Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Your Opinion Please

Several people I respect have said that something that has greatly aided their development is, when reading a book, to write a one-paragraph summary. I'd like to develop that habit myself though it's a hard habit to acquire (I tend more toward Augustine's view that "We learn better in a free spirit of curiosity.....").

Anyway, if I can get motivated, I'd like to post my summaries--and with any luck get some feedback and improve them. With any luck other people would see fit to share the fruits of thier study as well. My question is this: would it be better to post them here at PSRM, or just make another blog with a link here? Here are my thoughts on both options:

1) PRO: More people would see them here.
2) PRO: I have my hands full keeping one blog going.
3) PRO: People only have to go one place

1) PRO: It would keep things separate for those who are not interested in my private Cliff's Notes.
2) PRO: It would keep things separate for someone who wanted to search for help on the particular chapter of a book (My frinds and I read a lot of the same books--pretty scarry)
3) CON: I'm probably being unrealistic that I will do that many summaries, so what's the point?
4) PRO: you could go to the list of posts and see a list of the books that have been summarized.
5) PRO: It would force me to make my summaries summaries and not fudge and make it turn into more of my "random thoughts".

Aside, I just started Plato's Republic. I sure hope it picks up. Right now it is grinding on my nerves. I've never read it straight through, but I don't recall what I've read being this dull. Maybe it's the translation.


Anonymous said...

I would put it on another blog. The other would break up the flow of things too much.


Jared said...

If you're like me, it takes you a long time to finish a book (or chapter) and then you'd have to type the summary of the book (or chapter), which takes even more time, which means there wouldn't be that many posts dealing with summaries.

There can be a summaries label so that the interested reader can click on summaries and read all the summaries and bypass all the other posts, which will be more numerous probably.

Christy said...

I say keep it as one...don't get spread to thin. Can I get an RSS feed your blog? I've just discovered the wonders of these things, and I'm addicted.

Civis said...


I have been meaning to "crack the code" as to how to let people subscribe. I'll have to get on that.


Good point. That makes me think of another PRO of a seperate blog. Let be go "edit".

Civis said...


The conventional wosdom is to keep the summary very short. Actually, what is reccommended is a single sentence. Anywho.

EdMcGon said...

Just keep it on one blog. It is your blog after all.

I never gave it a second thought about going off topic on my blog, because I do tend to post more on my main topics anyway.

Civis said...

Interesting. It seems most line up on the side of one blog. I didn't expect that.

Ed, until I looked at his profile, I thought your blog buddy was Robert P. George.

Robert A. George says: "OK, I'm the Catholic, West Indian black Republican. Any one else here? Ah, I thought not." ROFL

Rodak said...

To be honest I can't imagine what a one-paragraph summary of Plato's Republic would consist of.
As you know, "Readings" is one of the regular topics on my blog. Rather than trying to summarize the books I read, I excerpt passages that strike me as true; sometimes because they agree with, and support, something I've previously come to believe, and sometimes because they strike me as both novel (to me) and true.
I don't worry about being able at some time in the future to regurgitate a paraphrase of the whole book, so summaries don't interest me much.
I would definitely do it all on the one blog, though. Why compartmentalize your intellectual life?

Civis said...

That would be one sentence or short paragraph per chapter (or in the case of THE REPUBLIC per "book") not for the whole book.

I should have said that.

Rodak said...

That makes more sense to me. That might be a good way to go in an academic situation. I read that kind of thing as a form of meditation, though. I don't try to memorize. But valuable ideas do tend to accrete to my knowledge base. And I do like to clip the most valuable passages I come across, and sometimes comment on them.

Civis said...

What you do sounds similar to what I usually do. What I'm aiming for is better reading comprehension and retention. There is still a struggle on the inside and I often think maybe I should just stick to the "free spirit of curiosity."

The voice on my other shoulder says that, the "free spirit" would be fine IF I had a sufficient basic education. I don't think I got the latter.

So I guess in a way I'm still in an "academic situation."

Rodak said...

The thing to do--at the risk of stating the obvious--is the thing that most effectively gives you the result you want to achieve.
I look upon reading of the Scriptural, philosophical, scholarly kind as a form of contemplation, at this point in my intellectual career.
I recently came across and read something that speaks to this, and I'll post on it when I have time.

Flumenanimus said...

About wanting opinions, what would you rather do?