Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to read a book?

Hello, after a really long time.

Yes. You read the title right. "How to read a book?" This is what I am reading right now.

"How To Read a Book: The classic guide to intelligent reading" by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. (A Simon & Schuster publication)

I would highly recommend this book to everyone, specially those who will be entering into their undergrad as they will be exposed to a wide variety of books from now onwards. This book answers some of our very fundamental questions like "Why do we read? What are the goals of reading?"

The book is divided into four parts. The first one shows us different dimensions of reading, introducing us to various levels of reading. It also explains the first two levels of reading that are elementary reading and inspectional reading. As students, most of the time, elementary reading is what we generally do till we are in high school. If we are exposed to some literary activity in school, then we may have done some inspectional reading too, that would answer some questions like "What is the book about? What are its structure and parts? etc." Well, we in library science are taught to write book reviews that usually involve inspectional reading.

The third level of reading is analytical reading, which is preeminently meant for understanding. And the fourth level is syntopical reading. It is the most complex and systematic type of reading and places heavy demands on the reader irrespective of the level of the text. This is the kind of reading generally adopted by academicians and researchers. While reading syntopically the reader reads many books on similar or related topics, and places them in relation with one another. It involves more than mere comparison of texts.

Part two explains analytical reading in detail. Part three describes the approaches to different kinds of reading matter, such as, practical matter, imaginative literature, stories, plays and poems, history, scientific works, philosophy and social sciences. Part four broaches on the fourth level of reading and explains the ultimate goals of reading. The last chapter is of special interest that talks about reading and the growth of mind, and what good books can do for us.

Have an insightful reading!


  1. Reading books online and buying them from online stores is a new obsession in youngsters.Its a digital world now where every essential knowledge is now in digital form from where we can read,amend and download it from online stores.

    1. Thanks for the comment.
      Well, "reading" is at the crux of the discussion here. Whether the book/reading material is in digital or printed form, whether it is bought from an online store or a traditional book store, "reading" is what matters. The book in discussion guides a reader how to approach a text for reading and understanding.

  2. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos--lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

  3. @ Max Weismann: Thanks for the wonderful information. Sure, we'll check the videos. Thanks also for pointing to the informational site.

  4. Thanks for providing wonderful Information. I always buy books in online. After reading this book I will definitely provide my feedback. Thank u very much once again..

  5. Thanks for providing great information for book lovers.

  6. It is a digital world. People read the books from online and buy the books in online. Any way thanks for sharing wonderful information.