|Participants in a new study demonstrated higher levels of brain activity when reading the original passages from select Shakespeare plays as compared to the same text rewritten in simpler language.|
I admit it: I have trouble retaining the details of books. Most texts eventually get relegated to a dark corner of my mind, slowly accumulating dust until they're barely visible at all. The only thing I can remember about DeLillo's White Noise is that the narrator's wife is named Babette, The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen brings to mind sharp angles and little else, and the specifics of Conrad's Heart of Darkness have grown as murky as the book's title.
The process is gradual but often follows a pattern. First plot particulars float away. Next the theme grows fuzzy. Then characters and images start to vanish until all that's left is one or two lone figures standing in a cornfield or the high desert or a sprawling suburban home. Occasionally the entire book recedes into the ether.
As part of my New Year's resolution, I've decided to take some steps to boost my recall. While I don't expect to be able to recite Crime and Punishment, I hope that I'll come to recollect a little more about the books I read. If you experience the same forgetfulness, you might want to consider trying out some of these strategies as well.