All over the web the saying goes that
reading without taking notes is like not reading at all. But, to me, it’s not quite so.
Maybe I take the former statement too literally, but there is one crucial point I believe it’s missing:
reading without remembering is better than not reading at all. When at the end of the day I am quite tired but not too sleepy, it’s without question way better and healthier to read thirty pages of a book than watching an episode of a TV series while lying in bed.
Of course, even if I’m not reading a fiction book, I’m in my bed and it’s very uncomfortable to underline sentences and take note of meaningful passages.
Does this mean I shouldn’t read? Not at all: who cares if I don’t remember those pages or even the whole content of the book, reading it is necessarily better than leaving it on a shelf.
One might argue that in this way reading time would amount to wasted time — since very little of what has been read is likely to be remembered —, yet I’m convinced that words in some way leave a mark, and truly crucial passages stay within us regardless of their annotation.
I’m not saying that notes shouldn’t be taken while reading; writing and reformulating concepts, also in the case of fiction stories or art, is a wonderful and effective way to do your own thinking; nevertheless, it’s not so essential and it definitely isn’t the only way to think and understand about what has been read.
most note-taking fanatics seem to actually be quite ineffective thinkers.