I’ve definitely read this book, but what was it about…?!

It often happens when people ask me about one character in certain book or about some interesting moments in this book I could not find an answer. It does not mean that I just did not read this book. The point is I don not remember details, only some fragments that are usually not important.  Sometimes, if I read book more than one year ago, I could even forget that I read this book before. Later on, I found out that it is not only my problem. Some people also do not recall the title, the author or the plot of the book that they have already read. If you are this kind of person, this post is definitely for you.

Картинки по запросу book reading

Certainly, there are a lot of people who instantly maintain to remember every book that they read. They can answer any question in any time about this book. Unfortunately, I am not in this group category of people. So far, I was wondering whether there are any suggestions to cope with this problem.  Here 5 suggestions that I found most useful  to begin reading effectively:

  1. To define the aim of the reading. Ask yourself exactly what you want to get from this reading. Define whether you want to remember the facts to understand any process or to find an answer you are looking for before. This method in most cases is not suitable at for reading fictions which we mostly read for pleasure. However, it can facilitate remembering the necessary information from non-fictional texts. Thus, this method will save time as you will definitely know what questions you are looking for.
  2. Read actively. It was scientifically proven that the more actively you are involved in reading process, the more information you will be able to remember. It is not necessarily to make detailed notes about the book. It is enough to make small marks in a notebook or even on the fields of the book. This would not only help to commit necessary moments to memory, but also would in time rebuild what you have read.
  3. Method SQ3R. It is one of the most time-consuming, but at the same it the most effective method. It will be ideal for those who really need to learn or to remember a great deal of information. This technique has been presented in 1946 by Francis Robinson in the book “Effective Study”. In fact, the title of the method “SQ3R” stands for Survey, Question, Read, Recite and Review. These are also five main steps of this method as studying, questions, reading, retelling and review. At the first stage it is necessary to read the text only superficially, to skim headings and subtitles. Then to formulate list of specific questions which have raised concerning the text. After that attentively read the text and with a help of key phrases write down answers to your questions. And the last stage requires looking at all written notes and the text by paying attention to keywords and those moments which as you think you have not remembered.
  1. Use imagination. Use the imagination not only when you read the gripping novel, but also when you try to remember something from non-fiction literature. It will make reading more interesting and will help to retain the necessary information in long term memory. The more pictures will be brighter, the easier will be to remember it.
  2. Discuss books. You remember the feeling when you are done with the book, then you are tempted to discuss it with your friends or relatives? At time like this, do not stop yourself. It is one of the types of active reading. Discussion not only will bring you psychological pleasure, but also will help to remember the most impressive moments for the long term.

All the above are techniques that I thought best to remember about the book that you have already read. It is noteworthy that these techniquies are suitable not only for books, but also for any type of reading.

So, do you find useful these methods? Or do you have any other suggestion to cope with this problem? Please, feel free to share them.

Photo credits to https://assets.entrepreneur.com/content/16×9/822/20150729211514-man-reading-book-hipster.jpeg



4 thoughts on “I’ve definitely read this book, but what was it about…?!

  1. Dear Arai,

    Thank you a lot for bringing up this issue! You meticulously described my “relationships” with books. Unlike some of my friends, I often find it very challenging to recall plot of a certain book or its protagonists. Which usually makes me feel embarrassed 🙂 Sometimes, though, I might remember the plot and main characters but totally forget the title or the author of the book.
    I agree that the more we are involved while reading, the better we will remember it. But I also believe it has to deal with our emotional attachment to the book and the importance of the events illustrated inside.

    By the way, the advices you propose are quite useful!

    Kind regards,



  2. Thank you for sharing your post!
    I also have some problems in remembering all the information from a book or a text. These methods which you have just mentioned above are rather useful. Especially the SQ3R method which is one of the most time-consuming. It will clearly help me to retain the information by reading, retelling and reviewing ideas from a certain text or a book. I have never thought that when we read we shoud formulate some questions and find answers by making some notes. I am more than willing to read more about this technique in the the book “Effective Study” by Francis Robinson in order to improve my reading skills. Have you ever been using one of these techniques?


  3. Well done, Arai. (5/5) These strategies will surely be helpful to any reading context. Well developed and organized piece.


  4. Dear Arai, thank you for your amazing blogpost! I find the tips you gave really helpful. From my experience I can say that the most memorable books are the books which were assigned for my literature class at school. After reading a book we were discussing it in class and teacher was asking different questions. Sometimes we were supposed to write an essay about the given book. When it comes to reading for pleasure, unfortunately, I tend to forget details and only remember a book plot. I think that the method SQ3R can make a really good service and help to memorize any book, however it is not always convenient to do.


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