Monday, October 11, 2010

1.1 Read Well/Admire Art

Physician's Notebooks 1 - See Homepage -
Read and Appreciate the Arts (Updated 30 Septr 2021) 
 Headings in order as in text.     
                 Why Read?
Technique - The Read-Unit
Place of Reading,Copying
Online Reading
Pacing, Food and Stimulant
The Read Session - You, an Idiot Savant!

Special Note for Students Reading Difficult Tomes with Illustrated Figures

novels and fiction
Interactive Reading
General Knowledge
 Biography & Memoirs
 Books of Wisdom
Science & Math 
Medical Self-help: Healthy longevity
Vocation & Hobby 
Magazine & News
Computer Technology
Appreciating the Arts
Song & Music
Pictorial Art
Garbage Reading & Wasteful Pastimes
Paper Books - To Find, To Buy
Really Good Reads from a Life-Time Experience

Why Read?  Reading leads to success in life. A life reading will help you live long and give you happiness.
In reading, seek new knowledge which will eventually lead to wisdom but make it fun and not a chore. So it should not be forced and the best way to succeed at that is to do much of your reading at times where you get reinforced with healthful pleasure, like with delicious but not unhealthy eating and drinking.
 One's early years depend on parent or teacher, on the culture one grows up in, and on the physical and emotional environment; if one has been lucky and is a big reader. But, even then, use this chapter to up reading pleasure and input.

Technique - The Read-Unit 

(Pronounced "reed" like the verb with its meaning): To make reading less a chore and to help your recall, limit each read to a read-unit - a chapter, a section, a paragraph. If you plan wide reading, you will rarely spend more than 30 minutes a read. Most often my read is <15 minutes, and I stop and go on to other reads. And in such reading, I do not just read for x minutes and stop. I read a topic or subtopic or segment. In a text, I may simply limit my read to understanding an illustrated figure with its explanation legend. In my reading session, I try not to mix subjects, ideas or explanations; stick to one thing and on completion think over what I just have read. Then, if it is not clear and the subject is important, I may at separate-spaced readings, re-read it until I get it. This may result in a read-unit as short as 5 minutes and also sometimes in many repeat readings. The end point of one's read can be a chapter-ending, a line of asterisks, or a double space as a convenient stop point.

Place of ReadingCopying: A bulky book may be converted into sheets of enlarged, bold text that can be read without eyeglasses standing, sitting or reclining, or traveling. I collect the copied chapters and eventually have a complete book.

Online Reading:  Now, there is online one may subscribe to or access. For example, I recently got a gift of the Access Medicine set of neuroscience, and the illustrations and diagrams are brilliant. It is a superior way to learn and read. The online reading access has done away much with the need to buy books because,  by just clicking on the URL, you may get the books or shorter reads you want on your laptop, smartphones or desktop. Most of the classic books are now free through the Gutenberg Project on the internet.

Pacing, Food and Stimulant  Food or drink reinforces learning and memory when reading. Coffee is useful for energy and motivation but limit it for specific motive, e.g., to make an incentive to start a difficult read.
    Since full stomach induces drowsiness, do not eat too much until after a read-for-study session. And reading just before going to sleep (even a brief nap) has been experimentally shown to enhance memory and understanding of what you just read.  Small bites of fruit or nuts, or cookie with tea will be stimulus and relieve hunger that can disturb reading. This is for a beginning program; once into it, you develop your own way. You may, as I do, enjoy to read while you snack and/or drink, pacing yourself to take one bite and read one page. With main meal where hands are busy with the food, I switch to a non-page-turning internet read, primarily for enjoyment rather than memory-associated learning. 

The Read Session - You, An Idiot Savant! The above-mentioned type of read with snack can become a routine during a day as read sessions. I do 4 or 5 over a 24-hour. And much of that can be concentrated on your becoming what I call idiot savant (an expert in a localized field). So I have become brilliant in Neuroscience while enjoying my daily food and drink. You may choose your subject and during a long life it may be more than one.

