Ever read a book and been so immersed you’ve felt like your speaking to the story, subject or writer and vice-versa?
“What is true of ordinary conversation is even more true of the rather special situation in which a book has talked to a reader and the reader talks back.” (Adler and Van Doren)
Sometimes to do this requires reading a number of books on the same subject and synthesizing the myriad of views into something different. That’s called Syntopical reading.
Syntopical = “a type of analysis in which different works are compared and contrasted”.
Adler and Van Doren offer a way to do this including:
1. “Find the good parts” = find parts of the book most relevant to what you are looking for.
2. “Define your terms” = find similar terms that overlap between different authors.
3. “Develop propositions” = find similar statements or opinions that are shared by different authors.
4. “Consider the issues” = seek questions posed and answered by authors in different ways.
5. “Analyse” = arrange the topics/debates/issues and briefly describe how they connect to each other.
Got a subject you’d love to define, discover and develop?
You know what to do.