How Should I Read?

Having not written in a while made me question my ability to bring forward topics of discussion or issues that are worth raised. Also, I am currently reading “Women in love”, D. H. Lawrence, a book full of philosophical issues, existential questions and self-doubt. Therefore, I am greatly inclined to doubt myself in my own endeavor of writing.

All these circumstances made me realize that I need to read more and made me wonder where should I start from, how should I read, to get the most out of it.

How do you choose what you read, how do you organize the information in your head, how do you picture the characters?

Do you take notes?

All these questions popped up in my mind after I found I needed to read, to be able to write. I started this blog as a way of practicing writing and I haven’t strayed from my initial goal, but I felt like I needed to get back to my roots, to be able to keep on writing. Reading has always been my “thing” and only after I started writing I realized it is also a great source of inspiration, it can offer you great examples of writing techniques and styles and, most importantly, it clears the web of ideas in your head.

Four Levels of Reading

Because I felt like I didn’t have enough information on reading, I started searching more about it and I found this blog that greatly synthesized the four levels of reading that Mortimer J Adler identified and described in his book How to Read a Book. The four levels are:

  • Elementary – remedial literacy, usually achieved in elementary school
  • Inspectional – superficial reading, quickly giving meaning to a piece of writing
  • Analytical – engaging critically into the meaning and motivation beyond the text
  • Syntopical – reading books on a deep level, to form an understanding and make new connections

Looking at these levels, I realize I have lately only read at an elementary level, to relax or disconnect myself from the daily routine. This happened mostly because of my hectic work schedule, but is no excuse for someone who assumes as a long term goal to become a writer. Looking back though, I am actually pleasantly surprised to see that I have “pierced through the deepest layer of reading’s skin” (if I may put it this way). I am glad I used my high school and college years to try and make out what writers across the world meant in their books. I remember I read “Crime and Punishment” three times to get the least of understanding why Raskolnikov did what he did, or what Dostoyevsky meant by “nihilists”. Later on, I pondered over social research books and even re-read passages to grasp the statistical meaning or to understand how numbers can be given such intricate interpretations.

To answer my own question – I read what appeals to me on the spur of the moment, I organize ideas by momentary interests, long term goals, personal experience, I picture characters as my long lost relatives, with whom I share personal or emotional experiences. 

It never made sense to try and organize my readings but now, after browsing blogs and online publications, I can see why I need to start over and get a new reading pattern: it will help me make new connections, it will probably lead me to developing my own style or even finding my dream job. I have hundreds of ideas everyday, but no discipline. I probably should get down to some serious disciplining.

What should I start with?


One thought on “How Should I Read?

  1. Gabi: I really enjoyed your post on reading and writing….and I think t is like art People will read and pullk out of a book what they wish….while they may enjoy the “story” they will not understand the nuances and deeper intentions of the author. I could easily see you working in an editorial department of a newspaper while you immerse yourself into the novel(s) that are still to come. I say that because you seem to be philisophical and introspective in your writing rather than writing the latest Vampire novel strictly for $$$. Although going right into a popular best seller, while not exactly meaningful can make many dollars… you need a goal. (see below). The other thing you need to think about with your WRITING…is your goal. Do you write for yourself, to entertain, or to convey deeper meaning into the world and the peoples in it. At one time I considered writint, but my style would change depending on the booksmI was reading, my age and what I was going thru in life. In short, I was all over the place. I honestly think that a person CANNOT read too much… but to write takes discipline…a lot of discipline and a clear goal of what you wish to achieve. I have also observed that many writers have worked in journalism, editorial, advertising and public relations to pay the bills while their novel was blooming inside their heads. Again that experience, discipline, and goals. Gabi I think you show great promise. I would like to see a blog about your feelings about your friendship with Andreea both where it has ben for so long and the disintegration of it this summer. Your understanding of that will help you and many others who have had a painful journey like yours. Write about what you know. If you want entertainment, try reading the novels by Daniel Silva..I wonder how much travel and research and how many people he had to know and learn from to write a fiction novel that is so closely woven into actual events. I am driving to Jackson on the 17th for 2 nights. I wanted to be sure and see you again before you leave. Give Bobu a kiss and hug from me. Love, Linda

    Linda Kalmar 3406 Bluecrest Drive Salt Lake City, Utah 84119

    Date: Sat, 2 Mar 2013 08:46:46 +0000 To:

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