Re-read when it is important for your learning. One may not get the wisdom of a book or a written explanation in single or repeat readings. You can read a good book or a section of it again and again with mounting pleasure, uncovering new understanding and more wisdom. The more one does repeat reading the more protected its memory is from loss. With each re-reading one may notice previously overlooked, important facts. For learning a difficult concept, it is best to read in small segments and re-read for good understanding. Einstein’s Relativity as a single read will be hard for even a good reader. But done in short segments slowly and repeatedly it gets easier to understand.
  Also re-read to be sure you do not mistake what the writer is actually saying. Too much have I seen a quick reader make a fool of self by responding too quickly because of not reading a writer's words carefully enough.
With technical book I find that comparing successive edition for change and error and to critique writing style is fun and rewarding.

Special Note for Students Reading Difficult Tomes with Illustrated Figures: 

My technique has evolved to where I do a triple read where difficult Figures are involved in the reading; that is, first I read the difficult section through without carefully inspecting the Figure; then I inspect the Figure carefully to ensure I completely understand its import; and, finally, I re-read the section integrating the Figure into the reading.

With novels and fiction, the joy in re-reading is a sign of best quality writing or content. Fiction that merely depends on the suspense of "What will happen?" can only be read once; but fiction that has depth and beauty - like Edith Wharton's short novel Summer - can be read again and again with pleasure.

Accessories: Magnifying glass is for small print and inspection, especially with poor vision. (Now that I use a magnifier, I am discovering many typo errors I passed over previously; I advise it for all proof readers & editors) For night reading with poor overhead lighting, a lamp on a clamp attached to edge of desk helps much, especially with aging; and a 15- or 20-watt bulb is best to read close-up; without glare or overheating.

Interactive Reading: A book you think essential, should be read with no skipping. I skim table of contents, reference, and index; otherwise I read every written word and inspect Figures and tables of explanation. Any question of meaning, spelling, usage and style, or fact should be immediately checked on Internet. (Medical students quickly learn an abstruse syndrome by immediately referencing on the Internet in Wikipedia as they come across one.) I critique author style and content and in a paper book I may pencil-in comment in margin (Of course not in another person's book.) Finding typo error is fun. And if you are reading a successive edition that will be republished, it is useful for the book's editor to receive your list of the errors with comment – you may even end up getting paid or appointed associate editor.
   An average reader lacks full meaning of many words. For example, reading “The cowboy rode into town on a sorrel,” most readers know “sorrel” is a horse but few know it is a light brown of a certain look. Checking things may slow the reading but it makes it more interesting, and is more educative.

General Knowledge: H.G. Wells The Outline of History I have read with pleasure several times. (Now out of print, it is available on Internet.) As result, I am more able to interpret the world around me and predict my future correctly and to my benefit.

Skills: Gaining personal excellence should be a goal of reading. The Lorayne and Lucas’ Memory Book made me a memory idiot savant, Calculator’s Cunning published by Basic Books (Now out of print but available on made me a wiz at numbers and, because of that, it helps me to make more money.

Fiction: Here one should focus on a major aim: reading as substitute for life (Cf. Fannie Hurst’s Imitation of Life).  We have limited time and not enough of it to make us wise enough to avoid repeating old mistakes. And an actual experience may be dangerous. In fiction we can live many lives at once and experience mistake without risk. Fiction should not just be read to pass time. It should be looked at with the question: Is it teaching me new, useful experience to make life better? Reading fiction should be a pleasure but your real reason to read should be to improve your life.  In American fiction, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence (and all her work) is better than Herman Melville’s murky Moby. And J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, and the fiction of John O’Hara, should be read before age 50. A special case is Balzac’s Comédie Humaine covering lives, vocations, and professions. Set in post-Napoleon-I France but relevant still, it gives good models for attaining an all-around wisdom for happy life. If you are lucky to be young and run across this advice, go at it and you will get pleasured by the gold you mine! And James Michener is a writer who can supply a huge depth of learning one can use to find success in life. And a book that will help you understand the inevitable collapse of our society is Anatole France's Penguin Island. (English translation unless you read French in the L'Île des Pingouins.) Then to make you wise in legal questions while being fascinatingly pleasured, read Louis Auchincloss, a page-turning writer/attorney.  And do not forget the two Russians, Tolstoy and Turgenev, who are realistically relevant for modern life. Oh yes, I can't leave this without also admiring Thackeray's Vanity Fair as an all-around good preparation for life for a youth even in 2021.  And the do not overlook my Slim Novels which are accessible through

