This is my official pitch to write the very important and necessary book, How to Read a Book: The Book. If there are any publishers out there who would like to help millions of people learn how to read a book (and make a ton of dough in the process), then please get off your duff and contact me immediately so we can start changing the world together.
It’s National Read A Book Day but a shocking 23% of Americans read no books last year. Zero. Tim Hargreaves of designed this tongue-in-cheek infographic for on how to read a book in honor of Read a Book Day.
Whenever I want to pick up more tips on how to read better, I turn to How to Read a Book. This is not some speed-reading manual that overpromises and underdelivers. It’s a thoughtful, practical guide to getting the most out of your reading: picking the right speed for a book, taking better notes, building a topical index of books and their relationships with each other… (Still working on that!) The book has plenty of tips for reading specific subjects, and even includes exercises to help you improve your skills.
A lot of people laughed when I told them that I was reading a book titled 'How to read a book'; they retorted, 'You don't already know? LOL'! A few, (okay, only one) said, that I either underestimate my skill or am looking for something more. I'd rather let these words taken from the book explain the situation I am trying to avert. Montaigne speaks of “an abecedarian ignorance that precedes knowledge, and a doctoral ignorance that comes after it.” The first is the ignorance of those who, not knowing their ABCs, cannot read at all. The second is the ignorance of those who have misread many books. They are, as Alexander Pope rightly calls them, bookful blockheads, ignorantly read. There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages, they are all ‘sophomores’".