What are your reading habits for difficult books?

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Hi r/literature! I hope this question is complex enough for me to avoid deletion and a ban.

I've recently completed my undergraduate studies in Creative Writing, and I've been feeling a little disappointed in myself. My studies gave me a glance at the kind of literature I could read, that would deepen my engagement with all of literature, but that's all it was, a glance. Furthermore, what relatively little difficult reading I was given, I truly struggled with. Reading 20 pages of Bhabha was an absolute nightmare that left me more confused by the end of it.

The current state of my life is such that I struggle to motivate myself to read anything at all. I feel like an impostor, sometimes. After all, what kind of writer doesn't even enjoy reading?

But I'm trying my best to claw my way out of this hole, and I thought I could benefit from the advice of the more experienced. So, I want to know how you guys engage with texts that are dense and difficult. Do you highlight? Do you take notes while reading it? Do you re-read often as an exercise in spaced repetition? Do you keep exacting and meticulous outlines?

Furthermore, how do you guys deal with books that require a great deal of outside research? One trend I can perceive in literary theory and even philosophy is how some books are written on the backs of foundation texts that they don't outright say you have to read first. Not that I've ever experienced it, but I can imagine how annoying it would be to start on a text only to find out that to make heads or tails of any of it you should have read Marx or Hegel or Nietzsche first. Have any of you experienced something like this and how do you guys deal with it?

That's about it, thank you for reading to the end of this post and I hope you can help me out. Mods please don't delete me thx.

Source: reddit post


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