She read 500 books in 2009, and was questioned whether she really remembered the books she read.
Something she said that I want to remind myself when I read:
- ‘What was the author trying to say? Why did he write this book?’
- I notice I’ll describe the book in a completely different style if I’m in the first few chapters than if I’m close to the end... “This guy survived 9/11, and his wife is conducing a writing workshop for Alzheimer’s patients.” (Falling Man by Don DeLillo). At the end, I would say something more like, “It’s about an existential crisis and the power of art.”
- Each time I put a book down, I summarize it in my mind. (When we start Family Reading Hour every night, I ask, “Okay, so where were we?” and force my audience to recap the plot points from last night).
- Periodically I will go through the entire list, and every so often I’ll skim down the previous year’s, too. The goal is to try to recall the cover art, where I got the book, and what was going on when I read it, as well as who the characters were and what they were doing. Occasionally this will bring out connections across books, like similar titles or time periods... Daisy Chains. This is where I’ll notice something random that connects one book to another
- it has the advantages of concentrating your attention more on each individual book, enhancing your ability to evaluate in advance whether something is likely to be your type of book, and revealing layers and levels within your reading that you’d never before realized were there to appreciate.
Ha, and I did gain weight. So now I can blame weight gain on reading and not sleeping enough (sometimes due to staying up late to read) :p