In a streamlined effort to avoid memorizing the 8 parts of required elements of a negotiable instrument, one of my friends emailed me and asked me a really good question – after he’d been trying to finish a book he started a few months ago, which is this: how do you read a book faster, and how do you finish it? That’s an interesting pair of questions. Here are my thoughts, and a few thoughts thrown in from my friends along the way too:
1. Buy a book with disappearing ink – just kidding. Sort of. But they make books like that now. Cool. I like the idea that a story may be ephemeral, instead of memorialized.
2. Go to law school – just kidding. Sort of. Nothing makes one become a world-class skimmer when reading fast than law school itself. I’m killing myself now though, because with the bar exam coming up – I’ve GOT TO SLOW DOWN my reading instead of speed it up as I have for the past 4 years.
3. Start with the TOC – Where is the law written that one has to read a book from cover to cover, front to back, anyway? Sometimes, when I’m looking at a book that’s 300+ pages, I start at the TOC and look for titles and sections that really get me excited to read. Usually, for me, that’s anything that begins with, “The Future of…” whatever subject the book is discussing. Being the futuristic focused nut that I am, I usually go straight to that chapter and check it out first. If it’s really really good, I keep reading. If not? I stop wasting my time. Bouncing through a book, I’m here to tell you–is OKAY!
4. Sip a few books at a time – this is one of my craziest tricks of all – I tend to check books out of the library in wads of 4-5 or more, and I tend to read a little bit of each of them at or near or around the same time. It’s like a mix tape, with books. (And seriously – if you have no idea what a mix tape is, I weep for you.) It mashes up the concepts a bit, but one of the key skills and most value brain possessions I’ve found in my life is the ability to mash up concepts that at first don’t seem connected at all. If you can take disparate ideas, things, concepts or totally random stuff and see how it fits together, you’ve got an amazing skill that smart people highly covet. By reading books this way, I try and polish this skill. It’s THAT important – at least to me. And that’s a skill that you don’t typically get in the classroom.
5. Give it a few pages, and if it doesn’t hold you, chuck it – One of my friends only reads the first 75-100 pages of a book, then quits. As a writer, I think that’s a total nightmare, because some of my best stuff and what I learned while writing the book I tend to put at the back of the book. BUT, as a reader–I see her point. If the book hasn’t made it’s big point by the first 100 pages, is it worth continuing on? As a reader, maybe not. As a writer, maybe so. But again, there’s no law that says, “Thou Shalt Read a Book Cover to Cover or Burn in Purgatory.”
In this time restricted/crunched world we live in – who has time to sit around and read War & Peace anyway? This gal doesn’t. And I LOVE books, probably more than 98% of my friends and family! But even I have my limits. So, in conclusion (that is, if you’re still reading this post) – the world really doesn’t care HOW you read – we just care that you TRY. That you SIP. That you THINK. That you ATTEMPT. That you BOUNCE. Reading–just like everything else in life–is not one size fits all.
Now, my 8/9 required parts of a negotiable instrument:
Promise to pay
Money – as in for money
2 – “to order” or “to bearer”
Promises – other than the above aren’t included.