Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How to Write Between the Lines

Mortimer Adler, author of the justly famous How to Read a Book, wrote a short essay called How to Mark a Book. Adler argued that we must not only read "between the lines," but also write between the lines.

Why is marking up a book indispensable to reading? First, it keeps you awake. (And I don't mean merely conscious; I mean awake.) In the second place; reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The marked book is usually the thought-through book. Finally, writing helps you remember the thoughts you had, or the thoughts the author expressed.

Read the whole thing as Adler expands on each of these points.

(HT: R. Scott Clark)