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Different Ways of Reading Books.

Rick Fielding 04 Jan 02 - 11:35 AM
Deda 04 Jan 02 - 12:21 PM
Rick Fielding 04 Jan 02 - 12:25 PM
Fibula Mattock 04 Jan 02 - 12:46 PM
Mary in Kentucky 04 Jan 02 - 12:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 02 - 01:03 PM
catspaw49 04 Jan 02 - 01:17 PM
catspaw49 04 Jan 02 - 01:24 PM
Cappuccino 04 Jan 02 - 01:27 PM
John Hardly 04 Jan 02 - 01:30 PM
wysiwyg 04 Jan 02 - 01:45 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jan 02 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Mark Clark (via public proxy) 04 Jan 02 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,harvey andrews 04 Jan 02 - 07:53 PM
Rick Fielding 04 Jan 02 - 10:24 PM
Morticia 04 Jan 02 - 10:43 PM
Terry K 05 Jan 02 - 04:08 AM
mack/misophist 05 Jan 02 - 10:10 AM
Rick Fielding 05 Jan 02 - 10:44 AM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jan 02 - 11:09 AM
reble 05 Jan 02 - 11:41 AM
catspaw49 05 Jan 02 - 12:48 PM
Crazy Eddie 06 Jan 02 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,GrammarPolice 06 Jan 02 - 01:03 AM
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Subject: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 11:35 AM

Sorry, too early in the day to come up with one of my 'novelty headings'!

I started thinking about this while reading responses to my thread on 'biographies'.
clunkhere

I first noticed an odd phenomenon when I was quite young. I could read something that really interested me so fast that it seemed to my parents that I was just 'skimming'. When it came to school texts though, I was virtually 'dyslexic', having to re-read sentences and even phrases several times just to keep the 'plot' straight. needless to say it resulted in some odd (and parent troubling) situations. Constant failing grades in subjects like history, literature and Geography... but with literally hundreds of books read at home dealing with those very subjects.

It's even more pronounced today. A musician's biography, a book on politics, or for that matter ANYTHING that really interests me, gets read at one sitting....and fully absorbed, while I struggle over a three page manual on how to make my mini-disc player work....and then forget it entirely!

I've often wondered if it's simply self-indulgence taken to an extreme, or there really is some kind of 'condition' involved. A really current example is the Newspaper. I can't wait to grab it in the morning, and can go cover to cover in about ten minutes, while Heather (who's not a slow reader) is still on page three.

Just curious about anyone else's reading experience.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Deda
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 12:21 PM

I read quickly and easily when I'm interested, or when I'm reading for fun, but I slog around and have to take laborious notes if I want to retain stuff if it isn't just for recreation. I tend to try to read quickly when I'm dealing with instruction manuals but then I inevitably screw up and have to go back over it again.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 12:25 PM

One of the examples of how this dichotomy is a complete pain in the ass, is that I had to give away a nice alarm watch, 'cause I simply couldn't remember how to set it (or keep it from going off while I was on stage!)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 12:46 PM

I read fiction really, really fast and people rarely belive that I'm doing anything more than "skimming" but I actually am able to understand and enjoy it, so I'm glad to hear you're the same.
I can read dry, boring papers quite quickly and get the gist, but I hate having to drag my way through them to get every last nuance or understand complex equations (my least favourite thing).

When I was younger (in fact, hell, even now) I just sometimes compulsively have to read. I used to scrutinise the back of cereal packets at breakfast as a child because my mother always forbid reading at the table. It gets sad when I read shampoo bottle labels in the bath just for the sake of reading.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 12:58 PM

Fibula, don't worry about reading the shampoo bottles. As you get older the print is too small to read anyway!


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:03 PM

Some books are easier to read than others, but that doesn't mean they are the ones you most enjoy. Sometimes you read slow to savour it better.

I think it's always a good idea to read a few books in parallel, a chapter or so from one and then from the others in turn. That way the easy ones pull you though the harder ones, and if you pick them right the different qualities of the books echo one to another.

