Nikola Plejic's Reviews > How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

How to Read a Book by Mortimer J. Adler
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it was amazing

There's a lot to not like about this book: the slightly hermetic style, the occasional sexist slur, the subtly condescending tone, its exclusive--and, grantedly, somewhat apologetic--orientation to the "Western" literary canon, and the fact that the "recommended reading list" includes a single non-male author.

Keeping in mind that it was written in the 1940s, and despite these non-negligible shortcomings, I still find the book thoroughly insightful and valuable for what it is: a manual for analytical and comparative reading of "difficult" books, for whatever definition of "difficult" the reader might choose. It's a deeply practical book, sometimes to a fault, and many of its takeaways might seem obvious. Yet, when outlined in a systematic and formal way, with plenty of examples and illustrations, I believe they give a good framework for approaching demanding literature.

Most importantly, the book forces you to think critically about the act of reading, and this might be its greatest contribution of all: it has certainly made me think about the way I approach books, and it has given me a few new tools to do so.
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Reading Progress

December, 2019 – Started Reading
January 5, 2020 – Finished Reading
January 6, 2020 – Shelved

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