Suffering from Bookish Amnesia

Posted July 4, 2016 by Emily in Investigated / 4 Comments


Okay, I’ll admit it. I suffer from what I refer to as bookish amnesia. I pride myself on having a pretty good memory (as long as it’s not school related hehe). I can cite authors and the titles they wrote. I can tell you the order of books in a series and the year they were published (usually). I can – I just have a good memory, okay? But… it does fail me pretty often.

Stories are fresh in my mind for a good week or two. After that, my memory of it starts to deteriorate and the details vanish into thin air. Soon enough, say six months later, I need prompts to help me remember just what happened in a book and sometimes, even the name of minor characters (or their role in the story). The more time that passes since I last read a book, the less I remember and the more my recap of the story turns into a mere few phrases and feelings instead of a full length, chapter by chapter retelling.

This is probably why I don’t have a lot of reviews written. Writing reviews are a bit complicated for me. I have to wait a few days for my feelings about the book to settle down after I read it. After I have more time to think and reflect on the story, the characters, the writing, and other elements of the book. And I also have to find the time to write it. But I can’t wait too long because after a while, maybe a month or two, all the details from the book have pulled a vanishing act from my brain. Even my notes can’t help me remember everything. 🙁

My bookish amnesia is also the reason why I don’t like reading series that often. At least, series still in progress. Waiting the typical year between books is brutal for me. Not only because I’m dying to know what happens next, but also because I will inevitably forget pretty much everything that happened in the first book. And that means more work for me. Yay. -__-

It’s not that I don’t like reading books, but I am a bit cautious when it comes to rereading novels I liked when I first read them. Sometimes rereading proves to be a fatal task and once I’m done with it (or start it), I don’t even want to read the next book anymore. Because rereading a book has the ability to alter my perception of a book. And it’s usually for the worst. Also, I can also be known as the world’s laziest blogger. A procrastinator driven by mood. You can see how that is a bad combo.

Still, despite the problems it creates, bookish amnesia does have benefits. If I read a really bad book, I don’t have to worry about it haunting me for the rest of my life. I just won’t refresh my memory of it and let its details drift away from my mind. That being said, I can’t forget the bad feelings that come with reading bad books. For example, while I have forgotten everything that happens in them, every time I see the last two books in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, I can’t help but be filled with scorn and hate. You can’t win at everything, I guess.

Do you suffer from bookish amnesia?
If you do, how does it affect you?



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4 responses to “Suffering from Bookish Amnesia

  1. Ahh this!
    Yes, definitely in the same boat. Divergent series, I can hardly remember the second book so I’ve had Allegiant on my shelf for ages. I bought it, hard back, the second it came out, can’t remember anything.
    Don’t want to see the film because I know characters aren’t in them and I want to read all three before I watch them, and oh gosh I’ve given up.
    I’ll get round to re-reading Insurgent at some point.
    Maybe there should be a website where they give you in depth chapter by chapter prompts of what happened…

    • There actually is a website that gives a summary of what happens in a book! ? Shmoop is kind of like Sparknotes and Cliffnotes. But the only problem is that they only have summaries of bestsellers and some books only have general summaries of the book as a whole, rather than by chapters. Book Rags is another site that should have summaries. You can basically find summaries on any book that has become required reading for school (not that I would know that from experience hehe).

      Thanks for stopping by Zoë!

  2. I have bookish amnesia all the time and it’s so frustrating. Like you, waiting for new books in series kills me, so I often wait until most of them are published before jumping on the bandwagon. But this seems to have its own problems, in that when I marathon series I end up getting bored of them and reading becomes a chore rather than fun. But I can’t read different things in between because I’ll start to forget things. Argh. I found the Recaptains blog to be super helpful! As for reviews, I have to write them as I got. Not notes, but full on reviews. Sometimes, I can be 100 pages into a 500 page book and have my review ready to go. Of course, I’ll edit it and add things as I go, so that it does end up reflecting my views on ALL of the book. But I do find that reading my reviews months after writing them I’m left thinking ‘what did I mean by this?!’ and wondering how helpful they actually are. Reviewing isn’t my strong point and I really don’t enjoy it. 🙁

    Great post!

    Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging

    • I can’t read multiple books at a time either. Not only do I start to forget things, I also start to forget where certain things took place. Was it Book A or Book B? And thus, I mix up all the plots. ? I probably should write reviews (and take notes) as I read, but for some reason, I can never seem to tear myself away from the book to do so (aka, I always forget). Reviewing definitely isn’t my strong point either and probably my least favorite type of post to write, as well.

      Thank you for stopping by Charlotte!