One interesting thing is to come back to a book you thought you'd read, and find that you were just racing through it for the story or whatever, and missing out whole aspects of it. As if you had listened to a song just for the words and hadn't noticed the tune, or listened to a tune for the melody, and missed what the instruments were doing.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:17 PM

Rick is a bit slow in a lotta' respects folks. The guy can really pick and sing but it takes awhile for an idea to finally gel with him. For instance, back in DECEMBER OF 1999 he posted this:

Although I certainly realise from the amazingly imformative posts here, that some of my learning quirks art not strictly speaking dyslexic-related, I have a question. Garg, you referred to "lightening reading", and it rang a few bells. When I'm reading something that truly interests me, eg: Music, history, POLITICS, baseball etc. I absorb whole paragraphs at a time, and seem to be able to retain it quite easily. When I'm faced with the simplest manual explaining the workings of a computer, tape deck, assembly of a toy, or music royalties form, tax info...etc. that kind of thing, I have to go over it countless times...and often still just DON'T GET IT. I'm curious whether any other catters have a similar situation.

Rick

Glad to see you finally got it together Rick! LMAO!!! go ahead and take that award on the F Chord.....Aw, that's okay, I am sure it will still be yours in TWO YEARS!!!.......

Spaw

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:24 PM

Thought I'd post Spaw twice up there just in case you were reading quickly and missed it..............

But, my response to you on that other thread hasn't changed much so rather than write something else, here's my post from the other thread:

Not so oddly Rick, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about! It may have to do with the right vs. left brain thing, but I don't think so. Maybe its an "interest" sort of problem.

I spent the better part of my working life around cars. I read a ton of tech info and manuals and wiring diagrams, etc. Piece of cake. Although I love the net and the 'Cat (obviously)---I HATE computers. I can never understand the crap that everybody else does with ease. We just bought a new Nikon digital camera and since I enjoy photography, its no problem....really great piece of equipment. HOWEVER...The software to do all the neat album stuff is driving me nuts. I can't do hi-ho-diddly-shit with the stuff! (I'll send you a Christmas morning picture if I figure it out by then.) Same thing true with the kits for stands and such. I hate putting swing sets together, or any of that type of thing. Luckily Karen loves it and is good at it.....although when I talk about something on her car, she has no understanding of it at all. I don't even wear a digital watch because the damn things will tell you everything else BUT the time where I am! Karen bought me a great sailing watch...completely digital. After a few focked up starts in the Thistle regionals, I went back to my trusty Seiko chronograph.

That's what is so weird. I love to sail and race, so you'd think I could tear through the manual and put the watch to use. Instead, I think something in my head clicks on the digital/computer thing and sends some portion of my brain into la-la land. I read a lot about acoustics and designed and built a rather exotic (for a hammered dulcimer anyway) soundbox for my dulcimers, but 5 minutes after opening the box with the new microwave stand pieces and fittings, I was ready to throw the whole works in the trash! We had a thread awhile back about woods and glues and the like and I realized how much I'd learned about them, but don't even ask me to put up shelving in the pantry. Is this making any sense? I'll spend hours meticulously bending and fitting App. dulcimer sides, but I competely lose it over a microwave stand. The directions never make any sense to me and I think its because I really don't give a turkey about a friggin stand and it looks like another piece of boring shit to me. And this simpleass computer!!!! It takes stuff and does things with it, but I can never figure out from reading all the manuals WHAT it did or WHERE it took the stuff. I find it particularly perverse that most of the manuals are now on disc and I get pissed just trying to get the damn things up on the screen!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Cappuccino
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:27 PM

From the other side of it, I once picked up a lovely quote from somewhere which served nicely to finish a book I was writing (don't have a go at me for that, Pat - any idiot can write a book!).

It concerned the lady in a supermarket who bustled up to the check-out girl with a bottle of champagne, and burbled self-importantly : 'it's for my husband - he's finished his book!'

