Always read with a pen in hand. The pen should be used both to mark the text you want to remember and to write from where the text leaves you. Think of the text as the starting point for your own words.A good reader reads attentively, not only listening to what the writer says, but also to how she says it. This is how a reader learns to write.If a book bores you, or tells you things you already know, or is not beautiful, do not hesitate to discard it. There are better books awaiting you, just around the bend.Read voraciously, many books at a time. Only then will you hear the conversation taking place among them.
Once a reader has commanded the aura of solitude around them, they become nearly impenetrable. A reader who is thoroughly engrossed in reading may not hear you if you call her name. Call her name again, however, and she will look up, annoyed. The key is not to halt all activity around a reader, but to give her her space.
What each of these readers has in common is an ability to create solitude under circumstances that would seem to prohibit it.Reading is a necessarily solitary experience—like dying, everyone reads alone—but over the centuries readers have learned how to cultivate that solitude, how to grow it in the least hospitable environments. An experienced reader can lose herself in a good text with anything short of a war going on (and, sometimes, even then)—the horticultural equivalent of growing orchids in a desert.
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