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Remembering books read long ago

  1. Apr 24, 2009 #1
    I don't remember anything from "slaughter house five" I read two years ago, except that it made an impression at the end, and that it was a quality work. On the other hand, I can't remember the title of one book I read eight years ago, but vividly remember what it was about, and can recall one character's name. I can almost put myself in that book, and run it in my head like a movie. Few books I read stand out like that; everything else is forgotten. How is your memory with regard to books?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 24, 2009 #2
    I tend to remember major characters and big events, but usually forget the book titles. I only remember books from grade school and from age 20 onwards. Stuff in between, mainly the teenage years, are a complete blank.
  4. Apr 24, 2009 #3
    Depends entirely on the book. Some books are character dependent, so we'll tend to remember the characters. Others are plot dependent, and the main characters are only their to provide a window to the book's world, so we'll tend to remember the story and the environment. Others are a combination of the two, so we tend to remember more. For example, I can remember almost everything from The Fountainhead, from bit characters, to names of the buildings. But, I can't remember any of the astronaut's names in Rendezvous with Rama, a book I really enjoyed, and that's because the story is about the spaceship, not the astronauts.
  5. Apr 24, 2009 #4
    All I can remember is that there was a wolf and some pigs.
  6. Apr 24, 2009 #5
    I enjoyed that book too. I can still visualize the outside and inside of the space ship. Quite a book by Sir Arthur C. Clarke.

    I have yet to read The Sentinel.
  7. Apr 24, 2009 #6
    All I remember about books is the texture of the writing and the atmosphere that texture creates. Specific plots and characters and events are much less important than the sense of being in a world different than my own, with its own sensory and emotional dynamics.
  8. Apr 24, 2009 #7
    Do you mean to say "Rama II"? It's a very good book. If I remember correctly, The Sentinel was a short story that was the basis for 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  9. Apr 24, 2009 #8
    I have read several books by Philip K Dick and unfortunately since several of them deal with very similar concepts or have very similar settings and characters I can not remember much about them except the books that particularly stand out such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Man in the Highcastle.

    Also there are books such as Slaughterhouse Five that are rather unconventional in the execution of the time line and story that can be difficult to remember muuch about since they jump around from one place and time to another with radical differences in situation and characters. Similarly I can not remember a whole lot about the Illuminatus or Schrodinger's Cat trilogies by Robert Anton Wilson.
  10. Apr 24, 2009 #9
    That's one of my top scifi books. Clark gives a grand a tour of an alien spacecraft, that's what I remember the most, but still couldn't tell you any dialogue or who the characters were.

    Interesting point. The story line in SL5 is indeed broken apart in time which can contribue more to confusion. But what's frustrating is I feel like I've never read it, even though I know it left an ever lasting impression.
  11. Apr 24, 2009 #10
    I don't read fiction, but I often find that specific phrasings can remain with me for a long time. For better or for worse I am adept at producing quotations during ordinary coversation. Once, in the second grade, our teacher asked us to give a definition of 'transportation.' I raised my hand and stated a definition that happened to be an identical phrase to the one that the teacher was looking at in her notebook, which we had not be assigned or exposed to in any way. Needless to say, she was startled, and looked around the room as if expecting to find an adult who was playing a trick on her.
  12. Apr 25, 2009 #11
    Are you saying you read her mind?
  13. Apr 25, 2009 #12
    You remember nothing? My memories of it are a bit vague. I remember only somewhat the scenes from the slughterhouse. I have the impression that these were only a very small part of the book and I am mixing it up somewhat with scenes from Heller's Closing Time which pay homage to the book and places Vonnegut in the scene for a cameo.
    I remember a space ship and a beautiful woman on it. I remember hiding from germans in the snow. And I remember a closing scene depicting the author himself sitting down with friends discussing the importance of writing the book. Oh and the mention of Kilgore Trout, though mainly because the name is a bit famous.

    You don't remember any of that?
  14. Apr 25, 2009 #13
    No I do not mean Rama II. I have not yet read that.

    I have had read 2001: A Space Odyssey. I thought that book was even more epic than the movie which in itself is amazing.

    I just have not yet read the book that gave seed to one of the most grandest Sci-Fi movies of all time.

    On my list to read so far from Arthur C. Clark is this:
    The Sentinel.
    Childhood's End

    I have heard that the sequal's to Rama are not very good.

    I am also a huge reader of Philosophy. I'm trying to find some time to read some Albert Camus.

    Do you guys have any recommendations for any novels?

    I would love to hear some.
  15. Apr 25, 2009 #14
    The Book Review Thread! :biggrin:

    I have only read The Stranger by Camus. It was pretty good.
  16. Apr 25, 2009 #15
    That sounds a bit like the book I read.It was scary.:eek:
  17. Apr 25, 2009 #16
    I don't remember any of that, except for some planet "trabaphora" or something.
  18. Apr 25, 2009 #17
    Wow... that's odd.
  19. Apr 25, 2009 #18
    No, I don't think that hypothesis is necessary since there is probably little variation in the phrasing of children's definitions of 'transportation.' They will all involve words like 'movement','location','people','things/objects.' In other words it was a coincedence, but it the odds of it happening were only non-vanishing because of the way that I tend to remember specific phrasings.
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