The check-out girl looked up with an air of professional disinterest and responded: "Ah.... he's a slow reader, is he?" !!!

All the best - Ian B


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: John Hardly
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:30 PM

Rick,

If it's a "condition" then I got it too. Total pain in the ass.....but it's why I took a few flatpicking lessons when a simple book would have sufficed.

I'm SOOOO interested in learning guitar but the books stack up and I can learn in one in-person-lesson more than I can read from the all the books (so it's not just the book content.

I know my weakness in this regard (how I approach tech reading) and have figgered out a few solutions. For instance,

When learning chord melodies I have to use guitar neck paper, and translate each chord to the paper "neck", then lay out the progression, in full, in front of me (on a BIG table.

.....nobody is more pathetic than I.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 01:45 PM

For nonfiction, I like to skim the index, table of contents, and prefatory material first. I like to see the lingo the author expresses her/himself in, to get familiar with it and to spot their biases or world view a bit. I use the index also to take note of other people mentioned, or whose work is referenced, to see how the present material may plug into what I already know. I like to draw relationships of some sort between known and trusted information and sources, and the newer concepts the author is presenting to me.

I skim this material before buying, usually, and then if the table of contents is not too fuzzy, cute, or patronizing, or offensive, or downright silly, I'll pick a spot in the middle and see if I can tolerate the writer's style... and if so, the subheads in the most interesting-looing chapter will get a look next. I want to know, for instance, if this writer is giving me some new ideas, or (better yet) going to conclusions past what I already know-- or if the book is just another superficial look at something I already know enough about. If the book passes all these skims, I'll take it and plunge into it deeply.

Once I have finished it (which includes discussing it with people of varying viewpoints, and reflecting on it as I do dishes or engage in other present-time musing), it seems to integrate itself into my general mind... once I get absorbed in some new material, I can seldom remember who wrote what, or when I read it, or where one thing left off and another began.... the information gets sorted into its constituent parts and stored away where I can USE it in operation.

If it was something I can recommend for someone else whose mind I respect, I will keep the book to pass on. I have developed a pretty extensive professional library in a nunber of subjects this way, and people coming for MudGathers might enjoy seeing this.

Fiction has to attract my attention as a writer and editor, before I care enough about plot or character to spend my time on it. So the first chapter matters, and if the first page or so looks boring I just don't take it home. And I tend to look for new work by authors I have enjoyed, till they start being formulaic and cranking out pattern books. But once into it, I will either read it straight through or add it to the carry-all to go with me for odd moments in the car, etc.

But then I also have been known to have four or five good books going at the same time, fiction and nonfiction, on a variety of topics, in different rooms or purses!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 02:15 PM

The books people keep in the bog - now that's a fascinating topic. I believ there are books specially put together with that in mind. Stuff like "The book of heroic failures"


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: GUEST,Mark Clark (via public proxy)
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 04:04 PM

So Rick, you're saying that you read with speed and retention when the subject is interesting to you and with much less interest and enthusiasm when the subject is boring? Boy, that's really weird. <g>

Of course very few technical books are written by people with any verbal skills. It would also appear that their editors and publishers are similiarly handicapped.

One of the hardest things for me to learn was that one dosn't have to finish every book one starts. I can now forgive myself for bailing on an author and using my time more productively—like reading this thread.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: GUEST,harvey andrews
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 07:53 PM

I reckon on between 50 seconds to just over a minute per page for an average book..250 pages would take me about four to five hours, but these days it's 30 pages and I find myself nodding no matter how interesting it is. Early morning is the time I can read the longest. When's your best time Rick?


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 10:24 PM

Well Harvey, as Catspaw has so ably pointed out...I'M LOSING MY MARBLES! Now HERE'S a thread idea..."Is Mudcat like your marriage"? I always wondered why after about four years into wedlock, Heather ceased to see how informative, inventive and funny I was....NOW I KNOW! That must have been when I started repeating myself! (Greek Chorus in background intones "You said THIS before as well you dork!")

