On September 15, 2020, Dan Martin (a professor at Central Washington University) ironically tweeted that “Academia is reading a book & then forgetting that book ever existed. Regardless of what prompted this tweet, I’m guessing that most CRWP blog readers (myself included) would tend to disagree. Nevertheless, I have recently been writing a reading memoir, which reminded me of all my forgotten books.
To jar my memory I’ve been constructing a list of every book I’ve ever read using the Goodreads platform. After two months of compiling books, I stand at 1125 books read and 90% forgotten.
While a book’s fate may be bleak, as Dan Martin’s tweet implies, I see forgotten books as a place for joyful or insightful re-discovery and the Goodreads platform has afforded me this place. My adult leisure reading of primarily mysteries and thrillers with a splash of science fiction/fantasy has a now vividly-recalled childhood base with every Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden book read with a passion. Likewise, I see my adult interest in gaming has its foundations in childhood science fiction fantasy books, such as the Witch Mountain series, Tuck Everlasting, Gulliver’s Travels, and Rats of NIMH.
Interestingly, the Goodreads list has forced me to confront eight boxes that have been sitting in the garage for nineteen years. I had thought these boxes contained books from when I taught in Japan. In truth, I had avoided the boxes for nearly two decades because a few (filled not with books but with my grandparents’ vinyl records from the 1940s and 1950s) had been stolen during a 2001 move from Arizona to Michigan. I was in such grief, no longer having my grandparents’ beloved WWII-era keepsakes (along with some of my own vinyl records from the 1970s and 80s), that I pretended the remaining boxes simply did not exist.