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When I read a math or science textbook and do not understand something, I can easily look it up online or look at another book for a different perspective. But how does one develop the ability to understand a book review or an article that contains the opinion of the writer? Many times I am unable to grasp what the author is trying to get at and I am not aware of any resources online that explains to me paragraph by paragraph what an author is saying.

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You're basically asking how to comprehend language? – Dave Newton Jun 20 '12 at 19:14
if an answer was helpful for you, please consider selecting it as your choice. – dwwilson66 Jun 25 '12 at 11:29

Here's a link to That may be helpful as a start, especially in light of your earlier question. To me, this sounds like you're not quite sure how to think about something or how to gain an understanding of something to formulate how to think. Those are critical thinking skills, and there may be some tips there.

More to the point of your question though, when I was in college, I spent a lot of time reading critical theory, and man, oh man, can that be obtuse. It's all based on opinions of deconstructing how we think about things, and I found myself desperate for more resources...much like you talk about.

However, since the dawn of google, I've found the net to be an incredible font of resources. That took a lot of time developing search skills. Knowing what to ask is half the battle. No you're not going to get another resource that's identical to opinion A. But with everyone wanting their fifteen minutes of internet fame, I can guarantee that there will be a discussion or commentary ~somewhere~ on the 'net, no matter how obscure the media.

Learn to ask very specific questions about the material. Reference the author, article, title, etc. in the question. Use keywords like "understand" "confused" etc. As an example, you could ask "I'm confused about why Kaja Silverman calls film an Acoustic Mirror" or "Why is Marxism applicable to filmmaking?" One of the first things I searched (back when Yahoo! was all the rage) was "Noel Carroll is right" and I got a ton of commentary discussing his latest book, and by reading that, gained a better understanding of what it's about.

You may need to tweak your searches a bit...and keep in mind that you're looking for other opinions about the opinion...that may guide some of your questioning. Think of it as a discussion section in college, but you're starting out from scratch, trying to find which building to call home. Join the discussion, pay attention, ask for clarification and engage the other participants. Your understanding will grow exponentially!

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+1 Interesting page – hellectronic Jun 21 '12 at 17:46

I think that the best solution is the simplest in this case. You should take a little time to try to resume what the author has written into your own words. When we explain something to other (or on paper), it gives us a different perspective similar to what you achieve by reading from many sources.

It works very well for me. I remember reading about general topology and having very hard time understanding how it works. Then I tried to put on paper some problems and some definitions. I was able to grasp everything while I was writing.

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Think it is important to learn to ask questions.

Take a look at my answer

Maybe How to read a book or this book How to read a book can help you getting into the needed mindset.

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