Some Books Just Aren’t All That Memorable – Let’s Discuss

February 10, 2016 Let's Discuss 65

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re reading a book – and you’re really enjoying it. It’s going along swimmingly, and you get to the end and feel … satisfied. Maybe not completely blown away, but certainly happy with the outcome. So, you go to sleep (or go on with your day, but this tends to happen to me more often when I finish a book at night … maybe I’m too sleepy?)

The next morning, you wake up and think, “Oh, I need to finish that book!” You go to pick it up, and then slowly, as if you’re in some sort of haze, think, “Wait a minute …” (Several moments go by as you try to slog through your memories of the night before.) “Did I already finish this? How did it end?”

You then rack your brain for a few minutes until the details of the ending come into your mind. You remember you liked it, but everything else is somewhat hard to come up with.

Is this just me?

I-Dont-Want-To-Forget

Seriously, how could I forget a book I just read? I mean, completely forget that I had even finished it? Either my brain is truly turning into swiss cheese in my old age (which is certainly possible) or some books just aren’t all that memorable.

Some books stand out in your mind for days, weeks, months, even years after you’ve read them. You may not remember all of the exact details of the book, but you remember that it was phenomenal (or, sometimes, horrendous). You remember the feelings you had while reading it, or the big reveal, or the romance that had you swooning, or the way it made you smile, or the character that you connected to so incredibly well, or the fact that it had you sobbing, or … you get the idea.

Feelings

And then some books are great while you read them, but they just sort of fade away …

You’re not left with any real residual feelings or even strong impressions about the book. Does this mean they’re not good books? Not really. I mean, you still enjoy them while you’re reading them, so they’re worthwhile. But they don’t make an impact like certain other books do. I suppose this is just a fact of reading – especially when you read a lot of books. They can’t all stand out in your mind, right? (At least not mine – my brain just doesn’t hold that much!)

Still, I’d like to remember the details of a book for at least a day. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, right?

 

Am I the only person this happens to? Have you ever forgotten the details of a book almost as soon as you’ve finished it? What makes a book truly memorable?
Do you think books that aren’t memorable are still worthwhile? I want to know!

 

2016-Discussion-Challenge

This book has been linked up to the 2016 Discussion Challenge.

65 Responses to “Some Books Just Aren’t All That Memorable – Let’s Discuss”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Well, I might be an odd duck here but I have a pretty great memory, so I don’t tend to forget details with books – especially not overnight – even if they kind of sucked, which is unfortunate. That being said: there are definitely some books that end up blurring together and nothing really sticks out after awhile. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the book, it’s just that it wasn’t especially….special. Or memorable. I guess that’s what separates the ‘ok’ books from the AMAZING books! Another great discussion topic^^

  2. S. J. Pajonas

    Okay, so this only happens for me with romance books that don’t have a strong alternate subplot. Like if there’s not a strong mystery or action adventure or disease or death etc., I just don’t remember that two people resisted falling in love and then they did, happily ever after. Now, even abuse subplots don’t help me because they are too prevalent. So, yeah, I need a strong subplot to remember a book.

  3. JinkiesBooks

    I can remember details for quite some time, except the endings of books. I’m horrible at it! And short stories? I can read it and the next day not be able to give a good summary. Everyone keeps saying “Then it must not have been good!” And I’m just respond, no my memory is horrible or I read it too long ago. It usually sucks, but then in a year or two you can reread it like you never have read it in the first place (but then I remember things again). Okay I’ll stop rambling now, loved the post, glad I’m not alone.

  4. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten a book as soon as I finished it, but yes, some books are definitely just forgettable. A few days or weeks or months later, I just won’t think about them anymore unless I happen to see the book, and then I’ll just vaguely remember what the story was about but probably not any details, even if I enjoyed it while reading it. It was actually worse when I was younger—I could literally forget that I even read a book period. I’d see it on my bookshelf and have not even the remotest clue what it was even about. This tends to happen to me with contemporary now though since my usual genre is fantasy/sci-fi, and contemporary just doesn’t tend to stand out to me. Then again, the books that I still can’t stop thinking about months or years later are in my head because of the characters!

  5. jazmen

    I’ve never actually picked up the same book twice but I’ve forgotten tons of books. I’ll be like I think I read this, have I? And then I just put it down and move on. I think some books just don’t leave that kind of impression, ya know.

