I’m an incessant reader. I get enjoyment out of reading and can plow through a book in just a few days. I mostly focus on biographies and books related to ministry. There are problems with reading so many different things, for instance how do I recall the information that I’ve read, or how can I remember the great parts of the book to share with others later? I’m certainly not perfect at this but over the years I have learned a few things and during a conversation with a co-worker today the topic came up about how I try to “keep things straight” when I read a lot of material. Here are my tips:
Buy a paper book – There is something about the tactile feeling of paper and having the freedom to write notes, draw pictures, circle or doodle in a paper book. I have numerous e-books, but I can strongly say that I can recall books that I’ve read on paper much more than books that I’ve read on an e-reader.
Make the book yours (mark it in, bend it, draw all over it) – Books are meant to be interactive. I find myself circling, staring, numbering and underlining. Write in your books…write a lot….
Soak in the table of contents – This might sound crazy, but the table of contents is frequently the place I run to after I have a thought about “Hey I read that in a book”, and then I recall the book, run to the table of contents and then look for my markings. The table of contents is GOLD. Refer to it each time you pick the book up. It gives you a mental roadmap for what is coming up and what you read previously.
Take notes while you read – I’ve taken notes in another journal or sheet of paper and have found it to be incredibly helpful. You should use your own “system”, however one of the ways I’ve done this is outlined below from a book in 1997 called “How Doctors Think”. I can look at these notes now and remember much of the book. Use your notes to capture stories in short format, main points and great quotes. I store these in Evernote for future searchable reference.