Monday 9 May 2016

How to Deal With Book Amnesia

'Have I read this before? Maybe. Seems familiar... argh, a generic title! A well-known author! A vague blurb! HAVE I READ THIS OR HAVEN'T I?!'

'Ooh, I've read that series! Which book am I on? Ummm... I wanna say the fourth? Maybe the fifth? The third? The one where thingummy comes into to it...'

'Yeah, I've read that book. I wanna say vampires? Werewolves? Oh, of course, assassins - no, I have read it. I must have... I've marked it as 'read' and rated it on Goodreads.'

'No, I don't think I've read that... I reviewed it?!?! Man, I really don't remember this at all.'

Does any of this seem familiar? If so, my fellow book-amnesiacs, you are not alone, much as I wish you were.

The problem is, I read so much that the boundary-lines tend to become a bit blurred. I mix up details, titles, series, or just plain can't remember the damned thing.

Plus, I've asked everyone I know, and no-one can remember what happens at the end of Oliver Twist. No-one. On this planet. I'm certain of this.

After (spoiler) Nancy goes to the big wh*re-house in the sky, everyone just has white-noise about the rest of the details.

But help, my dear nerdlets, is at hand! Here are some slightly-sarcastic tips on dealing with book amnesia!

  • Look back over your Goodreads - you might have marked the book or series as 'read' or 'to-read,' (or if you have a blog, you might have actually reviewed it... oops.) Checking the details may spring-board your memory. Or not. Whatever.

  • Ask someone else. My mother asks me whether she's read books from the library before. I tend to remember them better than she does. I think this is possibly because she's not paying attention.

  • Find a list of the series online and work out what happens when and where. You'll then be able to figure out which books you've read. Probably. Being honest, this doesn't always work. I can never remember which Kathy Reichs books I've read, no matter how much I love them or how many times I read the blurbs.

  • Just re-read it. Sometimes it's easier. If you remember it half-way through, you can always stop.

  • Look at different versions of the cover - maybe you can't remember because it looked different?!?! Right?!?!

  • Ban authors from naming books generic titles like 'Blood' or formulaic titles like 'City of...' - it makes it much harder to tell the damned things apart, and really, you're authors - come up with a different title before I mix your book up with the other guy's. Please.

  • Ban authors from naming books different titles in different same-language countries. Dudes, I get if it if it's a translation, but giving a book two English titles? Just confusing.

  • Also ban them from releasing a new edition of the same book with a different title. (What did I ever do to you?)

  • Look up the ending to Oliver Twist. Re-write it a hundred times. Stick it on post-it notes around the house. And then forget it anyway. BECAUSE NO-ONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF OLIVER TWIST.

Like this post? Try these:


  1. This happens to me all the time! And then I sound stupid because someone will ask me what I thought of x part of a book and I can't even remember what happened! It actually happened to me quite recently when I couldn't remember what major character died in The Outsiders, one of my favourite books. Had to reread it because of it.

    1. Glad I'm not alone! It's so frustrating (and embarrassing if I've actually reviewed it. It happens.) XD

  2. I feel this so hard, but now I can finally put a name to it! I'd love to be able to ban generic titles, too. There have been a few times in Waterstones where I've looked at a book and thought 'read that' and not picked it up, only to find out I was thinking of something else. Re-reading is always the biggest help for me though. Everything just comes flooding back when I hit a moment that I could actually remember. Then I put the book down and promptly forget everything. Every. Damn. Time.

    1. Haha - I feel your pain! XD

      Thanks for the comment :) <3

  3. This literally happens to me all the time. Sometimes I know I have read a book, but I literally have no idea what happened, and because sometimes I don't record my thoughts of my blog or goodreads, I literally have no memory of it.

    1. I know! And you're then there like: I'm sure I've read that. What the hell is it about...?

  4. Hahaha I am sure generic titles don't help with this at all! Actually, reviewing books was my cure to amnesia. That way I know what I've read and I have my opinion of it all in one place so that then I can also remember my initial thoughts :D

    1. Ha, lucky for some. I'm just there reading my review... and being like, I wrote this? Huh. Guess I read the book.


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!