nameless monster  

how to read

This is what works for me. It might not work for you, and that's perfectly OK. This guide is not about the only effective way to read a text.

Guidelines adopted from the Berkeley Anarchist Study Group:

  1. How would you describe or summarize the text to someone who hasn't read it? Is there a main point or thesis being articulated, and if so, what is it? How would you restate what the piece is saying in your own words?

  2. How does the author succeed or fail in what they are attempting to articulate? If they fail, do they fail in a manner that is intriguing?

  3. How do the ideas presented relate to your life? Do they, or could they, affect the things you do and think? How? If not, why not?

  4. What kind of emotions or thoughts does the text provoke within you? What do you agree with and what do you disagree with? What do you find seductive, and what do you find terrifying? How do your own experiences, positions, and affects diverge from those presented in the text? Why?

  5. What is the context within which the text and its author are situated? How does this context affect their focuses and lacunae, the points they emphasize and deemphasize? How is this context similar to your own and how is it different?

  6. Do you know anyone who speaks or expresses themselves similarly to the author? Someone who makes similar points or takes similar positions? What kinds of conversations have you had with that person (or people)? Where have they been great, and where have they been bogged down?

  7. Does the reading seem inconsistent in places? Where and how do these incongruities exist? Are these contradictions intentional or a matter of oversights?

  8. What are some of the potential consequences of the positions or modes of thinking presented in the reading?

  9. Who or what does the reading include, and who or what does it omit? Are these omissions intentional?

  10. Are there jargon terms or marginal words being used? What are they? Is the author hiding behind their language's ambiguity or using it to present themselves as wizened interpreters of experience? How does the language the author uses function to either reveal or conceal? What is concealed and what function does this concealment serve?