Farnam Street: How to Remember What You Read.

The more that active readers read, the better they get. They develop a latticework of mental models to hang ideas on, further increasing retention.

Omigod. If reading is a chore, this article isn't going to help you. Some points are great, but as a whole ... sheesh. I read to find out that I'm normal in an insane world. That one can have a compelling internal life. I read to find better strategies to deal with interpersonal relationships. To judge of multifarious subjects better.

And I almost never pick up a self-help book. I'll go to the classics, first, always. As with weblogging, I look for original sources of ideas (before they're politicized, these days). If I have a sticky problem, I'll head to an autobiography written by someone who's overcome similar problems.

I read to strengthen my soul's foundations. Not for mere 'decoration' or book-count. I actively use what I've read, every day. All the time. And with that habit, these books stay 'alive' in my consciousness. In this political climate, Scaramouche seems very on-point.

[Author is right, however, on about matching book to pursuit. Never take Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse on a vacation. I spent the first three days stomping around in righteous anger, until I swapped it for something less ... incendiary.]

[If you want to change your life - your mental life - I highly, highly recommend The Practical Cogitator (out of print now), by Curtis and Greenslet. I wish it could be updated for our modern world by respected public intellectuals (are there any left?); it has remained on my nightstand, or near at hand, for 40 years. My 'regrounding' book. Note that it is likely not quite as useful out of America as it is within the country.]