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An Invitation to Join a Literary Heist
Testing Out Reading Techniques from Around The Internet Pt 1.5
Once Upon a Crime
When I lived in Germany, a friend of mine used to sneak me into the University library at night. In classic heist fashion, we would silently prowl the halls, pull valuable items off the shelves, and leave again a couple of hours later having stolen precious information away, stored in our minds, or in our notebooks.
If you’d have traced our footsteps though, and taken every book back down from the shelves, you would have found that no matter how much we’d taken, nothing was missing. This is the nature of a literary heist.
Knowledge, once taken, doesn’t diminish, it duplicates.
Now, I have a much larger heist planned, and I’d like you to be a part of it.
A few weeks ago I released pt.1 of this series, talking about the first of a number of “Reading Techniques” from around the internet. In that article I ran a poll, asking about your reading goals, and the results were rather interesting. It found that about half of you reading have a set goal of around one book a week, and of the remainder the majority read about one a fortnight.
In addition, only 30% of you dedicate less than 5 hours weekly to reading, and even that is enough to achieve the goal I have for you.
This article is labelled “pt.1.5” because “pt.2” will cover a Reading technique known as the Zettlekasten method, which focusses on drawing quotes from the books we read, expanding upon them in our own words, and then reappropriating them further down the line.
Here’s your task, should you choose to accept it.
You have two weeks. In that time, I’d like you to pick up one book, any book, and the first time you come across a quote that you love, write it down and copy it into the comments section of this article.
Please also include whether you read the quote in a physical book, or an eBook, heard it on audio, or whilst reading to your toddler at night—basically, how did the quote come into your possession. Where did you steal it from?
In order to make sure that these quotes can have the most benefit for the greatest number of people, please heed these words from Irenaeus:
“To whomever might be transcribing this book, I implore you by our Lord Jesus Christ… to compare what you have transcribed, and be careful to set it right according to this copy from which you have transcribed it.”
Irenaeus of Lyons, a Fragment from the Lost Writings of Irenaeus.
The entire text that this fragment comes from is lost, but at least we have the quote, which was faithfully transcribed…even if the rest wasn’t.
I’d love to hear from as many of you as possible, and feel free to leave more than one comment; the more the merrier! I’d love to have a general idea of the kinds of quotes that speak to you, so that like Robin Hood and his Merry Men, we can steal from the spiritually and authorially rich, for the benefit of our our own storehouses—as well as those of other poor souls in need of literary sustenance.
For some help on how to find worthy quotes, check out this article:
Grace and Peace,
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