Deep Reading

“It is the very fact that book reading under-stimulates the senses that makes the activity so intellectually rewarding. By allowing us to filter out distractions, to quiet the problem-solving functions of the frontal lobes, deep reading becomes a form of deep thinking. The mind of the experienced book reader is a calm mind, not a buzzing one. When it comes to the firing of our neurons, its a mistake to assume that more is better.”

“When you buy a book, you establish a property right in it, just as you do in clothes or furniture when you buy and pay for them. But the act of purchase is actually only the prelude to possession in the case of a book. Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it — which comes to the same thing — is by writing in it. Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks. Third, writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author.
Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two­-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.” ­-Mortimer Adler

Deep Thinking
“long-term memory is the seat of understanding. It stores not just facts but complex concepts, or “schemas.” By organizing scattered bits of information into patterns of knowledge, schemas give depth and richness to our thinking. Our intellectual prowess is derived largely from the schemas we have acquired over long periods of time. We are able to understand concepts in our areas of expertise because we have schemas associated with those concepts.”

The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
the reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader learned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

——

“this poem not only describes deep reading. It demands deep reading. The apprehension of the poem requires the mind the poem describes.”

-Mostly excerpts from The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

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