Question: Do You Ever Forget?

Posted March 20, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 87 Comments


Considering I read/listen to 100+ books a year, and have been doing so, but to a lesser extent since I was nine, yes I most certainly forget. A LOT. My preferred genre in paranormal, so my brain can only keep track of x-number of werewolves / vampires / demons / witches at one time before the worlds start to overlap. I mostly rely on authors and the quasi-essential “recap” chapter to refresh my memory when a significant amount of time has elapsed between installments. Very rarely will I do a re-read (unless it’s a favourite author), but I will occasionally peek at the last pages of a previous novel to help fill in some of the blanks. I find that checking out my older reviews can be a huge help as well.

I think I work mostly off of situational memory, meaning I’ll often forget that I’ve already watched/read something until I can put it into context. For example: whenever I start reading a new book in a series I’m already familiar with, the previous plots come back to me because my brain gets triggered by the writing style, characters, would-building, audiobook narrator, etc. This is also the main reason why I have such an easy time coming up with similar titles whenever I get asked for recommendations by followers. Ask me “hey, I like books with love triangles, snarky heroines, that take place in a school setting,” and I can probably list off a handful of novels because you’ve just given me the context.

My guy on the other hand, can basically scan his memory for keywords and spit out an answer at the drop of a hat which is both a blessing and a curse because I’m always the one who comes off looking forgetful. He can repeat our conversations verbatim and never misses an important date, so whenever we have communication problems it’s usually my fault. LOL

Do You Ever Forget?

Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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87 responses to “Question: Do You Ever Forget?

  1. I forget all the time, memory like teflon – nothing sticks LOL
    GR is the best for me, I can keep track of what IΒ΄ve read and my old reviews.
    I used to have a perfect memory, but thatΒ΄s years ago *sulks*

  2. Hell yes. Especially character names. I’m terrible with people names, but names in books get forgotten in days after finishing.

  3. I get character names wrong all the time. I also sometimes have to stop and think if a character I am expecting to show up is even in that series. I do that all the time in PNR—I am like where is so and so? Then I am like whoops he is in that other series πŸ™‚

  4. My memory is pretty good, as a matter of fact, hubs would probably say it is too good. I can remember most things, but maybe not the details of it. For example, I can remember the overall storyline of many series, but maybe not what happened in each book. And even with PNR, which book belongs which characters.

    I also cannot remember book order, which got me into trouble with my current IAD audio. I’m out of order, no big deal, as I’ve read the entire series, but I wanted to listen in order too. Oh well, I skipped a few and will have to go back.

    • Haha see it’s the reverse for me. # 1’s memory is crazy good which is bad for me. LOL I rely on GoodReads to tell me in which order I should read a series. I wish I had your mad remembering skills!

  5. Some books stay with me and I can quote them others while I remember the context, I need a refresher to bring it all back up to the surface. Last year I read 307 books so you can imagine. Usually just starting the next book in the series brings back all the details, however sometimes when an author just dives in with no back history I am all what? wait? In those instances I pull out the previous book and read the last chapter. For the most part I can remember enough of a conversation, book to talk about it months, years later. My hubby can go either way, depending on the subject of said conversation. He does however have a built in compass, atlas and GPS in his brain.

    • A man with a sense of direction; who would have thought! πŸ˜‰ I have a have time keeping my 100+ books a year straight let alone 307, so I definitely sympathize.

  6. I read quite a lot of books, so unfortunately, yeah, the less memorable books are wiped from the brain. Book amnesia. It’s a serious problem haha.
    But I actually quite like rereading books, so if it’s been a while and I can’t remember much from the series, when I start, say, the third book in the series, I’ll usually reread the first two books (or at least the second book) to refresh my memory πŸ™‚

  7. Ah! I forget almost all the time. Right now, I’m reading a sequel to a read I enjoyed last year and whenever a new name is mentioned, I get confused and wonder if they were in the previous installment. It’s frustrating, but I’m really not one to re-read. When applicable, I would read my review (or notes, if I have some) of the previous installment as well as the last chapter to get my mind refreshed. Sometimes, though, I don’t realize who a particular character is until the ending of the sequel. 0.0 Great post, Carmel!

    • This is why I am a fan of the search function on eReaders; it’s a great tool for finding info in previous installments without having to flip through hundreds of pages.

  8. OMG! I forget everything, including books that I have already listened too…LOL That’s bad. The other day I went to listen to a sample of a book I wanted to buy after reading a review, and boom! it came back to me…I already listened to this..LOL
    Your guy sounds like mine..

    • Haha glad I’m not the only one with a perpetual sense of dΓ©jΓ  vu. The worst part is, is that sometimes it takes me until the mid-way point before I realize I’ve already read/watched something.