Oh well....another reason why Mudcat is unique: It's the only website that allows you to watch others drift into senility.

Now I DID have an underlying reason for starting this (and soliciting FRESH opinions Spaw) and it was due to spending three friggin' hours trying to find out how to use all the bells and whistles on my minidisc recorder.....from the manual. No dice. What makes it a little better is that Heather (who's NOT technologically challenged) also gave up in frustration. Perhaps if the manual was written in verse, I'd find it easier to absorb.

Actually harvey, between one and three am. still works best for me...but oh am I a wreck when I get up the next day!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Morticia
Date: 04 Jan 02 - 10:43 PM

I can skim read almost anything ( Gomez reckons books are wasted on me since I read them so fast) but I only retain that which interests me.With respect to technical stuff, I go through them a sentence at a time with the doohickey in front of me....still can't set the damn VCR though, but that's okay because I have a teenager in the house to whom it actually matters.....and maybe that's why I don't retain it, I know I don't have to?

And books in the bog would make a good thread...and yes, I have Heroic Failures in mine as well as diverse Les Barker's.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Terry K
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 04:08 AM

Rick, if you've got a Sony minidisc - relax, it's not you that has the problem. I can promise that the book is totally (and I mean totally) indecipherable.

Coupled with the fact that every time you repeat the SAME move on the unit itself, you get a different result. Come to think, my guitar does that too.

Cheers, Terry


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: mack/misophist
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 10:10 AM

May I make a suggestion about technical stuff? I always skim through the manual/book rather quickly before doing whatever it is. Then when it comes to be time to perform, I have some idea what part to look in for the things I need to know right now. In many cases a tech manual isn't a recipe, it's a map.


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 10:44 AM

Wow, talk about thread drift! But in this case...THANK YOU Terry. That's exactly what was happening with my Sony Mini-disc. I thought I was going nuts. Tried to erase a disc...followed instructions..Nuttin'....did it a few more times...Nuttin'...Gave it to Heather...same result...all of a sudden, it worked! Drives you crazy trying to think of the ONE small detail you must have left out the other twenty times. Now that I know it may be the machine, I can calm down.
Misophist...I hear ya!

So, back to the thread. In some ways the Net has helped me a lot with my problem. Because of the many points of view available, I've been able to acquire an interest in certain areas that I'd simply never bothered with before. For example....it's hard to contemplate fixing something on your own car, if you haven't a clue how a combustable engine works..or why. Looking at a site that makes that kind of thing interesting (or even like a mystery) really piques the interest, and presto..the absorption of information improves dramatically. By the year 2050 I'll be able to read a Tax form without it "swimming" before my eyes!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 11:09 AM

Rick said: "if you haven't a clue how a combustable engine works."

The first rule in working with a combustable (sp.) engine is to be sure you don't smoke around it.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: reble
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 11:41 AM

last year I bought a 'Megga speed reading' program from the QVC catalog shop Nr Warrington. I think you may benefit from this, it is by Kevin Trudeau& Howard Stephen Berg, if you struggle to find a copy it is possible you could borrow mine if you promise to return it an smile sweetly


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Jan 02 - 12:48 PM

I knew this guy that was a speed reader and bought some book about how to improve his sex life. Wound up with a premature ejaculation problem.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: Crazy Eddie
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 12:19 AM

LOL Spaw!
Reminds me of the occasion when I put instant coffee in the microwave oven, & it went back in time....


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Subject: RE: Different Ways of Reading Books.
From: GUEST,GrammarPolice
Date: 06 Jan 02 - 01:03 AM

Susan: I relate with every word you write.

IanB: Thanks for the anecdote! LOL

Re: Technical manuals
Technical writing & instruction manuals aimed at end-users invariably break every rule about clear writing. The complexity of the manual often seems inversely proportional to the complexity of the equipment.
And in Canada, we get another copy, in broken French.
all the best in 2002 [or MMII]


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