So, I love books. I hope that’s clear by now. But much of what I read is the sort of stuff you might like to take notes while reading- theology, philosophy, Little Golden Books, and so on. Unfortunately, I’m not great at marking up books (or at least I wasn’t a year ago). So when I see someone smart, I usually ask them how they take notes, and then try out their system to see if it works for me. Ultimately, I should end up with a great system of taking notes, and in the meantime, I’ll share some note-taking systems I’ve learned with you.
Dr. Mike Rusten (Professor at Bethlehem College and Seminary with an awesome website) has a simple system for reading books he’ll most likely read again. In the margin, he’ll make a single vertical line next to text he would read a second time through, and a double vertical line next to text he’d like to take and use in something of his own.
I’ve found this to be great with books I’ll probably read or at least glance over again, but which aren’t terribly hard to read. Making lines in the margin is also better than underlining because 1) if you’re like me, you almost always end up crossing things out when you underline, and 2) it saves ink for large passages which you wish to mark.
Also, while using Dr. Rusten’s system, I found it helpful to use an “M” in the margin when I saw something I would like to meditate on in the future, as is pictured above.
So there you go. I’ll post more systems in the future, but go try out Dr. Rusten’s system. I hope you will enjoy it.
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