Good morning, everyone and happy Friday! I wanted to post a more in-depth explanation of what Annotated Inspiration is as well as how to do close reading with us and why things are set up this way instead of like your average book club.
I have a background in English Literature and education and I believe that close reading is an important skill not only for academic reading but something that can be used in all contexts. I think everyone should know how to do it so that they can get the most out of what they read. Annotated Inspiration takes close reading and applies it to reading books that are inspiring in some way whether it is a book that encourages fulfillment, how to embrace your creativity and move it into an entrepreneurial setting, or even become more productive in your life. Eventually we will even do votes to choose which book to take on next via the Instagram and Facebook accounts.
To encourage discussion as well as making close reading a more feasible concept, I want to break each book into manageable sections and discuss each section after a week. If you read slower then you can join the discussion at your leisure or read the posts and comments when you reach each section's end. A book never dies, right? Think of this as a literature seminar and a book club rolled into one.
Why nonfiction? Because it has so much to offer but so many skip the entire genre thinking it's not as easy as fiction. Breaking the books down and going over the sections each week, I won't just be reading it with you but teaching it. This is truly a seminar where we feed off one another's comments and observations.
There is more to business, blogging, and the creative life than dollars & photos (or the likes they receive). We can help each other become better people.
Close Reading : How does it work?
Close Reading is a system for reading comprehension. The first thing you have to do is write out a key for yourself. You're going to be identifying 5 kinds of things in any given section or chapter of a book:
1. Things you don't understand or have a question about.
2. Things you love.
3. Things that are surprising or you feel are important.
4. Great quotes or passages you want to remember.
5. Words you need to define.
Next, choose how you want to enact the system. There's two real methods for this or you can make up your own hybrid style - or really whatever works for you. Personally I kind of do a hybrid. The two main options are that either you can assign each of the five categories a symbol and write them where appropriate, or you can assign a color of highlighter to each category. Note taking in the margins or on a separate piece of paper is a huge benefit of close reading so don't skip on jotting down thoughts or reactions, anything at all. For my hybrid style, I write notes and use the symbols a lot but I also use 1 highlighter for important quotes or passages. Whatever works. You want to live in this book and process everything you can, wringing all of the meaning from the words as though it were water from a dishrag.
Book I: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
So with all of that said and done, our first book is Big Magic by the amazingly talented Liz Gilbert. There are 6 parts to this book so for this week I want for us to have Part I read by Wednesday for our first editorial and discussion. I'll post here that morning and then we can have a conversation in comments here or on Instagram.
Liz Gilbert's writing has brought about some brilliant changes and inspiration in my life in the last 7 years along with millions of others. I hope you'll choose to go buy the book or grab it from the local library and read along with us. See you Wednesday!