• On Retention

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 5 comments

    Today I’m looking for some tips and tricks to help me out with my reading retention. Because I’m one of those people who within days of finishing a book will forget nearly everything I read. Scenes, characters. Entire plots. “Did you like the book?” someone will ask me. “I think so,” I’ll say. Well, what was it about? “I don’t know!”

    It helps when I take notes inside the book, and flip back through them when I’m done. Of course, some people don’t like to write in their books. I need a new tack.

    What are some of your strategies for retention?


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    Well, when I have the time, I’ll write a review for my blog or on Goodreads, which helps. Most of the time I just keep an MS Word doc tracking everything I’ve read, which at least helps me remember THAT I’ve read them. Interested to hear what others have to say.

    Laura Roberts

    Interesting. I like to take notes, either in the book or in a notebook. I will underline passages (in pencil) that strike me as particularly insightful or useful (especially for reviewing purposes). I will also write down character names when they are first introduced, along with a few descriptive words to jog my memory. Increasingly, as I read on my Kindle or iPad, it’s becoming important to take these kinds of notes, because just putting a bookmark on a page doesn’t necessarily help me remember WHY I bookmarked it.

    Laura Roberts

    Wow, Leah, you have a Word .doc tracking everything you’ve read? Like… EVER? Or just by year?


    Year to year, for the past three years. I kind of compete with myself, too, trying to beat last year’s number. Wish I’d started much earlier! I like your technique. I keep track of quotes, too, and peruse the document from time to time when I want to remember what writing can be.

    David Duhr

    I started doing the same, Leah, a couple years back. Definitely makes it easier to compile year-end lists. Someone would ask me to write a post about the best books I’d read in 2010, 2011, etc., and I’d have to wrack my brain just to remember *any* titles, much less the best ones. So the running list helps in that way. Still, I can look at the titles of all of those books and still not really remember a goddamn thing about them. Perhaps, rather than just title-author, I should include on that list a few quick lines of plot… Read more »

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