Sep 15, 2009

Reading Retention

I was reading a brief article on the new Dan Brown book today and it made mention of Digitial Fortress and Deception Point; Dan Brown's two first books which made it big after the success of The Da Vinci Code. Coincidentally, those are the two books in which I figured out that Brown "Scooby Doo's" all of his book. The main antagonist always ends up being someone you thought was on your side. His books are fun but formulaic. It will be interesting to see if he grew as a writer since The Da Vinci Code hit it big.

But back on topic, I remember reading both Digitial Fortress and Deception Point after enjoying Brown's Robert Langdon adventures. But thinking back on it, I only remember that one of the books was about cryptography and the other involved some type of government scandal involving an NSA director. That's about it. No characters, very very few plot points, and suprising little setting. I probably read those books 5 years ago and have read approximately 100-150 novels since then but it still seems a little strange that I remember so little. What alarms me even more is trying to recall character names from books I read earlier this year (albeit over 10 books ago).

Sometimes I worry that I'm so eager to get to the next book that the book I'm currently reading doesn't really sink in. Maybe I don't read in quiet enough locations. Maybe I don't engage my mind fully enough to commit the stories to long term memory. Maybe there isn't anything wrong with me and it's just what happens with reading so many books. I also tend to get very caught up in things like this. If I read a line where a character has a injury that I don't remember them getting, I have to go find the line that I missed and make sure everything fits together. Nothing bugs me more than internal inconsistencies. It's also one of the reasons I don't like reading series until I can read them all together. Otherwise the little details I forget will drive me crazy. I guess it's something I will have to get used to as I'm sure my life will only become more hectic as time goes on.

But think back to that book you read a few months ago. Last year. When you were a teenager. How much do you remember? Am I out of the ordinary?

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