Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Need You To Tell Me I'm Not Losing My Mind

Book lover. Always have been. Read voraciously as a child, voraciously as a younger adult, less voraciously after the kids were born, more voraciously as more of my time frees up.

Although, these days, there's a lot more audiobook listening than there is visual, book-or-Nook-in-hand reading. That's irrelevant, mostly, to this plea for reassurance.

Which is about the following:

The last two books I've listened to were books I would have told you--SWORN to you--I'd read before. They're books on my bookshelf. One of them is on my list of my all-time-favorite books. But here's the thing: They aren't even the vaguest, slightest bit familiar to me.

The first book, my supposed all-time favorite? Great Expectations. Twenty-some enthralling hours of audiobook goodness. And while I remembered Miss Havisham, that could have been from popular culture. None of the rest of the story was even slightly familiar.

The second? The Spectator Bird. Stegner is just incredible. I've been in love with his work since my friend Roseann introduced me to him, literally decades (gulp) ago now. Again, it's on my bookshelf. But this time, it's even worse: Not a single thing about this plot is familiar, except for the protagonist's name. I thought it was a different Stegner book, it seems, though I'm not sure which different book I thought it was.

This isn't good. This is scary. I think maybe I'm losing my mind. Or my memory. I mean, I know I've read too many books in my life to remember their specifics. I often can't even describe the main plot line of even my all-time favorites without picking them up and flipping through them to refresh my memory. But I can always remember how they made me feel, and rereading them reinforces that feeling, brings it all flooding back as I go along. So NOTHING? At ALL? That's not good. It's bad, in fact. It's scaring me. I'm very, very scared.

Please tell me I'm not losing my mind (or, more to the point, my memory). I won't believe you, but I need to hear it anyway.


Chara said...

You're not losing your mind. Or, if you are, we can get together and one-up each other on mind loss. I'll bring the snacks.

Anonymous said...

I think the key here is the length of time since you read the books originally. If you re-read something you have read more recently, it is familiar, but eventually everything is forgotten if you don't revisit, especially when you read a lot.

See, this is why I have so much trouble getting rid of books--if I keep them long enough, it will be like reading a brand new book, except I know I liked it enough to at least keep it around, so it is pre-recommended! I enjoy reading books again after so many years that I have forgotten them.

LoriO said...

I am that way with books. I can read (or listen to a book) and know that I loved it or hated it, but not be able to tell you a thing about it after a certain amount of time.

autisticook said...

For me it's the complete difference between seeing words on a page and hearing them spoken out loud. I'm a visual thinker. I have trouble processing speech, both translating the pictures in my head to speech, and translating other people's speech to pictures. That's why audio books (and plays!) feel more like hearing a piece of music than reading! I can't really explain it, but the pictures that written words make, the actual shape of the words on the page, helps me picture a story entirely differently.

TC said...

That's interesting, Autisticook. So you're saying that you might not recognize a book you read if the next time you 'read' it it's an audiobook? That hadn't occurred to me; it might very well be part of the problem. Definite food for thought!