Tagged: Mortimer Adler

Mortimer Adler: The Forgotten Educational Reformer

I firmly believe that Mortimer Adler is one of the most misunderstood and neglected thinkers of the last one hundred years. Often labeled elitist and Eurocentric, people often confuse his views on education with people like Allen Bloom and Ed Hirsch, who advocate a kind of cultural literacy as a key component of education. On the contrary, I believe Adler’s views on educational reform are deeply democratic and innovative. He was recommending changes to the educational system decades before other more trendy names were found for them. The...

Abandonment to Divine Providence

My Favorite Reads of 2009

In reverse order, here are the best 10 books I read this year: Quest for the Living God by Elizabeth Johnson – an intelligently written survey of where modern theology is heading, for good or ill; I can tell that one reading of this book is not enough His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – great mixture of history and fantasy Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza – hard to believe a genocide like this took place in my lifetime; with all its tragedy, still an uplifting testament...

Reading on Bed

Are you a Horizontal Reader or a Vertical Reader?

No, I’m not talking about your body’s position when you read, I’m talking about the way you read. I was thinking about my reading habits the other day while working on another book, and it occured to me that there are two ways to approach reading: Horizontal reading: this is an approach where you try to read as many books as possible; the idea here is that the more you read the more you know. Horizontal readers voraciously devour books day after day, week after week. Vertical reading:...

How to Mark a Book

One of the most important skills in reading well is marking the text. Mortimer Adler gives an excellent introduction to writing in books in his essay “How to Mark a Book.” Here are a few quotes, followed by my thoughts: You know you have to read “between the lines” to get the most out of anything. I want to persuade you to do something equally important in the course of your reading. I want to persuade you to write between the lines. Unless you do, you are not...

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

How to Read a Book

Some books take no extra skills to read–all of their benefits are on the surface waiting for you. Others hide their treasures below the surface and you have to go after them like a deep sea diver, returning and returning again to appreciate their beauty and discover their meaning. Books like The Brothers Karamazov and City of God require extra literary skills to understand, but the effort is worth it. If you’ve never had a good literature class, or if it’s been a while since your last one,...