  6. ShootingStarsMag

    I get what you mean. I tend to remember the books I read for a little bit, but there are definitely stories that leave my mind much quicker than others. I think it’s hard when you read so much; some books just need to be VERY GOOD or VERY BAD to really stand out, it seems.

  7. Julie S.

    Totally with you there. Sometimes I just know I liked the book, but dangit can’t remember a single detail! It’s quite a bit frustrating.

  8. Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit

    Yes. Happens all the time. I forget all the “just okay” ones and my brain only saves the “really good” and “amazing” ones. I’ve actually gone through my own reviews to find out what happened and what I thought of a book before…sometimes I even forget if I’ve read them.

    Don’t get me wrong. They were good reads at the time. But wow, I’m amazed at my ability to give something a 4-star review and then not remember it. I think I need to start downplaying my ratings? This is actually a pretty good case for changing your ratings later. Another issue. Sigh.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, I’ve thought about this before. When there’s a book that you rated pretty high, but then you can’t even remember it at all later – it makes you feel like maybe it didn’t deserve that rating. But a lot of times I’ll read my review and remember why I loved it. (The times that I don’t are harder … You’re right. Sigh.)

  9. Laura

    This happens to me all the time! There have been so many books I have read that I have quite enjoyed whilst reading them, but within a couple of weeks would find it hard to say what happened in it. For me I think a lot of it is the characters. In the none memorable books I’ll often like the characters but can’t really connect with them, whilst more memorable books stick with me more because I could relate on a more personal level with the characters and their feelings.

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Totally agree with you. In fact, before I started writing this post, I was writing one about how characters are what make or break a book for me, but then ended up switching to this one instead. That character post is definitely coming, though…

  10. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    This happens to me when I rate books 3 or below… Except for the very good ones or the DNF ones (I always remember why I DNF them in the first place), I forget the details of the book. Mostly, it’s the historical romance books that I tend to forget because the tropes are similar 😄

    I’ve actually read a few books that was sooooo familiar to me until I remembered that I read the book already!

  11. Pamela

    For me, only the books that leave a lasting impression on me get the five full stars, even though there are others I do enjoy while reading, but then, you can carry on living like a normal human being.

    I think you bring up an interesting point. It’s not enough for a book to make sense and for a reader to be able to see it through the end without a headache. The characters, the plot, or any other element MUST leave an impression or it’ll fade to oblivion.

  12. Kaja

    Oh, definitely. This is a great topic. I have terrible book amnesia and especially in genres like romance, where the basic premise is always the same, books sometimes melt together into one unrecognizable mess.
    I sometimes feel like it’s the same with people – some people are just instantly memorable and you click with them and remember their names but with others (who might be great people, just not your type!) you struggle to remember even from where you know them.
    I think it’s not a huge deal, I mean, our memory just isn’t made to hold ALL of the information and our brains probably decide we don’t need to remember all the plot points and character names. 🙂

  13. Terri M., the Director

    I suck at remembering books further down the road. I read The Book Thief a few years ago, I picked it up again 2 weeks ago because Markus is coming to my town and I need to prep. 🙂 I know I liked the book, I rated it on GoodReads, but beyond it being set during WWII, Death narrating the story and the main character stealing books, I don’t recall much. Just that I liked it. I got to a beautiful chapter today and wanted to hug that chapter. I don’t remember reading it last time, but I loved it and it made me miss my father. It’s like I’m reading the book again for the first time.

  14. Nereyda

    This has been happening to me a lot lately with YA books… it sucks. I’ve taken a break and I’m reading contemporary romance and chick-lit books to get me out of my funk.
    Reviewing books like this is the worst! That’s when mini reviews come in handy 🙂

  15. Sara@LibraryHuntress

    Ha, glad this doesn’t just happen to me :p I’ve noticed it happens more with romance stories, which tend to be lighter/fluff books that kind of all blend together (especially historical romance).

  16. Alexa @ Words Off the Page

    Ugh I hate it when I forget details about a book right after I finish it–especially if I’m trying to write a review for it. This sucks since I don’t like writing notes during a reading either because it takes me out of the book :v

    I think that a book that isn’t super memorable to you is still a good book if you liked it. If you remember the key details and themes, then I think the book did some of its job. I know books that I didn’t find super amazing memorable, but I thought it was a good read or an important one.

