Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Questions for readers

Today's question has to do with note-taking and the marking of books - I'm thinking primarily of anything that falls under non-fiction here. How many of you annotate your books, and if so, how do you go about it? Why do you do it, and does it help with memory retention? Do any of you also write in your Bibles? I do mark some of my books, especially as we were exhorted often to always read 'actively' with a pencil in hand, but I tend to summarise more than anything else; I rarely feel confident making evaluative comments. The only book I've ever outlined in full was Kris Lundgaard's The Enemy Within, but that's because he made it so easy for me already.

I've become aware of some note-taking systems out there, such as the Cornell Note-taking System, which I wished I've known about while at university. Do any of you use systems like these and how helpful are there?


Blogger Debibo said...

Besides my English Literature books which I mark for cross-referencing purposes, I hardly mark my books except to highlight.

I'll highlight phrases to encourage and be encouraged by in the Bible, or passages which draw a stark contrast to what I've thought to be true but was proved wrong by the Bible (Eg: in Genesis God told Noah to take into the ark 7 pairs of clean animals, only a pair of unclean animals and 7 pairs of birds - before reading this I thought that there were just 2 of each type).

The only book I remember substantially highlighting and dog-ear-ring was Lee Strobbel's Case for Christ and it was so in the event people asked me questions about the claims of Christ and Christianity, I knew where to go to quickly.

7:57 am  
Blogger pearlie said...

Yes I do that - I dunno why, but I find that I remember better and it's weird, it is as if I have underlined it in my head :)
Where I am able, I also take notes as I read and this I can tell why - I read, I mentally pick up what I need to note down and I note it down - as such I am practically going through it 3 times - not that I have memorised it, but at least I remember it a bit better.
I seldom do that with the bible though, maybe because I would be using multiple ones - the NIV Study Bible, the NASB leather one (so I a bit sayang oso!)I never use highlighters, they seep through the page. When I was younger, I use colour pencils in different colours to highlight different kinds of verses. Not anymore though.

Evaluative comments? I don't seem to do that at all - I only underline what I thought salient, single or double vertical lines by the side of very important paragraphs, exclamation marks where required and question marks where there are doubts.

1:52 pm  
Blogger BK said...

hi pearlie, i was wondering too if you made notes on the book itself or if you had a separate notepad etc., or do you use Post-it notes? And if you look at your notes after a lapse of time, do your own notes make sense to you?

I think you're right that going through it 3 times - reviewing - must help in memory retention!

3:52 pm  
Blogger pearlie said...

now that I think about it, I suppose in the process of underlining, we'll be going through the material twice.

anyway, on making notes, I read my material in several mediums:
(1) books or anything printed - notes in the book itself, in pencil. Pens would be sacrilegious! hahaha

(2) pdf files - I have Adobe Professional with me and so I can do quite a lot of stuff with it, ike underlining, highlighting and adding notes

(3) with the pdf files, I make it mobile by converting them to html to be loaded into my cellphone to read whenever I have some spare time - this one would depend on convenience. If planned, I'd do it in a notebook (and being quite an unorganised person externally, I have 101 notebooks at 101 places). If not planned, no note-taking then.

I've never used post-its. I find them redundant.

On referring back to the notes, of late I have been reading for the purpose of my assignments, and so the timelapse is not long and therefore what I noted would be extremely helpful to help further my thoughts.

The only time I actually reread a book with notes in it were CS Lewis' Screwtape Letters. I think I would have read that book about 20 years ago! And I was totally amused to find notes of meaning of words I now know so well I could not believe I did not at one time in my life! hahaha ... so the notes were as entertaining as the book itself!

1:40 am  
Blogger pearlie said...

Oh, one more thing about post-it notes. I know I have this ONE AND ONLY post-it note in one of my old bibles on a very important page - the only problem I remember was handling the note on and off the page soon deteriorated the quality of the bible page.

1:46 am  

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