… or in other words, how do you read?
If you’re a writer, it’s sometimes impossible to turn off the critical brain while you read, and that brings both a certain amount of frustration and a different sort of joy. I’ve wept at beautiful sentences that I couldn’t ever re-recreate. I’ve also gotten angry or annoyed at unreasonable things, like the sin’s I’ve tried to correct in my own writing, staring blatantly at me in other people’s works.
My reading practice has changed over the years. When I sit down to read a new book, I have a piece of scrap paper with me and I tear off a little bit to bookmark the interesting things I find in the text. These torn scraps are placeholders, so that I can go back to bits to study, without breaking the flow of the first reading.
When I’m done the book, I’ll usually write a few thoughts into a journal: my first emotions upon completing the story, what I think the writer did well (irregardless of whether I enjoyed the book), and what things troubled me about the story or techniques employed. Sometimes I also go back to those shredded paper bookmarks and add examples of the things that I noted.
Some books require pages of digestion, and some books only require a few sentences. Mostly I write these things as a record so that when I look back at a book on my shelf I can remember in a glance what I got out of a book or felt about it.
More often than not, it’s difficult to read simply for pleasure anymore. But once in a while its still rewarding to try and switch off the writer brain sometimes.
Do you have a particular reading practice you observe? Do you think about books once you’re done with them?