Unpack the Bags to Better Understand A Book
Admit it -you usually read a book, spend a few minutes thinking about the characters and plot and how it affected you on a personal level, and that’s as far as you go. Are you ready to take it to a deeper realm?
To sharpen your critical and analytical thinking skills and gain new insights, try “unpacking” the book you’ve just read. You’ll need a pen and paper, or open up a blank document on your computer. Doing this exercise will take some time and thought. But you’ll feel the gears turning in your mind and you’ll fire up some neurons in the process.
Think about the book and consider the following:
- In your own words, write a brief summary of the story.
- What was the purpose of the story?
- What was the writer’s point of view?
- Do you agree with the writer’s point of view? Explain why or why not.
- Were there distractions in the book you had to overcome, such as word choices, technical or complex subjects, writing style, characters, story lines or dialogue?
- Did these distractions serve a purpose?
-Did you have to reread any parts of the book so you could understand them?
- What was your personal reaction as you read the story?
- Did you make predictions as you progressed through the book? What predictions did you make, and did they turn out the way you expected?
-Do you like the way the book ended, or would you prefer a different ending?
- What question or questions would you like to ask the author?
- Would you recommend the book to others?
Reading doesn’t have to be a passive activity. By asking questions and deconstructing or “unpacking” the contents, you’ll become a more powerful reader and thinker.
Another benefit – post your critique on your favorite social media sites and on bookseller sites like Amazon. Others will appreciate your analysis and you’ll get an interesting dialogue going.