Biography & Memoirs: The lives of famous persons are useful to help you make decisions in your own life to avoid trouble.Recently I super enjoyed Lillian Hellman`s Pentimento got for 48 cents at a New York used bookstore.  (Unfortunately that service --- the 48-cent, street-stall book --- has been discontinued at the Strand as of 2020.)

Books of Wisdom: Here Socrate's Dialogs come to mind. And include The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the works of Thoreau, starting with Walden.  B.F. Skinner's Walden 2. W.S. Maugham's The Summing Up, Bernard Berenson's Rumor and Reflection, and Theodore Dreiser's Memoir. And add the futuristic works of R(ichard) Buckminster Fuller: Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth (available free on internet) and Utopia or Oblivion.

Science & Math: For students or readers who do not have skills in arithmetic, a good text of algebra and geometry should be reviewed. Similarly,  high-school physics, chemistry, and biology texts should be reviewed, followed by organic chemistry.

Medical Self-help: Healthy longevity – living past 80 with intact mind. For that, check out

Vocation & Hobby reading: Many persons have hobby or vocation. I liked science fiction as boy. Nurtured on the sci-fi of the 1940s and 50s, I recently wanted to return to my youth so I bought several hundreds old pulps. I had fun reading. And for some of those superb stories, click .

Magazines & News:  
National Geographic gives facts to keep one up to date and to help one predict future. Scientific American is good to keep up with progress. Both are mostly free now online. Newspapers I no longer buy because Internet news serves me better free. And keeps you up to date on cultural happenings around the world.

Computer Technology: Reading from screen is good for the aged who have problem reading standard-size print. The capability of the computer to adjust alphabet-letter size and the good contrast afforded by the bright white video-screen background helps readers with poor, aging vision. And now there are computer programs for the blind to read voice-over of written text. Thus the computer should liberate the old and all-age blind person to read more. It can prolong reading for years after paper-page reading is impossible. Also note the revolution in reference material because of Internet search. Instead of looking up fact, spelling and definition by book, you can access it via Wikipedia and other internet on computer.  And the Internet has replaced Roget’s Thesaurus. Finally to mention are the online reads.

End Notes

Appreciating the Arts is part of the good life. I do not admire the cult of personality and hero worship that have grown around popular performers starting with Frank Sinatra in the early 1940's and continuing through so called divas like Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, et al. And I condemn the terrible descent of popular music starting with 1950s Rock & Roll.  In 2021, when entertainment celebrity is, in my opinion, not very talented, a reader or viewer or listener should refuse to subsidize such rot. Do not pay for bad movies, raw singing, or poor art. Respect yourself! You deserve a better life than these untalented so called divas are getting on your money! Of course, we adults must all recognize that our children and grandchildren are being conditioned to idolize this low class entertainment and as much as possible, in a reasonably cultured way, we should try to replace it in a child's life with higher class enjoyments.
Song & Music, and drama either on stage or movie should stimulate good thought and should be used to rest the brain between intellectual chores. I do it for 30 minutes to an hour and play classical music or good popular
The Internet now has good YouTube, streaming art forms and movies free. But avoid Cable TV and Home Box Office or Netflix or any commercial entertainment you are forced to pay for.
I particularly enjoy the CDs of Gordon Jenkins—-Manhattan Tower—- and jazz artist Judy Barnett—-Too Darn Hot and Blossom Dearie’s Planet.  These have become my brilliant boring time passers in old age.

