Saturday, February 24, 2007

Memory and books

As my other half is fond of pointing out, I don't have the best memory. I can remember general concepts and themes (for example, I know lots about ancient Roman government and how it worked), but I'm awful at remembering details (example, I couldn't tell you how or on what date Emperor Augustus died).

While unloading hundreds and hundreds of books from boxes during my recent (and STILL ongoing) move, it has dawned on me how little I remember from many of the books I've read. Again, I remember overall themes pretty well (ex., Bilbo goes on an adventure), but not the details (ex., how many dwarves were there in the Baggins party?).

And I've noticed that the novels about which I remember the most are novels that have been made into movies. I remember "The Three Musketeers" and "Man in the Iron Mask" quite well, but I can't for the life of me remember hardly anything about the book that comes between those two, "Twenty Years After." (Note for you Dumas purists before I get nasty e-mails: As most people aren't aware of it, I'm not mentioning the overall "Vicomte of Bragelonne" on purpose, just "Man in the Iron Mask" because most readers have at least heard of it.)

Now this movie-remembering thingie isn't always true. I remember many details of "Wizard and Glass," the fourth book (and my favorite) of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

But often it is true. I remember "Starship Troopers" as if I read it yesterday, but I can't remember hardly anything of "Stranger in a Strange Land."

I'm not sure if any of this is good, or bad, or even worth pointing out. But I found it of interest.

What does irk me however, is when I remember that I liked a book, but I can't remember WHY!

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