  17. Jen

    I love this post, because this has happened to me a few times in the last year! You know what I like to call this lovely occurrence? “Mommy Brain”. My memory was stellar before I had children. Afterwards, hmmm it’s a crap-shoot lol. Especially the day after one of them is sick and I’ve been up all night long and am working on 1-3 hours of sleep. On days like that then memory be gone. But as long as I remember all of the details from my favorite books, that’s all I ask for. Thank you for putting a huge smile on my face because of this post!

  18. Nick

    Sadly, this happens to me more often than not. I’ll enjoy the book while I’m reading but a week or so later, I’ve forgotten major details/character names, which means the book wasn’t memorable for me. I have only few books that I clearly know the details of without re-reading and some of those are books I absolutely love and some that I vehemently disliked. It’s interesting how all the negatives or weird plot devices tend to stay with me longer. I would honestly prefer if it were the opposite of course, but I guess that’s not how our brains work.
    Great post, Nicole!

  19. Mara @ Mara Was Here

    I don’t think that has eve happened to me before. I mean, I do forget about books I’ve read the past months or so, maybe, but not the ones I just finished. xD I don’t know anyone else with the same predicament as yours, but it is quite interesting.

    I do agree that some books are just a bit “Meh” for me (even when they deserved allcaps rants while I was reading them). They may be good, but they’re not that good to the point that I’ll scream at every person I meet and *force* them to read the book. xD Even so, if the book was still really nice, then it’s definitely worthwhile. Just because I don’t feel such a big impact after finishing it doesn’t mean it isn’t. 🙂

  20. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    Great discussion!
    I think that for me, most books these days just pass by me really easily. Unless I reread them again, they’re not memorable for me?? Because the ones I reread are usually the ones that I like the best/read a time which was dificult to me, and hence mean something to me and are memorable.
    It really depends on the book sometimes though – if a book was just average, I won’t remember anything about it the next day, and I’ll mix it up with other books. But if the book was REALLY bad or good, I’ll definitely remember it 🙂
    Interesting post, Nicole! 🙂

  21. Jessica

    I have done this before! I went to review a book a few weeks ago and I was like ive got nothing. I know I loved it but for the life of me I couldn’t remember anything that happened. Which is so much fun. IT WAS CRAZY! I also did it with another book that I could remember everything that happened up until the end that it was like a black hole. And I was going to be chatting with the author in like 10 minutes so I speed read through the ending remembered everything and showed up on camera crying. (it was that kind of ending) For reviews I think your mind gets so used to reading in high volume that it starts to just clean the slate so you are ready for the next book lol.

  22. Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books

    This has happened to me before for sure. Maybe I don’t forget a book immediately, but I read so many books so quickly that I can forget a lot of details just a week or so later. That’s why I try to take a few notes while I’m reading a book so that I can remember them for my reviews. There have been times where I need to look at other reviews when I go to write mine just because I forgot someone’s name and I am hoping it will be mentioned! So crazy. Recently, there was this one book on my Goodreads shelf that was marked as read as of two years ago. I gave it three stars, but seeing it on my Kindle, I could not remember reading it AT ALL!! I ended up reading that book again and I swear that I did not remember a single page. But at the end, I gave it the same three stars I had apparently given it two years ago. Weird, huh??

  23. TJ @ MyBookStrings

    I once read almost an entire book before realizing that I knew it already. The first reading was obviously unmemorable, and I can’t say that I enjoyed it any better the second time around. So no more plots with courtesans in Italy for me. 🙂 I do think books can be worth reading even if they are not memorable. Maybe the mood was just right for a book at a certain point, even if you wonder later why you ever read it.

  24. Bokertalk

    I do t think this has ever happened to me. I have forgotten some books I read in the past, usually crime fiction but never forgotten a book from less than 24 hours previously

  25. JennRenee

    it happens to me. Not as quick as a day but a week or so later and I don’t remember much about the book. I am horrible about doing reviews right away and this is when I notice it happens I got to write the review and i can’t recall the details. Then there are the books I haven’t read in years but could tell you the order of the scenes so yes some are just more memorable but that does mean the not so memorable ones weren’t. you still enjoyed it. I look at this way some memories you have you remember every detail. but there are others that you remember you had fun and all but can’t remember much details. same thing i think.

