Trying to make up for being a very bad reader

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado for the Literature and Society class I’m taking up this semester. Even though the term isn’t finished yet, I think I’ve really learned to upgrade the way I read literary works. I read the stories in our syllabus as thoroughly as I can, but after we discuss them in class I always walk away with the feeling that I didn’t read into the assigned work deeply enough.

That feeling of shallowness has eased since the term began. Somehow, though, I think I’ll have to reread Ilustrado to really see what Syjuco’s trying to say. In fact, starting with my second reading of Ilustrado I’ve decided to defile my books by filling them with post-its and making marginal notes on their pages to help me read them better. I’ve also bought a small notebook on which I’ll be making notes as I read.

In a sense I’ll be starting from scratch, acting as if I’ve never read a novel before. I’ll begin with what are widely considered “classic” works: The Catcher in The Rye, To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice And Men, Lord of the Flies, and The Old Man And The Sea (number one on my list of Best Books of All Time). Frankly I felt really highbrow reading them back then, but after English 11 I realize I must have been so pretentious.

But in literature, most everyone gets a second chance.


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