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Reading is done by people all over the world for all sorts of different reasons. That would be apparent to many of us college-goers as we purchase hundreds of dollars worth of literary material. But the introduction to this book points out some very important things about reading. For instance, on page 6, the very beginning of the third paragraph reads, “A danger arises in assuming that reading is only a search for information or main ideas.” This idea in and of itself seems rather simple. However, as one begins to delve deeper into this subject, especially if that one is of higher reading experience or in an awesome English class, then this sentence takes on a whole new meaning. The sentence itself requires a pure drive of focus and dedication beyond that which we citizen readers normally have. This line calls us to be the superhero’s of reading, to stand above and reach beyond the expectations of the average, 68-year-old, balding person  that stays home all day only to be accompanied by books (because yes, elderly men and women do lose hair and they have nothing to do while sitting in their recliner chairs). This line has power because it speaks of true, habitual details in reading that many people will subconsciously do, whether they want to or not.

An instance I can personally think of in my life was the very first book I ever annotated, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. As i read through that wonderful book, I had to train my mind to move past the bigger, more obvious main ideas. I had to condition my reading to become a sort of talent or art in which I could pick out the smaller ideas. But these ideas weren’t really the smaller ones of the book. In fact, it was from these “smaller” ideas that Dillard’s bigger ideas would actually reveal themselves. It was incredibly inspirational, but, more importantly, it was extremely educational. I had assumed that I was just reading the book for nothing more than information, information that I would later spit out onto the test papers and then flush down the toilet of my brain.

If that doesn’t sound familiar, let me make it a little more clear. “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education” was being put to life in that example. I hate to admit it, but I wasn’t actually looking for anything in reading Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Instead, I was just reading the book because my English teacher had told me to do so. I was just reading the book to find and memorize things I was suspecting would be on the test. I wasn’t reading the book for the more in-depth reasons I should have been. The essay describing this “Banking” concept, on page 11, describes perfectly what I was expecting of myself (which goes to show how much I expected of my reading, back then). It’s pathetic, but it’s true.

But, shortly after, I discovered annotating. And suddenly, what i once thought was reading, became reading. I noticed all sorts of figurative language and allusions and hidden themes for each chapter that I never would have picked up on before. As Spongebob Squarepants would say, I “wasn’t even scratching the surface of the surface.” My view of the book changed almost instantly. I enjoyed the book more and more with each passing day. But, if you’ve ever read Annie Dillard’s book, you would understand what I mean when I say I didn’t understand many parts of the book. Her metaphors are incredibly complex and deep, and they’re stretched from page to page in a seemingly endless flow of words. But, “you work with what you can” (page 12).

And I didn’t have much to work with. But I certainly learned a lot from it. This introduction is correct in more ways than one about almost every subject it mentions, if not all of them. I had to learn all the lessons it teaches in one short time period on the same book, but I learned them and this introduction certainly helped reinforce them. There are, of course, many important points in Introduction: Ways of Reading. I’ve merely pointed out three of them that played a huge role in my life. And from these points, I’ve learned more about myself and about various subjects then I ever would have!

Thank you for reading,

Tyler

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2 Comments

  1. I really like your use of Tinker Creek for this..cause that’s EXACTLY how I was with that book too. She had sooo much description it was ridiculous. Once I started annotating it, it helped alot cause of the language that you actually payed attention too. The deeper context was pretty hard to come by for me though. I got lost in how much figurative language she had for the most part of that book. Especially that stuff about that bug. BLEH. Mrs. Balls helped so much with that book though..she’s the only reason I would ever had started annotating and I’m so glad for her for that. Anyways, you make really good points in this blog for sure.

  2. LOL! I can relate I had to read this book titled the menizzane (I believed it was called) I did exactly what you did reading wise. i really like the way you worded your essay. It really gives you a insight to your personality. Its amazing how much we can pick up when we give a book a chance. I guess that what they mean when people say you can’t jugde a book by its cover. I look forward to reading more of your work!


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