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Old 07-31-2010, 01:05 PM   #1
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How well do you retain what you have just read?

I mentioned this in another forum and thought it might warrant a separate thread. I read fairly voraciously but usually do not retain what I have read very well (I read at what is probably a little above average in speed). While it was a nightmare when I was in school (I even almost got into a fight with a teacher over that) but it has its advanges now because I can go back to a book I read a while back (sometimes as little as a few months before) and enjoy it almost as much as iof it was completely new to me; sometimes more because I frequently pick up things I missed the first time through. One of my favorite books is a "children's" book called The Wind in the Willows. I reread it every two years or so.

So, what is everyone's else's reading retention capabilities?
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
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The ability to forget books is one of the delights I've found of advancing age. It allows one to repeatedly re-read one's favourite books time and time again. Especially beneficial with "whodunnit" type books.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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I find rereading books a joy. Some things you will remember and others you will have forgotten. Reading a book a second time often gives a different perspective and you might experience it different from the first time you read it.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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I find rereading books a joy. Some things you will remember and others you will have forgotten. Reading a book a second time often gives a different perspective and you might experience it different from the first time you read it.
"rereadability" is, for me, what makes a book a classic. There are authors and books I can read time and time again and still get something fresh and new from them. For me that includes books such as "The Lord of the Rings", and authors like Dickens, Austen, and Trollope.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:25 PM   #5
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I've got quite a good memory when it comes to academic stuff. I was always able to remember things that i've read in textbooks etc over a short period of time.

Novels are different. Of course in the first few weeks/months after I've read the book I can remember it quite well. If I remember it long term it seems to depend on how much I've enjoyed the book and the impression it left on me.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:26 PM   #6
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I retain very little nowadays, however, until I went ebook, I could and still do remember books. I think it is because back then, if I was bored and needed something to read in the middle of the night, I would take a book off the shelf and re-read it. So in a sense, I was committing it to memory.

Now I plow through books and never re-read. So I seem to be remembering less of what I read.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:28 PM   #7
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I retain nonfiction much better than fiction. I dunno why. My brain seems to consider fiction less important, so it automatically stows those memories somewhere harder to find, lol. Always been that way, even when I was a kid.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:42 PM   #8
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I can remember books well enough that re-reading them within a year or two really isn't much fun. But ....... after that the details start becoming dimmer and dimmer.

I do enjoy re-reading good books/authors and there are several (Tolkien and Twain, for example) that I re-read every 5-8 years. On my desktop I sort my books into three folders: "Read", "Unread", and "Re-Read". When I find a really good book I put it in the "Re-Read" folder when I finish it so that I know it's worth a second go-round in a few years.

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Old 07-31-2010, 02:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
The ability to forget books is one of the delights I've found of advancing age. It allows one to repeatedly re-read one's favourite books time and time again. Especially beneficial with "whodunnit" type books.
Oh puh-lease! Do not remind me of advancing age! I have CRS, Senioritis, Old Timer's Disease, Ancient Chinese Disease (dragon arse) and...pause...let me get back to you...
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:22 PM   #10
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Wait, what did you just say?
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:36 PM   #11
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I retain everything. Re-reading favourites, even mysteries, is still fun. But I have excellent recall and could describe with a fair amount of detail books I read years ago.

It's funny because I have no spatial sense at all, cannot remember landmarks or streets or directions. I cannot accurately describe how to get to my own home if you are trying to drive me there. I have often been teased for my horrible 'memory.' Yet my stepfather, who excels in such things, cannot accurately describe a movie he saw two days ago.

I do have a good memory---just not in an area that is terribly practical
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Old 07-31-2010, 03:41 PM   #12
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Not well. I thought the thread title was "How well do you retain what you have just said?"

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Old 07-31-2010, 04:06 PM   #13
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Actually, I have a wonderful memory; it's just short!
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Old 07-31-2010, 08:07 PM   #14
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I remember the highlights and whether I really loved a book, but a couple years later I can re-read it and enjoy it just as much as I did the first time!
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Old 07-31-2010, 09:23 PM   #15
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I'm looking forward to re-reading the entire Travis McGee series. I've forgotten virtually everything about it except loving the books.

After a certain point, you really don't need to buy any more books. Eventually, you'll only need one.
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