It’s been a while since I’ve done a Weekend Reads post, but a recent article I read in The Atlantic made me want to return to the meme to discuss a topic relevant to us readers.
The article, “Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read: and the Movies and TV Shows We Watch” by Julie Beck, posits that our overconsumption of media and culture makes it harder for us to recall what we consume. I think most of us bloggers can relate to what Beck is saying here. Not many of us can remember the content of all the books we read in 2015, or even last year. Some of us forget the books we read shortly after completing them, which happened to me recently when I read Ursula K. Le Guin’s book of essays No Time to Spare.
According to the article, “people often shove more into their brains than they can possibly hold,” which is certainly true for me. I binge read sometimes, mostly read multiple books at once, and also read lots of articles and blog posts and text messages and status updates throughout the day, not to mention the reading I do at work. It’s as if I’m constantly reading. No wonder I forget some of these things throughout the year.
For me, books are usually easier to recall because I review on this blog all the books I read and my reviews are usually detailed, which helps to cement in my memory the book’s content. This works well if I write my review shortly after completing the book but if I wait, then I’ll forget most or all details of the book’s content, which is what happened with No Time to Spare. I procrastinated for about a month before sitting down to write my review.
But so much reading can lead to burnout — “a reading slump.” From what I’ve seen, book bloggers and vloggers often say they’re in a reading slump shortly after participating in a reading challenge where they force themselves to read or complete several books in a short time. Also, usually after such participating in such events, readers later (in a tag post or something) say they do not recall much of what they read.
I haven’t done any research to prove this; it’s just what I’ve observed as I interact with the online book community, but to me it supports the facts in Beck’s article. It also makes me realize that as much as we love to binge read and to have numerous books read in a year, doing so might not be good for us if our goal is to remember what we’ve read. Maybe these reading challenges and things, fun as they may be, aren’t that great if we later forget we read.
Anyway, let me know what you think: binge read or not.
I also encourage you all to read the article too.
What I’m currently reading:
Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
This is a historical fiction novel about the cursed bloodline of the Kintu Kidda clan in Uganda. It’s a thick book (with an awesome cover) and the story stretches from the 1750s to about 2004. It’s the cover that caught my attention and the mention of the curse that made me curious enough to borrow it from the library. The fact that Kintu is a character from a Ugandan creation myth makes me assume that the story will have some fantastical or magical realism elements in it, which makes me even more interested in it. I’m only 50 pages in, but I’m enjoying it so much that I already bought myself a copy. I needed to because I want to highlight things.
The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
I received a review e-copy of this fantasy novel through NetGalley. I learned about it when checking out Tough Travels posts to get book recommendations. It’s about a half-orc guy who wants to unseat his ruler. So far, I’m pretty meh about it and Kintu has distracted me so I haven’t yet returned to it. I’m up to where he rescues the elf girl. Hopefully it gets more interesting. I’ve heard the story is really good.
1001 Islands by K.T. Munson
Another fantasy novel. This one was sent to me by the author and I decided to read it because it sounds interesting. It’s a high seas adventure story and so far, I like it. I just get a little confused sometimes because it jumps to different characters on different islands. Again, I’m distracted by Kintu, so I took a break from this too.