Title: Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting
Author: Lisa Genova
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Health, Self-Help
Themes: Memory, Stress
Anticipated Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Thank you to the NetGalley and Harmony for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Remember.
Fiction author and neuroscientist, Lisa Genova, writes a comprehensive and compelling nonfiction text on the subject of memory. Why is it that we remember certain things? Forget others? Are our minds slowly deteriorating? Is it early on-set Alzheimer’s?
Come take a journey exploring what is happening when we remember and “forget” things, and what can we do to help.
Lisa Genova is one of my favorite authors, so when I saw this book, I immediately requested it from NetGalley. I will be honest and say that I did not even bother looking at the synopsis or the genre, I just knew I would love any book that Lisa Genova writes. It was a bit surprising when I started to read and realized that it was a non-fiction text! What an amazing writer – she can write great fiction and nonfiction!
There were so many takeaways from this book that it would be impossible to list them all, but I will start off by speaking about a few key thoughts that have struck a chord with me. Mainly? Just because you “forget” something does not mean that you are losing your memory or are on the path to dementia. Many times, it’s because we are simply not paying enough attention or not making the thought meaningful enough to remember.
For example (this is a similar one to one given in the book), when I was invited to see my future husband before we even began dating to a group birthday celebration at the Cheesecake Factory, I was ecstatic. I never go to the salon, but I got my hair done, had a cute new outfit, and was ready to see this guy I’ve been crushing on. I vaguely remember parking my car in a multi-level parking garage and hurried to see this cutie again. After hours of hanging out, he and his friend (now my friend, too) offered to walk me to my car when low and behold, I had no clue where I parked it. We looked for several minutes on different levels in the parking garage. Eventually, we found it, but it took a lot longer than necessary if only I “remembered” where I parked it. Now, according to the author, I didn’t actually forget where I parked. I simply wasn’t paying enough attention and therefore did not actually make a memory of it, so how could I have forgotten? I love this idea because it makes me feel better when I don’t remember certain things, so thank you Lisa Genova!
Along with tidbits like these, the author shares ways we can help to remember better. She claims doing puzzles will not help improve memory in general. They may help improve the way you do the puzzles or remembering different facts (in crosswords, for example), but not necessarily your memory in general. She shared several suggestions. The ones I like and am planning on trying are: making lists, using reminders/calendar app on your phone, attaching an emotion to a memory, do things out of the ordinary, sleep better, do some yoga/meditation every day, continue to learn, and attach crazy images to things you want to make sure you don’t forget. Most importantly, don’t stress over the things I may have forgotten. There’s no use in it, and chronic stress will only lead us down a path closer and faster to Alzheimer’s. All we can do is learn for next time to improve.
The author also included interesting experiments that have been done in regards to memory. I won’t give away too much, but sometimes we can be convinced something is a memory when it really isn’t. We were just told it was true, and we end up believing it…that is crazy to me!
Though there are some scientific jargon that I definitely won’t remember, the author breaks it down and uses simple language as well. In fact, at the end she gives a summary/highlights of things to remember from the book because she knows that it would be nearly impossible to remember everything she has written. She’s so good!
Overall, this was a text that I loved reading and can see myself revisiting certain chapters. It also turned out to be a partial self-help book, which I totally appreciated!
I would recommend this read to those who would like to read about how and why we remember things in a comprehensive way.