Yesterday I was skimming my blogs and I noticed that The Book Lady’s Blog linked to a Freakonomics column in the New York Times that mentions an article in the New York Times Sunday Book Review about people who forget what they’ve read. Still with me?
I enjoy these types of articles because they make me feel less inadequate. I’m not sure if I’ve blogged about this before (clearly I also forget what I’ve blogged about so it makes sense…), but I tend to forget many of the books I’ve read. In fact, I was a good way through Glass Castle, before I realized I’d already read it.
I’m not alone though! In the Book Review article, James Collins writes, “Certainly, there are those who can read a book once and retain everything that was in it, but anecdotal evidence suggests that is not the case with most people. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most people cannot recall the title or author or even the existence of a book they read a month ago, much less its contents.”
The article goes on to wonder if it’s worth reading a book you won’t remember. Of course, I think so otherwise I’d never read and this blog would just be pictures of me and my friends and a few YouTube videos thrown in. Even if I can’t always recall the plot on demand, books provide a lot of benefits: entertainment, a perspective into different worlds and cultures, a commonality with other readers, and even a better vocabulary. And, with a little prompting, I can usually remember the important parts of the books at least.
I’m getting better though. And it’s because of this blog. It (along with a Google doc) makes me keep track of what I’ve read, and blogging about the books forces me to think about them more than I normally would. And, if all else fails, I can just search my archives. Technology!
What about you all? Do you forget the books you’ve read? Or are you one of those show-offs who can recall minor plot details in casual conversation?