Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kickoff Tomorrow

Tomorrow the reading plan starts. Based on my reading ahead, I'm pretty excited!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Four Questions

Since I mentioned Adler's 'Four Questions' I should probably actually write about what they are. These are the questions that an active reader should be asking. (Adler had more questions and rules than this but I think this is a good place to start. Maybe the others should be added too. We'll see.)

First question: What is the book about as a whole? In which we try to 'discover the leading theme of the book, and how the author develops this theme in an orderly way by sudividing it into its essential subordinate themes or topics'.

Second question: What is being said in detail, ahd how? In which we try to 'discover the main ideas, assertions, and arguments that constitute the author's particular message'.

Third question: Is the book true in whole or part? A big meaty question in which you judge the validty of the theme and the arguments made to support it.

Fourth question: What of it? The meatiest question of them all. How significant was this? And were you informed or even enlightened?

And there they are. The other rules are a bit more technical in terms of how you 'own' the book. They have to do with understanding key words and finding the important arguments. I will note the eighth rule: 'Determine which of his problems the author has solved and which he has not; and as to the latter decide which the author knew he had failed to solve.' That seems like a useful approach as well.