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Linguaholic

Do you read books/novel study guides?


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I'm not sure if everyone is familiar with the concept of book study guides so I'll try to explain that first. Book study guides are books that are meant to be used while reading or after reading a certain novel. They try to simplify or clarify anything that might be too complicated in the original novel. Sort of a walk-through for novels. Do you like reading those or do you prefer to figure things out yourself?

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I must confess that I have never come across a book study guide before, except during high school to aide with sitting external exams. Having one of those was a perfect way to get A's in particular subjects but apart from that I never used a book guide.

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When I was in college and high school, I used to study with them for exams. But I only used them for harder books that used a lot of deep symbolism. That stuff usually just flew over my head. I also used them for books written in old English like works by Shakespeare. But I've never used them for foreign languages. It never even occurred to me. Hahaha!!! That certainly could have helped me in French class. But I did use to go online sometimes to research harder French books and poems on sites like Wikipedia.

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  • 3 months later...

I think I've encountered that kind of thing when we we're studying Shakespeare but I for the most part I hated it. It sort of takes away the mystery and the free for all meaning behind the concept of the novels so in a way it sort's of kills it. But I think it's more for educational purposes rather than actual casual reading.

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I am familiar with book study guides, but I am new to novel study guides. A novel itself is entertaining, and I am sure how a guide to it might be beneficial. It might great for people who want to study the novel in depth for academic purposes, or write an article about. Otherwise it would take the fun out of the reading experience, unless you just don't get the novel , and want to find out what it was all about.

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  • 1 month later...

I really like to read those when the plot is really intricate or if for some reason I couldn't pay a lot attention to every single thing in the novel.  Those are so useful and help to understand better the novel you just read, because mot of the time there is always a detail that leaves me wondering.

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I once read one of these "study guide books". It was the one for "Much Ado About Nothing" from William Shakespeare. I felt that it interrupted the flow of the play, so what I did was reading the play in its entirety first and then read it again using the study guide. I think they're good, though, specially if you're learning the language.

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I sometimes read those kind of books since I am aware that those can be really helpful. Specially if the subject is really complicated or not that easy to understand. But there are also times that I just like to figure things out of myself which can also enhance the ability to analyze things better.

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I've read through some of these and have even watched a few videos for explanations on movies or literature that I found a bit confusing. I sometimes look for online comments that could further expand my knowledge on the piece as well along with hopefully some bits of trivia about the makers, even. I try not to resort to it if I can help it though but it's still fun to read through them nonetheless.

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I have read the study guide for certain things but I think when reading a book it is always best to try and understand and interpret in your own way. Sometimes it does not help to read the study guide when you want to get something from the story in the book.

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I think they're great for authors who need some deciphering, or just to get a better idea of the time period or sociology that the book was written in. Shakespeare obviously comes to mind, but also other old books. Some people growing up these days might not understand slavery, racism, etc, and might need some explaining to fully grasp a book that was written in those time periods.

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I'm not sure if my observation is correct, but I seem to observe that study guides are available only to select titles. Generally, titles that are required reading in high school or college. After school, I haven't had the chance to use those study guides.

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Generally, I read through the entire book first and then make my own judgements on it. This way, I have my own, unique insight into the book, which is extremely useful when asked to write an essay with original content.

However, I also take a look at online resources such as Spark Notes and Shmoop to see what other people have to say about the book and to see what kinds of themes are out there. I also use it to see if I missed anything important while reading through; often times I see an obscure message hidden between the lines but I pass over a more glaring one. This is especially useful when preparing for reading quizzes (I'm in high school right now) because such sites give you a general overview and explain the big picture.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually, yes, I use them from time to time, because they help you understand a certain book or a novel better. When you have so many subjects and so little time, you simply can't devote yourself to a book as much as you'd like, so you take all the help you can get. Some things, are wrongly perceived in them. For example, while reading Emerson's The American Scholar, one study guide suggested that nature is the ''opposite of soul'' meant parallel, when it actually meant different (because nature has no soul and humans do...). So, whatever you read, you must bear in mind that you take a risk - you can never be sure whether what you'd read is correct or not.

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  • 1 month later...

I prefer to figure things out for myself. I do not like listening to sport commentaries as well. I prefer to make my own observations. I love going on the journey that the author has created, I like being surprised by the twist in a story or cry when the character I love dies. I enjoy reading a good book very much from cover to cover to discover for myself what the author wants me to know.

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