  9. Oh yes, I forget all the time! Like you though Carmel, I’m more situational in terms of memory, and just need an event or character to trigger something and then the whole story usually comes flooding back. Or enough of it that I can wade into a sequel without feeling completely lost:) Reading the last chapter of the previous book is key for me in my most forgetful moments!

  10. I would love to say I don’t ever forget but sadly I do, more often than not if there has been a year wait or longer in between books. Usually I start to remember most of what I forgot when I start the new book but not always.

  11. YES! I can never do the “my favorite___” lists because I can’t remember unless I am looking at the name or book cover. At my age if new things want in my brain then something has to go first πŸ™‚

  12. Definitely with you on the situational memory. Generally, I have to do lists and calendars and charts to keep track of everything (until I get sick of it, let it lapse then realize how much I really do need it. Vicious circle and all.). Even if I’ve recently read a book, I need to refresh my memory of names and such before I can even think of writing a review. *sigh* Darned memory.

  13. I definitely do forget some things, but I think that the books that really touched me in some way will stay with me for a long time. I might need a keyword or a context to actually be completely into a story again, though πŸ™‚
    Good thing I have a good memory, too, because I do tend to read a lot. And there are classes to keep up with as well πŸ™‚

  14. YES! I very often forget the details of books if it has been a long time since I’ve read it. That’s why I hate reading a series as it is released. I rarely do re-reads, cause who has time for that when new books are coming out all the time!! So I have to read a Recaptain post or a spoilery review to help me remember details before diving into the next book.

  15. I have actually on more then one occasion, read half of a book before realizing I had read it before-maybe 10 years before, so it’s not immediately on the surface of my brain. Before Amazon and Kindles, I got most of my books from the used bookstore(or library) and was constantly buying the same book twice.And all this before I got anywhere near as old as I am now! Now I remember very little.:)

  16. Ummm…yeah, my memory is not that great at all. Hasn’t been that great since I had my first daughter. LOL Although, books I read as a kid/teenager I can remember, but books I read yesterday I have a hard time recalling a certain scene or remembering a certain’s character name. Hence, the reason why I carry a notebook with me to jot down notes from the books I read now.
    Although, some of my favorite books I can remember bits and pieces of my favorite scenes, but other than that, that’s it.
    My husband doesn’t have a great a memory either. He’s older than I am, so I don’t bother him when it comes to remembering something. LOL

    • Sure, blame it on the kids! πŸ˜‰ j/k I take notes when I read too, otherwise I come to write my review and I’m like euuuuh, what was that book about again??

  17. OK, my first comment didn’t post so I’m trying this again! This just happened to me, I started reading the second book in the Kit Colbana series and had no idea what was going on in the first few pages because it’s been forever since I read book one. I went back and read my review and the synopsis and it all came back to me! There are just too many books in my head to remember all the little details πŸ™‚

    • Sorry to hear that WP is playing tricks on you. I hate have to re-type comments. That’s funny that you have a recent example of this whole book amnesia thing.

    • This is why advanced digital copies are both a good thing, and a bad thing. They expire after x-number of days, so there’s no re-reading the last chapters, and I can’t justify buying a copy JUST for that.

  18. I have selective memory loss LOL! I usually do pretty good when it comes to remembering which books I’ve read…unless I read it quite a while ago then usually just reading the blurb makes me remember that oh yeah I read that one. (But thank goodness for Goodreads for those times when one slips by me!). It’s everyday stuff that I can’t remember…what I’m supposed to pick up from the store or things to do at work (my desk breeds sticky note reminders…and sometimes my phone does too LOL)

    • I completely forgot that I read Brigg’s Moon Called years ago (I’m talking like 2006 when it came out); I re-read it last year and was like euuhh… oops.

  19. I have a good memory, but I admit when it has been a year or so between reads considering I read two hundred books a year, I am a bit shaky on all the details. Usually, though my memory comes back when I start reading the refreshers, I do struggle with books that don’t have hardly any refresher.

  20. You’ve pretty much described my own process! I hardly reread either so I mostly rely on situational memory as well (though if it’s a buzzworthy book with a recap or a wiki online, I will maybe check it out before I tackle the next book or if it’s been a while). In general, I think my memory is pretty good for books I love, I tend to remember the fine details of my favorite reads.

  21. ALL the time! That’s why half of the books I read are re-reads. But I don’t mind b/c the books I bother to re-read are the books I like, so the rest of them can stay forgotten. All I need to know is that I didn’t really like them and why, and I seem to be able to manage that πŸ˜‰

  22. Forget what? Did I forget to remember something? Yes, the bane of my existence. LOL

    Usually I can struggle with a book in a series I’ve read and then something will pop out at me and then I remember. I just hate that beginning when I’m struggling to remember. Usually happens when there is a significant amount of time between books.

