On being reminded why I keep this blog

I started this blog primarily because I hoped it would force me to write reviews of the books I was reading which, I crossed my fingers, would help me remember them for longer than a week. Happily the blog has turned out to have had some unforeseen and delightful side effects (i.e. you, dear subscribers, commenters and occasional passers-by) and I’ve found that writing the reviews, chore though it has sometimes been, has indeed been a great help. It’s not only their content that jogs my ailing memory when I re-read them but it seems that the very fact of writing the review makes the details of each reviewed book stick in my head more than the details of an un-reviewed book.

I have what feel like concrete evidence of this (though scientists would scoff, at best it’s anecdotal). Since the beginning of March I’ve read 15 books, 12 of which I’ve written reviews of and 3 of which I meant to write reviews of but never quite made it. Tonight I looked at that list of 3 books and realised I didn’t have enough sensible memories of any of them to write much more than “I liked it”.

Sigh.

I suppose it does me good to be reminded that I have to work at having a better recall of the books I read (I’m making a new April resolution to write a review within 2 days of finishing each book), and at least it’s only three books that have fallen through the cracks of my faulty memory.

For the record I liked all three books (in my database the first two are rated 3.5 and the last one a 3) but I can’t tell you much more than one was a Norwegian police procedural about hate crimes (and I can recall thinking I would have something to say on that particular issue in my review as I have real problems with the very notion), the next a psychological suspense tale of a woman who had been a party girl (of the kind I dislike rather a lot) until she unwittingly invited a monster into her life (a fate I would not wish even on drunken party girls) and the last a fun cosy set in and around a White House almost littered with deceased persons.

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6 Responses to On being reminded why I keep this blog

  1. Bernadette – One thing I like very much about your blog is your candor. I’ve read a lot of books where I simply didn’t remember enough about them to say much, so I know exactly what you mean. And plenty of book reviewers go on and on about a book when it’s obvious they don’t remember any more about the book (if they’ve read it that is) than you do of those three books. And that’s another thing I love about your blog: you publish thoughtful, well-informed and well-written reviews, and you respect readers enough not to publish a review unless you can write something informative. I just have to remember to hide my credit card from myself when I visit your blog. 😉

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  2. Sarah says:

    I know exactly what you mean Bernadette. I read Camilla Ceder’s Frozen Moment about 3 weeks ago and enjoyed it. But I left the book in my house in England and on my return to Greece thought, I’ll review the book when I have it back in front of me again. Big mistake. When I picked up the book 2 days ago I had to remind myself of the plot, characters etc. It seemed to merge with about 3 other scandi crime novels I had read recently.
    I’ve put the problem down to incipient middle age in my case. I generally have a very good memory but alas it is not what it once was…..

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  3. Maxine says:

    I have to review a book right away or I have forgotten it – ie before I start the next one. I tend to write a draft review straight away and then come back to it later on before publishing – the draft serves as a memory-prompt! I liked the first two of your illustrated titles (Fear Not and Into the Darkest Corner) but have not read the third one.
    The crime genre (as in any other genre) can be a bit repetitive, as Sarah points out, in that the same plot themes and twists come up over and over again – causing it all to merge into one.
    One of the reasons I can’t manage the audio book format is that I find it even harder to retain any info without the visual cue of the written format. For some reason, I also find it harder to retain an e-book than a print book. Maybe I am just too old for this lark (or my brain is!).

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  4. Barbara says:

    Blogging has the same effect on me and my reading life. It also keeps me writing at a time when I can’t concentrate enough to work on a book. Blogging brought me into a community of readers who have become my friends at a time when I’m isolated at home and for that above all I’m very grateful.

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  5. Kathy D. says:

    Blogging — reading and commenting — is so good for the readers, though. We get to see and think about an honest review, one that tells it like it is. Then, we know if we want to venture forth and try out the books — or not. Different opinions just tweak one’s mind and we are reminded of the riches that abound in the crime fiction genre where nearly all tastes and preferences can be met — and we learn that we are as passionate about what we read as about people and politics.
    It’s all interesting. The Internet really has opened up so much, including for readers.
    What would a day be like without one’s favorite cup of tea (or coffee) and without stopping at one’s regular websites and reading opinions and book reviews. It’s just so enriching.
    And so is the global fiction available — although it would be nicer if mysteries from Oz were more available over here than they are and if great books from various countries would be instantaneously translated, published and shipped over here.

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  6. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    Part of the reason I read so widely across genres is to avoid that blur. I rarely read books of the same genre back to back (unless they are a series) which helps keep them more distinct in my mind. It’s usually not unless a couple of months have elapsed that I need a refresher on the details of a book though, somehow they get lodged in my brain, probably where the shopping list contents should go 🙂

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