Wednesday, 8 April 2015

How I (try) to remember what I read!

I read about 50 books a year. I can't possibly remember all of them, and certainly not the ones I read five years ago! I am terrible with details. I often remember how a book made me feel, but rare is the book that I manage to recall much of months after I've read it. It goes without saying that some of the books I read I don't need nor want to remember, but I still want to know what I read and how I felt about it. I don't want to go to the library only to come home with books I've already been through, and read them with what at first feels like déjà vu then turns into remembering who the killer was and angrily slamming the book shut. This happens to my mother all the time. So I told her to at least write down the titles she has read. She keeps a notebook by her bed now (where she reads the most), but I don't think she actually uses it. She should.

Keep a list of the titles you read

It doesn't have to be fancy at all, just write down the books in a notebook or a document of some kind. You can use tracking sites such as goodreads or librarything (and a number of others) or create your own spreadsheet. I use a combination of methods. I have a Goodreads account where I track what I read when I read it (and give somewhat arbitrary ratings, and on occasion, reviews), a spreadsheet I fill in after I've read something (with information I want to track and compile as the reading year progresses).

Write notes while you read

I like to highlight, underline and write notes when I read things I know I'll want to remember. Most e-book apps will let you highlight, bookmark and take notes. I write in my books too, but if I don't want to I write in a notebook (sometimes I rip out the pages and stuff them into the book I read, other times I can't or don't need to do that and I just keep them in the notebook. Spiral binding is useful for this. Then I can decide what to do when I'm done reading). I do not write long notes (unless I do), and I'm not a collector of quotes (though I'll underline particularly nice ones anyway) so often it is just a page of random thoughts or guesses on how the story progresses. I usually pair my notebook note with a page number so I know what I'm talking about if I need to reference it later.

Write down your thoughts afterwards

I know, you'd rather start the next book, hang out with some people you like, catch up on twitter or watch a TV-show/movie, but taking ten minutes to think about what you just read and then write it down will make it easier to remember later. I don't always do this, but when I don't I often regret it. I write my thoughts in a variety of places: in a notebook (I keep it next to where I usually read), in the review section of my Goodreads account, here on the blog (or on my Norwegian blog), and sometimes in some document or note-taking app on any of my digital devices (Mostly I use Evernote for this). This way I can read over the paragraph (or three) that I wrote and remember things. If I am reading a series I'll also write down things I'll want to keep in mind for later or questions I have. My personal notes are sometimes very confusing and I forgot what I meant, so I recommenced full sentences, but sometimes just keywords work for me, or lists of things I liked and didn't like. This is very much the same method I used when I read my curriculum in school, and it works quite well. If I can be bothered I read over it, and perhaps add new notes, about a week later too, but I'm mostly too lazy for that. If I borrowed the book I sometimes take a picture of the cover and keep it somewhere as a bonus visual reminder.

- Kristine.

No comments:

Post a Comment