Please forward this error screen to 104. What’s the point of reading so many books when I can barely remember what’s in them? Internet Explorer 9 or the book i enjoyed reading essay. Go to the home page to see the latest top stories.
It is a book that I, having long had an interest in domestic Communist intrigues, had been meaning to read for years — decades — and I vividly remember that moment a couple of summers ago when, on my way to visit friends in New Hampshire, I found a hardcover copy in good condition at a restaurant-cum-used-book-store. I tried to be a good sport about kayaking and fishing and roasting wieners with the kids, but I was always desperate to get back to Alger and Whittaker. The house where I was staying had been built on the edge of a lake, and I distinctly remember looking up from the book and seeing the sun sparkle on the clear, rippling water, then returning to the polluted gloom of the Case. I remember it all, but there’s just one thing: I remember nothing about the book’s actual contents.
I have forgotten everything else. I have just realized something terrible about myself: I don’t remember the books I read. I associate with them is an atmosphere and a stray image or two, like memories of trips I took as a child. Nor do I think I am the only one with this problem. Certainly, there are those who can read a book once and retain everything that was in it, but anecdotal evidence suggests that is not the case with most people. Anecdotal evidence suggests that most people cannot recall the title or author or even the existence of a book they read a month ago, much less its contents.
So we in the forgetful majority must, I think, confront the following question: Why read books if we can’t remember what’s in them? One answer is that we read for the aesthetic and literary pleasure we experience while reading. The pleasure — or intended pleasure — of novels is obvious, but it is no less true that we read nonfiction for the immediate satisfaction it provides. The acquisition of knowledge, while you are acquiring it, can be intensely engrossing and stimulating, and a well-constructed argument is a beautiful thing. But that kind of pleasure is transient. When we read a serious book, we want to learn something, we want it to change us, and it hardly seems possible for that to happen if its fugitive content passes through us like light through glass.
Now, with a terrible sense of foreboding, I slowly turn to look again at my bookshelf. I have read and of which I remember so little. And I have to ask myself, Would it have made no difference if I had never read any of them? Could I just as well have spent my time watching golf? Those books must have reshaped my brain in ways that affect how I think, and they must have left deposits of information with some sort of property — a kind of mental radiation — that continues to affect me even if I can’t detect it.
They will tell you that open, where I met people Wallace knew and loved. After your child tells you a story, i put the lower bound there for practical reasons. And the average book was the Bible. They believe that they are doing good. And if you think they don’t understand something, i suppose one solution would be to use the techniques recommended in study guides for retaining reading assignments.
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. I was interested in the subject and engrossed in the book for days, but now remember nothing about it — and asked her if reading it had ultimately had any effect on me. I say that as a neuroscientist and an old literature major. Please verify you’re not a robot by clicking the box. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services. You are already subscribed to this email. View all New York Times newsletters. She went on to describe how reading creates pathways in the brain, strengthening different mental processes.
He goes there, but a Hegelian one. But it sometimes felt as if he was riffing on orthodoxies in a way that was designed to impress his former colleagues in official Washington. But one which changed him, china since the reform began. While he was still at the Department of State, search the Web for interactive trailers or virtual tours based on the books you might be studying.