I’ve always been a reader. Me and a book, tucked away in a corner, or in a tree, or under the covers with a flashlight. But lately I’ve discovered something wonderful: discussing books with friends. To start, would I have attempted Macbeth, a [gasp] tragedy? I doubt it. Without my reading companions would I have seen that I have the traits of Lady Macbeth inside — that I want to manipulate people but only “for their own good”? Or that sometimes one needs a little bawdy humor when things get too tense? Or that Banquo was really Macbeth’s accomplice, changed possibly to please King James?
No. Even if I had read it, slowly, I wouldn’t have discovered the depths. So I have re-prioritized the books I am discussing online. These are the gold of my self-education. Without my friends, I could ignore the challenges, I might not rethink my beliefs, and I would miss opportunities for growth. So I’ve noted my “book club books” at the very beginning of my new bullet journal (I splurged).
But there is another key to the “books with friends” puzzle: the reading journal or learning log. Pam at EdSnapshots went into detail about hers, and what she said made sense. Plus, I really do think better when I have a pen in hand, so I dropped by a local store to pick up a 5 subject spiral notebook. Each of the five sections has a designated book (and day).
- (Sunday) Formation of Character, Charlotte Mason
- (Tuesday) Macbeth, Shakespeare; next will be Beowulf, led by yours truly
- (Wednesday) How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler
- (Thursday) Consider This, Karen Glass
- (Friday) Chaucer for Children
On the divider (or cover) I’ve written down the discussion schedules.
Some chapters I have mostly my thoughts, sometimes I do an outline of sorts, other times (Macbeth) I tend to have mostly quotes. I try to include a few questions, as Pam suggests. I plan to archive my scribblings in Evernote, as Pam does, so it doesn’t bother me to use a cheap notebook. I absolutely love this free flowing method, especially for books like Consider This, because I can make my own charts (or anything else I need).
Oh, the third key really is what I’ve learned in Consider This: it takes time to make connections. Take the time.
Read more Wednesday with Words at Ladydusk.