Forgetting the books you loved

With so much noise on the internet, I wish Twitter would track the links I click on and read. Interestingly, the link I’m trying to find is about not retaining what you read. It was a great explanation of why we don’t remember things long term, but the more I write about it, the more the article comes into focus and I may have a chance of tracking it down in case you want to read it.  Pamela Paul, the editor of the NYTBR is quoted in it. There was also a bit about Plato not wanting to ruin his memory by writing his ideas down because he felt writing things would be the death of memory. The article (aha, I found it!) asserts that the more we read, the less we retain and it’s all down to the internet because we really have no reason to keep things in our memory because we have new ways to retrieve them.

I remembered Pamela Paul was quoted because I specifically recall the things she remembers when she reads. The physical book itself, where she bought it or who gave it to her, the setting she read it in. The trouble was, that was about all she remembered. We are fortunate to have the internet and the place I go to remember what I read and to get a brief synopsis of it is Goodreads. There were times in the past where I would read a book and then at a later date, purchase the book again or check it out from the library only to remember halfway through I had already read it. It rarely happens anymore.

I am a huge list maker, so making lists of what I read goes way, way back. During my high school, college and early adult years, I wrote them in a notebook/journal. Unfortunately, I was in therapy in my mid-twenties and I let my therapist look at my journals for insight but I never got them back because I stopped seeing her due to the fact I couldn’t afford it anymore and I was too embarrassed to ask for them back.  Crazy, I know!

Once Excel was invented, I kept all my notes about what I was reading there. That way I could sort it by author, date (year) read or the rating I gave the book (I used 1-4 with 4 being the best and I also used half numbers too so if a book was really good but if it wasn’t fantastic, I’d rate it a 3.5). I kept multiple worksheets so I could track favorite authors and keep lists of what I wanted to read separately from the list.  I even had a column where I’d write a brief summary and review of the book. I guess this was my early day Goodreads!  I still have a copy of this somewhere.

I was also an early adopter of PDA’s (personal digital assistants) and would keep the book lists on it so I could refer to it at the library or bookstore. It is also where I started reading e-books back in the early 2000’s. The idea of always having a book with me wherever I went was highly appealing and it didn’t have to be a big physical book. My early days as an iphone user was chiefly to read books and from there I tried the Nook for a while but it didn’t do it for me. When the iPad came out, I thought it would be ideal because I could read at night with it, but after seeing someone reading a Kindle while on a beach vacation, I was sold and the Paperwhite is now what I bring everywhere I go. It is a perfect size, syncs with books from the library and keeps a charge for weeks. It is also a very simple product that has one purpose.

By early last year, I’d say about 90% of my reading was via ebooks. In May 2017, my family went on an electronics fast that lasted several months due to some issues we were having with Liam and his electronics use. I gave up my Kindle from May through August and this got both of us back to the library which was great. I have always loved the library and often would find new authors by browsing the shelves. It was a great way to stumble on someone new. Now, I always have a hardcover or paperback book going along with something on the Kindle.

So all in all, my consumption of books has increased quite a bit with all the ways I can read them. That means I’m loving the books as I read them but forgetting a couple months out what the plot was. Fortunately, I can go online and refresh myself about books I loved. The number of authors I read and love has also grown considerably so my TBR pile is much larger than it used to be. I’m the kind of person who likes to know there will always be something good to read following the book I’m currently reading (whether I’m going to remember it or not).


Daily prompt: Noise

2 thoughts on “Forgetting the books you loved”

  1. My TBR pile resides in my notes, ever growing. I find that ebooks are convenient but never as memorable as print on the page. I miss seeing the cover of the book when I open my ebook, the visual that imprints the story in my memory. Toni

    Liked by 1 person

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