  26. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I have a better memory for books than for most other things in life. However, there have been a few times where I put off writing a review, and then it took me a while to remember why I liked the book. I knew that I liked it, but I had no idea why. I also have to look up characters’ names when I write reviews. I can’t remember characters’ names or real people’s names.

  27. Annette

    Yes, this definitely happens to me! And sometimes it’s a book I really liked. I’m not sure what makes a book memorable — probably has something to do with being unique. I’m really bad about the endings especially. I sometimes can remember lots about what happened in the book, but the exciting ending — ???? Isn’t that weird? This is the main reason I started blogging, I thought if I wrote about the book I’d be more likely to remember it. But I never reveal the endings, so I guess that’s why I can’t remember. Interesting.

  28. Lois @ My Midnight Musing

    This has happened to me a few times. While I tend to remember the main events of the book, I often find that it’s actually the character names that I don’t remember and it frustrates the hell out of me haha. I feel like writing reviews is not only fun but it’s also a great way for me to go back and just remind myself of why I liked the book. Unfortunately for the books I’ve not written a review for my mind has most likely gone blank haha.

  29. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    Bwahahah I LOVE this! Because I feel like this happens to me ALL the time, and I am pretty sure that there are two factors at play here:
    1. Mom brain. It’s a thing, and it DOES turn your brain into swiss cheese. Like, I think there have been studies.
    2. Some books are seriously just not very memorable. I have had that happen- where I have actually had to reread the last couple chapters just to remember what happened so I could write a review! And like you said, it doesn’t mean the book is BAD, necessarily, but it also isn’t going to get a 5 star from me either! Because for a book to be that GOOD, it needs to be memorable- but if it is a 1 star, that is also pretty memorable 😉 These books you speak of fit solidly in the 3-3.5 star “I don’t have any feelings about this book” zone 😉

  30. Cyn @ Book Munchies

    Oh yes, this totally happens to me! At the moment it’s very enjoyable, but if it’s similar to other books, or if I don’t fully connect with characters, it’s gone from my brain. I find this happens a lot with some of the romance novels I read. Also, it can be really problematic if I need to review the book but procrastinate, haha.

    Great discussion!

  31. Silvara

    So behind on other people’s discussions this week-ish! *laughs*

    I have that problem with some books too! Usually it’s ones that I could tell were going to be 3 Stars or less for me though. Ones that I didn’t click with well, but weren’t bad enough for me to remember and rant about. (It seems like books I love and books I hate, I can remember for YEARS though! Dad picked up a book by an author in a used bookstore yesterday, and was all “Hey don’t you like this author?” And I was like, “No!!! Don’t want!” *lol*)

    Sometimes I have book-forgetfulness so bad, I have to go online and read other reviews, or the ‘spoiler’ sites that tell you the plot and how the book ended, just to jog my memory enough to review the book. This always seems to happen to me with ebooks, since they aren’t as easy to flip through as physical books.

    On the plus side, if it’s that forgettable, then at least it isn’t taking up room in my brain. On the minus side, I have to plan so I finish the book at home at a time when I have time to immediately review it. Otherwise I then have to go hunt up what it was about online. *laughs* (I admit, there’s been a few times when the book wasn’t a copy for review, that I just… didn’t bother to review it because I couldn’t remember enough of it, and didn’t want to be bothered reading other reviews and synopsis sites… *patented wide-eyed innocent expression*)

  32. Charlie @ Girl of 1000 Wonders

    I’ve had books I have finished and a few days later (a week at most) I sit down to write the review and I am totally blank on everything. Like, can’t even remember a character’s name! That’s bad. There are just some books that are not memorable.

  33. Eva @ All Books Considered

    I’ve definitely experienced this phenomenon since book blogging and reading so much! I think it just takes a lot more for a book to stand out when you are reading 100 or 200 books a year — a book can be good but it may not be so unique that you think about it after you’ve read it. It is so odd to me how so many books I read prior to blogging stick out to me so much more than the books I’ve read since!!

    Great discussion post!!

  1. 25 Things This Week – Girlxoxo.com

    […] Some Books Just Aren’t All That Memorable – Ain’t that the truth! I’d love to read ONLY spectacular books, but that’s never going to happen. […]

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