Friday, June 19, 2009

On Disciplined Reading

At the Between the Times blog (from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary), Professor Bruce Ashford has an excellent series on disciplined reading. Here are the five parts of the series:
  1. On Disciplined Reading
  2. What Should I Read? Choosing from a Vast Array of Options
  3. How Should I Read? Tips on Getting the Most from Your Reading
  4. Why Should I Read? Other Advantages of Reading
  5. Questions, Answers, and Concluding Thoughts
On "what" to read, he offers these principles:

  1. Guard your time in the Scriptures.
  2. Avoid limiting yourself by era, tribe, or category.
  3. Reading the great authors is more helpful than reading a great number of books.
  4. Make a list of categories and read a selected number of books each year, in each category.
  5. Read a few select journals and magazines
On "how" to read, he offers these tips:
  1. If you would like to become a disciplined reader, you probably need to make a plan.
  2. Figure out your “reading style.”
  3. Always carry a book.
  4. If possible, drink and read at the same time.
On "why" to read, and suggests that reading does the following:
  • sharpens the mind
  • exercises the mind
  • gives one something about which to converse
  • allows one to “travel” to other times and places
  • reduces stress
  • provides an inexpensive and low maintenance form of entertainmen
In the final post, he answers questions he's been asked throughout the series, on:
  • How to find books to read
  • How to find time to read
  • How to choose between print and electronic media
  • How to keep discipline from being drudgery
  • How to retain and organize what is learned from a book
In his final post, he also writes, "In the near future, I will provide suggested reading in various disciplines and genres such as theology, intellectual history, missiology, international affairs, fiction, history, and current affairs." So keep an eye on Between the Times for this.