It’s Been A While
I read a lot. At least, compared to 5 years ago, I read a lot. But lately, the kind of reading I’m doing is something that I haven’t done in quite some time. You see, I recently enrolled in college courses for the first time in a dozen years. That means that I now have to read in a completely different way than I typically read.
Most of the time, I read in one of two ways: 1.) I read a book to get the overall idea or concepts presented in the book. Most of the books I read really have one central theme that is then expounded on over the course of a few hundred pages. If I get the big picture and grasp some of the logic along the way, that’s good enough. 2.) My other form of reading is bible study, which is much more interpretive in nature. Some of the most profound moments when studying biblical passages come not from the words themselves, but from reading the reference materials that help put that passage into context historically and linguistically. (Mind you, it’s not that the passages themselves aren’t profound, but that my own ignorance of the culture and language keep me from fully grasping the profundity without some professional help.)
The point is this: I read for big picture ideas or I go a treasure hunt. Rarely, however, am I called upon to read in the way that most educational curriculum requires. You see, along with formal education comes exams and along with exams, typically, comes at least some memorization. You have to memorize terminology, dates, names of important figures, etc.
The trouble is, I’m not very good at memorizing things. It’s just not in my gift mix. I don’t remember details very well. And so, I find myself flipping back and forth in the book as I read, just trying to keep everything straight in my brain by reminding myself what it was that I read just moments ago. It slows me down, makes reading much more tedious and, in all likelihood, is why I took a hiatus from serious reading for several years after college.
Indeed, it has been a while since I had to read like this. The difference, I guess, is that now I can appreciate the benefits of this kind of reading and I have developed at least some capacity to “suck it up” and do what needs to be done. And honestly, even though it’s tiring, I’m actually enjoying it!