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This research shows that "deep reading -- slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity -- is a distinctive experience," a kind of reading that differs in kind and quality from "the mere decoding of words" that constitutes a good deal of what passes for reading today, particularly for too many of our students in too many of our schools (as I have previously written about here).Paul concludes her essay with a reference to the literary critic Frank Kermode, who famously distinguishes between "carnal reading" -- characterized by the hurried, utilitarian information processing that constitutes the bulk of our daily reading diet -- and "spiritual reading," reading done with focused attention for pleasure, reflection, analysis, and growth.
This statement must be brief (a sentence or a paragraph), accurate and comprehensive.
The summary is based on your reading notes, follows the author's order, and consists solely of the main ideas which advance the author's argument.
Several areas may provide clues: appendices, bibliographies and general indexes usually accompany scholarly works; prefaces and introductions often contain an author's explicit statement of intention; the content and style of expression will be a good indication of the intended audience. Tell your reader not only the main concern of the book in its entirety (subject) but also what the author's particular point of view is on that subject (thesis statement).
If you cannot find an adequate statement in the author's own words or if you feel that the stated thesis statement is not that which the book actually develops (make sure you check for yourself), then you will have to compose a thesis statement that does cover all the material.
It may be presented with the analysis of structure or discussed separately.
A battle over books has erupted recently on the pages of The New York Times and Time.In fact, reading good literature won't make a reader a better person any more than sitting in a church, synagogue or mosque will. From Great Expectations I learned the power the stories we tell ourselves have to do either harm and good, to ourselves and to others; from Death of a Salesman I learned the dangers of a corrupt version of the American Dream; from Madame Bovary, I learned to embrace the real world rather than escaping into flights of fancy; from Gulliver's Travels I learned the profound limitations of my own finite perspective; and from Jane Eyre I learned how to be myself.These weren't mere intellectual or moral lessons, although they certainly may have begun as such.Note any interesting circumstances that led to the writing of the book.The author's intention may be apparent by the way the subject of the book is treated.Reading is one of the few distinctively human activities that set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.As many scholars have noted, and Paul too mentions in her piece, reading, unlike spoken language, does not come naturally to human beings. Because it goes beyond mere biology, there is something profoundly spiritual -- however one understands that word -- about the human ability, and impulse, to read.Is the material meant for specialists, students, or the general public?Is it focused on a specific subject or is it a general survey of a wider subject?Rather, the stories from these books and so many others became part of my life story and then, gradually, part of my very soul. Peterson explains in Eat this Book, "Reading is an immense gift, but only if the words are assimilated, taken into the soul -- eaten, chewed, gnawed, received in unhurried delight." Peterson describes this ancient art of lectio divina, or spiritual reading, as "reading that enters our souls as food enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes ...love and wisdom." More than the books themselves, it is the skills and the desire to read in this way which comprise the essential gift we must give our students and ourselves.