When I saw the subject for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) I had to chuckle, and then sigh in relief. Thank goodness I’m not the only voracious reader who struggles to remember books I read years ago and rated highly! Often I remember how a book made me feel and whether or not I liked it, but that’s it. I know I could fill multiple TTT’s with this category, so I’m just going to go through my Goodreads files and select a few:
Criminals by Margot Livesey. Read in 2007. Four Stars. Goodreads review only compares her to Ruth Rendell, a literary psychological thriller.
Something Rising by Haven Kimmel. Read in 2007. Five Stars. My review only mentions a “moving story and sympathetic lead character.”
Sarah Canary by Karen Joy Fowler. Read in 2008. Four stars. I remember something weird happened, a historical fiction tale with a sci-fi angle.
John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead. Read in 2002, maybe? Pre-Goodreads. Four stars. I remember loving this. I know there’s a journalist covering a festival in honor of the mythic figure of John Henry. I know we get at least some narrative from John Henry’s POV. That’s all I got. This is one I’d like to reread.
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively. 2003, maybe, not sure. Four stars. Pre-Goodreads. I’ve read a few more Lively novels since then and I definitely enjoy her, but this one is a big old blank for me.
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti. Read in 2009. Four stars. I remember it was a historical fiction adventure, a page-turner, and I really liked it. That’s it!
The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier. Read – who knows? 2004? Four stars. I remember a dual narrative, one present-day and one historical, set in France. I read a lot of Chevalier and they kind of blend together in my mind.
Songs Without Words by Ann Packer. Read in 2007. Five Stars. I even marked this as a “favorite!” I remember it was about a friendship. Good grief.
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman. Read in 2003. Four stars. I was on a huge Lipman kick that year. (I remember that because I was reading her the summer I went through a bad breakup.) Anyway, I adored her books, so funny and smart, and I do intend to reread her novels someday. She’s lighter but so witty, which is a tough balancing act.
Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler. Read in 2009. Four stars. She’s one of my favorite authors, but I confess her plot lines tend to blur in my mind a bit.
What struck me as I out together this list was: 1) how white it was and 2) how much of an impact this blog has made on my book memory. I believe that the act of writing a review, even a mini-review, makes a book more memorable. Also, I think it’s okay that we passionate readers forget books. Unless you have a photographic memory or something, you only have so much space in the brain for books. You’ve got to remember song lyrics and movie plotlines, that U2 concert in 2005 and your high school class trip to New York City, your kid’s dentist appointment and where you put your phone and keys, right? Sometimes it’s okay to enjoy something and let it go. I think it’s still there somewhere inside of you, if it was a book that made you feel something. And if you want to badly enough, you can always reread it. 🙂
So what makes a book memorable for you? Do you think blogging (or Goodreads) helps you remember a book better? Have you read any of the books on my list and do you remember them better than I do?