Tap to Read ➤

How to Read a Difficult Book

Azmin Taraporewala Jul 22, 2020
Reading a book is certainly not a feat, reading it 'right', indeed is. People are often puzzled at the idea, and want to understand the ways to read a difficult book. Significant steps are coming your way to help you feel thoroughly enlightened by the book you read.
Reading is a compulsion for some, hobby for a few, and an addiction for virtually very few. Reading may not confine to define itself as devouring novels, dramas, epilogues, allegories and plays.
Reading could be anything; one may love to devour cookbooks to the T, whilst someone would prefer to sift through magazines, another group would prefer to explore scientific subjects, and some can't get their eyes off a book on wildlife. One may be a meager reader who may read for the sake of reading, while other may be voracious who may read for the love.
There are some books that are tagged difficult with reference to their mis-en-scene, their context, the crux characters and linguistics. After deriving the features of a difficult book have we in the actual been able to define the essence of a difficult book? Can we define and explicate the salient features of a difficult book?

What is a 'Difficult Book'?

To nail the point, there is no such concept as difficult book. Generally, books that are christened as difficult also share their identity by being called 'great' books. Well, you could be possessing the greatest books ever written; their authors could be even greater, however a book can never be called 'difficult'.
For instance, what escapes the mind first when we think; 'Shakespeare'? A prodigy, a human landmark of English literature, an author who introduced to the world the nuances of human eccentricities and ambiguities? Absolutely not. What seeps into the mind raising our eyebrows is the black hole of difficulty in the plays he has composed.
Probably, one may not be familiar with the Shakespearean language, or may not be extremely proficient with the context along which Shakespeare composed the plays.
One may have a literature background around which his study and collective research is based, but that does not mean in the least, that if he lifts a book from the library shelf, dedicated to explaining the human brain, he may not comprehend a word drafted in the book.
It is thus, all in the perception about the given subject at hand. A book can be nerve-wrenching tough if you want it to be, or it may be made simple to understand if you please. After all, it's all in the mind you see!

Gather yourself to Read ' The Difficult Book'

Well, if you have landed up with a book that has to be forcefully analyzed by you, (a class assignment, perhaps!), or you picked up a novel thinking it to be interesting, however, half way through the book you are cross-eyed; don't leave the book. Yes. You don't have to!
All you need to do is to adhere to some important points which will help you read with considerable ease and may aid you curse yourself lesser, as you are through each page.
✤ Look at the synopsis, the preface or the prelude of the book. What does it propose to say? Read it carefully. Make a mental note or a practical note of it, in short.
✤ You would then skim through the contents of the book. Look at the title, or how the chapters have been named. Predict what the contents of the chapter would be. Accuracy is not what counts, it is your imagination that forms the crux of understanding. Your understanding from the chapter name may match up close to the actual contents of the chapter.
✤ Focus is the key to reading the so-called difficult book. When you know that the subject at hand demands time, energy and dollops of concentration, make sure you have plenty in store to devote to the activity.
✤ Read the book at a single go. Did that prospect scare you? Sift through the book from the word go. Don't stop to take a statutory two-minute break and end up lolling in bed for 2 hours.
✤ Pay attention to what you can grasp; and leave behind what you cannot. You may understand certain intricacies of the book through your first read, however, there are some concepts that draw tangents through your brain waves.
There are bound to be footnotes, headers, fillers, references, arguments and thesis statements that one may not follow. The phrase is; move on. It is through this that you would get the feel, the generic crust and the crux of the book.
✤ Don't get stuck at 'crucial' points of the book. There are times you may find that a particular chapter or section of the book needs preference or specialized attention. This is true, however it does not hold true when you are trying to ice-break the book's essence.
It is better to get a general idea of the book, rather than not reading the book at all and giving it a perpetual miss due to getting stuck in the midst of a large ocean of words.
✤ Give it a second read. This time when you are through the first reading session, you would have garnered at least forty to fifty percent of the idea based on which the book is written. The generic aim of the book is clear.
The detailed, more refined and unadulterated meaning and crux of the book is derived only after you expose yourself to the book all over again. When you read the book for the second time, you would understand the remaining sixty to fifty percent that you did not understand earlier.
✤ With the second read, you may look up words that you do not understand, nomenclature that you are not familiar with and make a note of references that may help you to get an enhanced hold of the book.
Reading a book is not a difficult task any longer; because, there is no such thing as a difficult book. It all depends on how you perceive it. Difficulty lies in the mind, and not in the book. So, open up your gray quarters and give way to comprehending any book on the counter.
The number of times you read a book, a spectrum of perspectives is born. With novels, you may have an acute, right, or even an obtuse angle to analyze a situation! So, just marvel at the power called imagination!