Reading More Without Living Less

Ways to Help Remember What You Read: Part 2

October 10, 2012

See Part 1 here, and the rest of the series here.

4. Discuss the book with others and read reviews. 

Discussing books with others can help you read more, and can also help you remember more. Being part of a book club or reading group, whether online or in real life, is a great way to do this. But you don’t even need an official group or a club.

“Discuss the book with others” can sound like a cheesy group learning method that you’d read in a college textbook. However, it’s really a great way to reinforce what you’re reading.

If you can’t find anyone to talk with about the book, just look on Amazon. Chances are, people are already arguing about it. You can chime in with your own review. It will help you to interact with others and share your viewpoint. As people read your review, they can vote on whether or not it was helpful to them, or they can leave kind (or not-so-kind) feedback. Amazon is not the only place to do this. Barnes and Noble, Christian bookstores, Audible, and other book retailers all offer a place to post your review, and some allow for further interaction like with Amazon (Did I mention Goodreads? :)).

5. Highlight and take notes.

As long as you own the book, any white space in the book is yours to write on. Talk back to the author, or start an argument with her in the white space at the end if the chapter. This is fun, plus it helps you remember the material.

Electronic reading tools like Kindle allow you to add notes, and even the Audible app (for listening to audiobooks) allows you to insert typed notes at certain points in the recording.

I also like to skim through my notes and highlights upon finishing a book.

6. Plan a set time to briefly look over some of the books you’ve read for the year. 

You could do this at the end of each week, every time you finish a book, or at the start or beginning of each month. It could as brief as just looking at your list or books you’ve read so far, or it could be as complex as looking at the table of contents for each book. Either way should help you recall elements and themes of your reading, and doing this frequently over the course of the year will help lodge them in your mind.

Do you have trouble recalling what you’ve read weeks and months (and years) later? What tips can you share that have helped you better remember what you’ve read?


You Might Also Like

  • Catherine @ A Spirited Mind October 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Along the same lines as highlighting and taking notes, when I read (usually library books) I keep a set of post it flags nearby. When I come across a quote I want to remember or a point I want to think about later, I put in a tab. Then after I’m done with the book, I type up notes from my flags as I take the flags out. This way, I interact with the pertinent ideas twice, which helps me to remember them. I save the notes in a folder on my computer for books, which has subfolders for genres and topics, so I can find the notes later if I want to reference them.

    • Keren October 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      Good idea! I used to use them in college and up until a few years ago, but had forgotten about them. I used to have books with quite the colorful array of tabs sticking out. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing. I think I’m going to start doing this.

  • Stuart October 12, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’ve used this before –

    • Keren October 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      Very cool–thanks for sharing. Now they just need an app, too. 🙂