The other day, a friend and member in good standing of Solipsist Nation sent me a link to an article in The New Yorker, "The Curse of Reading and Forgetting" by Ian Crouch. In the article, Crouch laments the fact that, of the countless books he has read and enjoyed throughout his life, he can remember very little about the books themselves beyond the fact of having read them--and sometimes not even that. As I read, I couldn't help but recognize myself in Crouch's commentary--I, too, can scarcely remember a thing about the myriad books I've read--and I felt, frankly, relieved. I'm not alone! I'm not suffering from some strange, literary Alzheimer's Disease, destined to end up drooling in some nursing home, rereading Middlemarch and wondering why it sounds vaguely familiar! Or, at any rate, if I am falling prey to such a disease, I am not alone. Indeed, Crouch's article is not the first piece I've read about this apparent pandemic--call it Bibliamnesia. I've actually read two other articles, both from The New York Times book review, which touch on the same topic. (Funny how I can remember reading those.)
So if I--along with at least three professional writers--suffer from Bibliamnesia, it stands to reason that others do, as well. In fact, I suspect that much of the reading public suffers from this malady to a greater or lesser extent. What is to be done?
Crouch points out that one fairly effective remedy for the syndrome is simple re-reading: Don't remember what happens in The Pickwick Papers? Well, just go back and reread it. The only problem with this remedy is that it entails re-reading The Pickwick Papers. And, seriously, who has time for that? So I have a better suggestion: Bibliamnesia, the blog. In this space, I will post "Everything I remember about. . . " whatever book happens to be under discussion that day. These may be classic texts or just things that happen to be sitting on my bookshelves, mocking me with their having-been-readness. My hope is that civic-minded folks will, in the comments section, provide additional details from their own readings of the books--or at any rate may be inspired to read the books themselves and then tell me what I've forgotten. Indeed, I invite anyone to send me their own "Everything I remember about. . . " articles, which I will be happy to share. In this way, I feel I can do a small service to literature--to say nothing of improving everyone's ability to show off at dinner parties.
Anyway, I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.