  23. You and I are the same! I don’t reread and you have to jog my memory about a book for me to remember details. Sometimes I don’t even remember at all! Worst case scenario, I read a book and after I’m done, went to goodreads only to see that I’ve already read it YEARS before. It can get that bad.

  24. I think I’m in the minority, but I have a pretty good memory when it comes to books. I’m not very good with specifics, but most of the time I can remember my general sense of a certain book (was it a “meh” read, a great read, a horrible read, etc). Thanks so much for sharing Carmel, and, as always, GREAT discussion post! πŸ˜€

  25. I forget ALL THE TIME. I sometimes confuse the names and what happened in book 1 vs book 2. Usually it comes back to me just by reading the story, but other times I rely on Recaptains (a blog where they recap what happened in other books in the series).

  26. I forget all the time and really rely on authors to trigger my memory with the next book in the series. I also forget authors names under pressure. For example, I made an impromptu stop at the library the other day and couldn’t think of a single author I wanted to read without looking them up on my smartphone Goodreads app.

  27. Christy

    I forget, that’s why I take notes now. I do the same thing with reading the last page or two of a book, and a lot will come flooding back with just that little refresher. Names are worst for me, though. Not just in books, but in real life too.

  28. I have a very good memory when it comes to books. I notice that 3 stars books tend to fad a bit because they are just average to me and there is nothing special to remember. But I can usually read the first couple paragraphs and remember most of the book. That’s why I can wait a month after reading a book and still write a review with no problems.

    • A month between reviews? I do that sometimes, but I try hard not to because it usually takes me double the time which is not very efficient. Time that’s better spent reading IMO. πŸ™‚

  29. Ooh yes! My memory is the worst when it comes to the books I read, I read so many that they do tend to overlap & run into one another. I find that once I start on a sequel I tend to pick it all up again but an old review or Goodreads are great for refreshing my memory.

    The only exception is when it is a book, author or series I absolutely love and have been anxious to read without a huge wait in between books.

  30. I can’t remember every single detail, but books that I really liked, I can remember the basic plot, especially if I’ve been waiting for the next book to come out. Having the author recap a bit like you mentioned really helps though.
    If I didn’t like the book or it wan’t memorable, I will definitely forget. Luckily I can get a basic refresh reading my review and the synopsis of the book.

    • I appreciate authors that include good recaps in each new installment; not too long so that it doesn’t feel like a re-read, but long enough to make me go “oh yeah.”

  31. I read 250 books a year in average so of course I forget. πŸ™‚ But I remember books that stand out in some way, those stay with me for a very long time. In other words, there are maybe 20 books every year I remember very well, some I remember, but not the details, and many I remember only vaguely. Recaps come in handy if it’s a series I’ve forgotten, but they are often a burden for the narrative. I much prefer them in a prologue of sorts.

  32. Yep, I forget plenty, but like you I read a lot and I started very early. πŸ™‚ Definitely, situational memory works best, and also thank god for Goodreads πŸ™‚

  33. Pabkins  

    Yeah i totally will start to forget also its why for trilogies sometimes I will purposefully wait until the last is about to come out before reading the whole thing. Its also why I dont mind not continuing a series all the time if the first book satisfied me. Epic fantasy is hard because there is so freaking much to remember!

    • Heck yes, Fantasy is hard to keep straight. I recently listened to Daughter of the Blood and felt completely lost. Then again, I also felt like that when I read KMM’s first Fever book.

  34. I think it can be easy to forget when you read so many books. I tend to remember characters of stories better than anything else. I may not remember everything that happened in the book but I’ll probably remember the characters and who I liked best and if there was some steamy scene that finally happened between the two main characters.

  35. Faye M.  

    Definitely. Before I got introduced to Goodreads, I’d forget the titles I see in bookstores that caught my attention. When you’re looking forward to so many, some tend to stay in a very dark abysmal void in your brain, lol! πŸ™‚ Thank you Goodreads for making me remember, for taking track, and introducing me to even more books!

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

  36. You see my brain is a really mysterious thing. I forget constantly things I need to do or someone told me to do, but I do remember all the books I read. I have problems with names as I do forget them but plot stay in my mind. But gladly my reviews remind me of all the things I forget. Great post, Carmel πŸ™‚

  37. Tanya  

    I forget ALL THE TIME! I have to look back to GR alot to jumpstart my memory. I have a review that I’ve never finished and I’ve been trying to remember the details of what happened besides the fact that I liked it, to come up with a review that sounds at least a little like I know what I’m talking about. Especially now that I’ve moved on in the series. Back before my TBR got out of control, I used to reread at least the last couple of books, but that is just not possible anymore. You are not alone with the memory issue!