Monday, January 22, 2018

TTT: I Love You, But I Don't Remember Why

With the delightful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish moving on to other things, TTT is now hosted by just one of their contingent, That Artsy Reader Girl .  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check it out!

The topic this week is  Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

Oof. This is, like, all the books? Except the ones I read over and over as a child. And the one I finished yesterday. Otherwise, this is the downfall of being a fast reader.

Here's how we're going to play: I'm going to go look at all of my five star books on Goodreads. The first ten that I really don't remember anything significant about will make it to this list. Ready?

1. Song of Solomon. I just featured this on my MLK week list as one of my favorite novels by an author of color. I know I loved this book in college, but c'mon, my class had its 25th reunion recently. 

2. Graceling I love this book and series. The only thing I really remember is the first scene and some of the journey over the mountain. Sounds like a good candidate for a re-read.

3. The Monkey Wrench Gang I was a big Abbey fan back in the day, starting with this book. I'm pretty sure the objectification of women would bother me even more now, but I don't know for sure, because I don't really remember it. 

4. The Sparrow Space travel and religion. That's all I've got.

5. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay I read this tome for a book club I used to be in (before kids). I didn't know what to expect, but I loved it. There were comic books. And some post-war Jewish immigrant stuff. 

6. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting I remember the experience of reading this book, and I remember a scene in which a young wife wore only pearls, but that is it. I felt so worldly at 20, reading a racy book set in a socialist society, written by the poet king of the Czech Republic.  Well, poet-president anyway.

7. Good Omens Apparently this is my favorite Neil Gaiman book. And I love Terry Pratchett's writing and humor as well. Now if I just had the slightest idea what it was about...

8. The Golden Compass I read the series when it first came out, which is to say that like HP, I read it first as an adult. And loved it. And remember very little other than it helped me finally understand what "steampunk" means and they have animals that are sort of like familiars, or like their external souls. 

9. Vicious Like many of you, I love All Things Schwab. But her books are such page-turners that when it's all over, it doesn't take long for me to forget the actual plot. The upside is, I'd "have" to re-read this before tackling the sequel.

10.The Once and Future King Who knows when I read this? After I saw The Sword and the Stone, and before I read H is for Hawk, both of which draw from this classic in very different ways. I know I loved it, but that it also sowed a lifelong distrust of King Arthur stories. Always with the tragic ending. 

What I found most interesting about this process is looking at the books I do remember a fair amount about, compared to these. As I assumed, books I read as a kid are easier for me to remember, because if I liked a book at all, I would re-read it several times. Books I read for classes, or even book club books, stuck with me. Processing them and discussing them made books from Great Expectations to The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down have certain aspects imprinted in my brain because of conversations I had, and ways other people prodded me to think carefully about the book. (Apparently we didn't have much conversation about Kavalier and Clay.) 

Books I wrote actual reviews for also qualify for this. Finally, any book I've read out loud, whether to my classes or my children, is easier to remember in detail. I definitely get much more from a book with the process of reading it out loud, often repeating sections multiple times a day. I notice more of the author's craft than I normally do, and certain passages start to sing. And then, obviously, I remember more of the books I've read more recently. At least half of these are books I read more than a decade ago.

Even though I can't tell you exactly why, I highly recommend all of the above books!

While you're here, would you be so kind as to click over to this survey and tell me which authors I should feature on my classroom cabinets instead of the all white middle class authors and all white middle class characters I have up now? We're making the world a tiny bit better!


  1. "I definitely get much more from a book with the process of reading it out loud, often repeating sections multiple times a day."

    I'm an auditory learner - I noticed that since switching over to audiobooks I remember them A LOT more often.

    1. I remember audiobooks too, although I've attributed it to the slower pace of being read to, and the fact that I can listen and analyze simultaneously better than I can read and analyze. Interesting!

  2. I love how you went farther and speculated about why you don’t remember much about these. I agree. I looked up my reviews of the books I barely remember and I noticed that I hardly wrote anything. I remember everything about the books I’ve read aloud (ask me anything about Wrinkle in Time), the books I discussed with a book group, and the books for which I took notes and wrote extensive reviews.

  3. I mostly remember the structure of Vicious, probably because I read it when I was writing a lecture on nonlinear structure. I loved The Golden Compass as a kid and read it many times. Still, my memory of it is kind of fuzzy. I do remember the animals.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  4. I am old, so I often suffer from CRS, but I do remember what I liked about the book or how it made me feel. My co-blogger can tell you details, and I am always so impressed with her photographic memory, but I think it's ok if you only hold a nice memory of the book. Hey, we wrote reviews, which we can read if we need more details. XP

  5. The Golden Compass was quite good but I don't remember much past the talking animals! I need to read Vicious!


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