Monday, October 4, 2010

Book memory

Going through old posts to link them up to my Books Read lists, I'm completely shocked by how little I actually wrote about books. Only rarely in the first year and a half of this blog did I write an actual comprehensive review of a book, which seems bizarre now. So there was a lot less linking to be done than I expected.

I'm sorry I didn't write more. There are certain books I'd love to go back and read my first impressions of. I found I'd never written a whole post about The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, which is one of my favourites, and one I know I will feel differently about on any rereadings. In fact, I read a lot of wonderful books in 2008 that I never really wrote about.

I don't know what use it is being able to go back and reread my old thoughts on books, but it's always fascinating. Books have such an immediate, almost visceral effect on us, that it's impossible to remember how we felt about them without rereading them. Sometimes, rereading doesn't even work. Books are muscle memory--like all the things you can't remember or explain how to do until you do them. But unlike riding a bike or dancing a certain step, how we "do" books is affected by the passage of time. We change, and our "book muscles" change with us, so rereading a book doesn't always use the same muscles as it did the first time. I suppose that's why people envy new readers of good books, experiencing them for the first time.

All this to say: in future, I'm going to write a full post about every book I read that's worth remembering.

P.S.: Natalie Foy was also talking about book memory recently.

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