Analysis: Get more out of your reading!

Why would I want to analyze a book while I read it? Iread for fun!

My answer: analyzing your reading gives you more fun with the next book. What is it about your book that you like? What don’t you like and why? These are important questions to answer if you want to get more books you will love reading. You want that, right?

If you like to talk with others about books, this is a great way to pull out the intelligent answers to the question, “What did you like about this book?”

Here are some easy habits to get into while reading that will help you analyze books:

  1. Pay attention to the commonly-used themes the author is using. (Example: a woman alone, man vs. the system) They are everywhere, in movies, books, even commercials. There are big themes and small themes, some encompassing the whole book and some for just one scene. They vary with culture differences around the world and even within a city. It’s surprising to see that books on entirely different subjects can have similar themes. Pulling this out and poking it with a stick can be a lot of fun.
  2.  Read a book closely. Notice the little things about the book. This allows you to see things beyond the plot, characters, and ideas in the book. Word choice tells things about the author and shapes the tone of the story. They show why certain writers endure. Look at the really great sentences! That is what writing is about. Paragraphs are the completeness of the work and give it a musical quality, a rhythm.  (From Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose)
  3. Notice who is narrating and why. Who is listening? On what occasion is the story being told and why? Is the protagonist projecting this heartfelt confession out into the ozone, and, if so, what is the proper tone to assume when the ozone is one’s audience? (From Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose)
  4. Who are the characters? Characters are defined by how the author describes them, what they say, and what they do. (From Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose) What do the other characters think about them? This makes a surprising impression on you as the reader. What colors your likes and dislikes about the character?
  5. How does the author describe gestures? The description of gesture sets good writing apart from common. Common writing describes common gesture while good writing shakes things up. (From Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose)
  6. After you’re done, how do you feel about the book? Was it a win or a fail? Why? Sometimes a good book leaves a sour taste in your mouth. What was that? Sometimes an awful book manages to pull through. How did it happen?

Do you have any great reading-enhancing analysis techniques that should be on this list?

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