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03 February 2011

How much do you remember of the books you read?

I am off to defend my title in the “Love Sux” quiz at my Galaxy Paranormal Romance Book Club tonight and it got me to thinking about how much we retain from what we read. I won last year (after a death match between Maria and myself) and I have to say I am not that confident about winning again this year. I think Maria is more likely to win. I haven’t slept for two nights because of this heat wave, so my normally scrambled brain is well and truly fried. Also, last year Sofia gave us a sheet of questions to think about, so at least I could scrub up on series I had never heard about before! I know I am going to loose… The prize is a $20 gift voucher, which would have been nice. The thing is, I never test well. It was a big downfall when I was at uni (give me essays any day of the week!) and it is becoming an issue at work. I just don’t retain anything over than a general feel for the book and random facts long after I have read a book. TV shows and movies are even worse, because I don’t have words to read. I remember panoramas from those, but not say, the name of Planet X in Star Wars or the name of the person who spied on the Firefly crew, even though I am obsessed with Star Wars and Firefly. I can’t remember even half the books I have read, nor the names of authors. I have no internal filing system in my memory, and I have problems retaining facts. But I love reading. I love getting lost in the story. And when I am reading, the rest of the world fades away. The problem is, when I finish a novel, it starts to dissipate into wispy threads of memory and nothing else.

So my question is, how well read do you think you are? In the realm of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, and in the wider realm of Speculative Fiction? How does that reflect on your conversations? Can people even guess that you are a long term reader of a genre, or do you have a blank look on your face when they ask you about a book you read six months or sixteen years ago? Can you sit down and discuss nuances of novels/series with other readers, or do you stick to wider themes in the genres? And if you entered a quiz or took part in a trivia night (tell me where I can sign up!), with no access to the internet or your books, could you answer the majority of questions right? I would love to hear what kind of knowledge everyone has about their genres! It doesn’t have to be the genres I mentioned above. Maybe you read crime fiction, classics or contemporary fiction? Does your feel for the plot, characters and secondary facts from a narrative last forever in your mind, or do you find they become elusive?


VanyelK said...

Actually I think I'm out of this one as well. I barely remember details that are actually useful in a quiz situation. I got lucky on the topics last year. So I think you got a better chance then you think.

Besides I've been branching out lately on my genres and have found that, over time, I have the same problem you have. I remember the oddest of the details, like a dragonlance series where I don't remember the title, authors or names of characters but remember that there was an half-elf with a beard, an evil cool wizard and his overly good brother and a thing called a kender that was hilarious.

obsidiantears83 said...

Dammit, because I was going to suggest we compete in different weeks and we both kick butt that way! *sigh* Oh well… That is the other thing. I haven’t been reading as much PNR or UF in the last 6 months. And the book ban last year means I stopped keeping up with new authors, new books and series. I haven’t really tried to catch up either! I need to completely reorganise my book collection before I do, because I no longer know where I am up to in the various series I am invested in. Sofia said it will be more general nerd culture questions this year. That is either a bonus or a hurdle for me. I love B-grade SF movies and aside from Star Wars and a few others, am not very well versed in the trivia. If she mentions Star Trek I am dead. I dabbled in SF and horror novels, but realistically Epic Fantasy was my genre. I too can give you a spiel about Dragonlance! ;-p Let’s hope she asks about Tas aka Tasslehoff Burrfoot (I loved him to pieces! Who wouldn’t love the little klepto!). We’ll both get it right! :D Um, magician twin was Raistlin or something like that. I liked the dwarf Flint and the sister (Kitara?) who was a dragon rider. OMG I am remembering things! :D I hope she asks Dragonlance questions! But, knowing my luck, she will ask Wheel of Time questions, and I never read that series *sigh* I think the “built like an ox” brother was Cam or something, and the half elf (wasn’t he the sister’s lover or something?) was Tanis? Tarnis? IDK.

obsidiantears83 said...

I think I may have to give Dragonlance another go. I haven't changed much since I was 11 have I? LOL

VanyelK said...

That's right, I'm starting to remember as soon as you said Tas, I remembered the spin offs with the twins and him. I can't believe you remembered the sister.

VanyelK said...

and yes you should go re-read it again. It would be interesting to see what you think of it now.

obsidiantears83 said...

I remembered the sister because she was an awesome strong kickarse female in control of her sexuality. She wasn't a wench, a maiden or a priestess/sorcerer figure, but one who was in control of her life and her body. That is why I started reading UF and PNR instead of epic fantasy. I get sick of women either being "frigid" or a "slut". They are never 3d characters with personality, but place holders. I know there are a number of strong female characters in epic fantasy, but I came across too many that weren't.

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