessings, friend.


Fanda said...

Like you, I often read in between other activities; I even read few pages at office hours after having done something tiring, (of course when my boss is not in!), and so, writing notes will divide my focus. Now I'm using a new method, by check-marking interesting/important lines/paragraph, and dog-ear the page, so I can come back later. I wrote about it in my post http://klasikfanda.blogspot.com/2013/02/taking-notes-while-working-on-wem.html

Eva said...

I'm such a dilettante; I never take notes and don't even feel bad about it. ;) I do mark interesting-to-me passages with little scraps of paper, but half the time I end up just pulling out the scraps before returning the book to the library without revisiting any of the passages. hehe