By September 24, 2010 3 Comments Read More →

Do you remember your discussion books more than other books?

While reading the NYT article The Plot Escapes Me by James Collins, I was in total agreement – most of the time, I can barely remember what I’ve read.  Either the characters escape me, or I can’t remember key plot details.  Collins says, “Anecdotal evidence suggests that most people cannot recall the title or author or even the existence of a book they read a month ago, much less its contents.”

I’m wondering though, if people remember the books they’ve read for book discussion more than any other book they are reading.  Does the act of talking about a book, or looking at questions about a book, make you more likely to retain the information?  I do know that when doing a book for the second or third time (for different groups), I don’t re-read the book – usually just looking at some discussion questions is enough for me.

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About the Author:

Rebecca Vnuk is the editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach at Booklist. She is also the author of 3 reader’s-advisory nonfiction books: Read On…Women’s Fiction (2009), Women’s Fiction: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (2014), and Women’s Fiction Authors: A Research Guide (2009). Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_RVnuk.

3 Comments on "Do you remember your discussion books more than other books?"

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  1. ricklibrarian@gmail.com' Rick Roche says:

    I think I remember more about the contents of books that I read for discussions for several reasons. 1. I may make some notes to refer to in discussion. 2. Others in the discussion repeat what I have already read. 3. In discussing I reconsider the books, sometimes changing my mind about them. 4. The book group tends to mention the books again in later discussions of other books.

  2. rebeccavnuk@gmail.com' Rebecca says:

    Excellent points, Rick!

  3. ckubala@columbiactlibrary.org' CarolK says:

    Though book discussions always give me new insight to the book I’ve just read, I don’t think they help me to remember the plot any better. I’m finding that writing/commenting about the the books I’ve read on a social networking sites like GoodReads helps to cement the title, author, characters, etc. more firmly in my mind. And I can always go back and review. Good writing, something quirky or different in the plot, strong characters overcoming the odds, narrative non-fiction with interesting facts; all these tend to stay in my memory.

    One other factor comes to mind. Frequently, when asked what I’ve recently read that I liked, my mind goes completely blank. Funny how it’s almost like taking a test for me. I immediately panic and can’t think. So, I need to take a couple of deep breaths, relax and remember that it’s an opportunity to share my love of reading and a good story.

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