Pictorial Art joy Buy the disc   Susannah McCorckle (the below photo)

Most Requested Songs

 Arts should be studied and the great works should be exhibited free and over the Internet as photos and in copies for homes. The market prices of art works are much too high.

Amateurism: I want to see a Science-Civilization future where the Arts will be dominated by Amateurs (Note that the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is described by his creator as being Amateur by which Conan-Doyle means to show that Holmes never accepted money for what he did so expertly.), meaning no commercial value given to art work; rather it should be a product of one’s leisure. (This presupposes a society where subsistence is free and money is devalued.) No sports heroes, No artists or geniuses, No divas, No moneyed value entertainment.

Garbage Reading & Wasteful Pastimes: Nowadays there is much to learn and your time is precious so avoid garbage, e.g., almost all movies you are forced to pay for; rather, watch the good movie streaming free from Internet at leisure; do not pay for newspaper or magazine (Use internet or library), do not read junk like the romance-novels or young-adult novels, and do not expose your children to get hooked on video games or pop entertainers, the so called divas or on superhero anime (excepting Casper the Friendly Ghost: a superb anime for a kid) and keep your child away, as much as is reasonable, from musical garbage entertainment like just about everything that has come out popularly since 1950 including Hip-Hop.

Paper Books - To Find, To Buy:  Here I write of books  as physical entities you can hold in hand as opposed to the online book that requires a computer or other reading machine. The paper book remains uniquely useful for access to reading  anywhere, anytime with no need for interface machines, no cost in electricity and money in the reading itself and in having flexibility of use that can not be replaced by the machine. Where to find good books at reasonable price? 
   Of course is an invaluable source to buy an out-of-print book you desperately want in its proper printing or edition at reasonable price. 
   Because new issue books are overpriced and over hyped considering the quality, I limit my obtaining paper books for reading to public libraries and key bookstores that specialize in reselling used books at very low prices. For example, in New York City, The Strand, a bookstore on the northeast corner of East 12th Street and Broadway in Manhattan (Near the Union Square-14th St IRT subway station), that features sidewalk stalls of used books from $3 to as low as $1 a book. Whenever I visit NYC, my first stop is The Strand and it is great fun exercising my skill at finding good reads by flipping through the street bookstalls. A good reader will control his impatience to get hold of a new issue book. By waiting a little, one can select books based on the test of time and also according to one's knowledge of authors. Many readers paid exorbitant prices for Stieg Larssen's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo new issues, but I waited a few months and found used copies at The Strand for 48 cents. (The 48-cent books have since been discontinued.) A Hemingway or Faulkner collection of several hundred pages for 48 cents was a not uncommon thrill I experienced in the street at the Strand. My way to efficiently buy at The Strand street stalls is to quickly riffle through a hundred or so books in a few minutes. I look for authors like William Faulkner who I know will satisfy my literary taste, for classics like Thackerey's Vanity Fair that I can read and re-read with pleasure, and for Pulitzer Prize winners like David Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest. Another good used-bookstore is Copper Cat Books in Las Vegas's residential city, Henderson, at 1570 W. Horizon Ridge (Across from the Valle Verde Post Office)

Really Good Reads from a Life-Time ExperienceHere I want to list some magazine fiction I have read during my life-time that is so excellent it should be preserved for future reading. In , my own Slim Novels, I have inserted, between the ending chapter of each Slim Novel and before the first chapter of each successive Slim Novel, superb short stories by authors I have run across in my lifetime. For Slim Novel 1, click right here Return of The Saint to read it. For Slim Novel 2,
Gold Blindness by Erle Stanley Gardner.
  And so forth and so on with each successive Slim Novel.

     End of Chapter. To read next now, click 1.2 Writing


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