I Need to Take Notes Whilst Reading

It’s starting to look and sound like a mantra. It’s in the title of this page. It’s in the header (because headers make my SEO happy). It’s in bold just above this paragraph. It’s starting to sound annoying and maybe even a little bit pretentious…

But, the fact still stands: I need to take notes whilst reading.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Except maybe that the title suggests that I don’t in fact take notes while reading. That might be the surprise. Does everybody? Am I the only one who just… doesn’t?

Here’s how I came to this conclusion. Be prepared. It’s a journey. And at the start, it’s not going to make sense. But in the end, I think we’ll be in a good place.

It all started this morning while I was stitching. (See, I told you. A Journey.) I just finished an audiobook reread of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Oh, how I love that book. It made me want to run to the bookstore or to (more likely) Amazon to get ahold of the next books in the series. However, I was reminded of my Humongous TBR Pile for the month of May and realized that I’ve not made a dent in it yet. Actually, I did make a physical dent in it. This abrupt reminder of the pile was a literal one – I stubbed my toe on it and sent the stack cascading to the floor. So I thought that I’d better pick up the next book on that pile, rather than buy books for another pile. I considered my list and decided I really wanted to read A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. It’s sitting in my mailbox now as I write this and I just have to go get it…

Then, I started thinking about A Court of Thorns and Roses. It’s been about six months since I read it so I figured I’d need a refresher real quick before delving in to the sequel (do you see how we’re progressively getting to the point of this ramble, I mean, Journey?). So I pulled up my blog and attempted to locate my review. Inevitably, I thought, my review will stir the feels I had and sort of help my brain click into the memories of this story: how it started, where it went and where it ended off. This magical review of mine that does not exist because I never wrote it. I disappeared off the blogging planet after/during the reading of it so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that there was no review from me. So, then I thought, well I’ll visit the Recaptains, an excellent resource for going through what happened in a book for just this purpose. A Court of Thorns and Roses does not exist there either.

I started to get panicky. What the hell am I going to do? Do I just start ACOMAF with the hopes that it will all click into place? Do I count on Sarah J. Maas to do the thing I hate in books with a full blown recap at the beginning? Do I grab another book of my TBR Pile and delay these concerns for another couple of weeks?

Ugh. I hate every one of those options. Because I don’t think ACOMAF is going to suddenly bring fully fleshed out memory for me. And I don’t think Sarah J. Maas is the type to Do The Things I Hate In Books. She’s too smart and capable for that. And I didn’t want my TBR to defeat me. And it’s really bad because I keep starting sentences with And which I also hate. And…

So, my decision was to search some of my favorite and most trusted blogs and read their reviews. That was a solution! The reason these blogs are on my list of favorites is that I really like their reviews. They’re thorough without giving away too many details as such to spoil the innocent bystander. They express feels and use emphatic statements and exclamation points and claim book boyfriend statuses.

But reading these reviews only enhanced my anxiety. Did the reviews remind me of things and feels and events? Of course. But the more I read and the more I remembered, the more I realized that there is so much that I forgot. So, so, so much. ACOTAR is just over 400 pages. Sarah J. Maas packs a serious story into those 400 pages. Most other fantasy authors would take twice the amount of ink and page to accomplish what she did. And I can’t remember most of it.

Ladies and gents, thank you so much for going on this journey with me. We have reached our destination. You have arrived at the same conclusion I did about an hour ago – I should be taking notes while reading because then I wouldn’t be in this mess. I would have the inevitable pages upon pages to refer to in order to jog my memory.

The irony of me blogging about this is not lost on me. I started my blog in the hopes of avoiding this very situation. When one reads as much as I (used to) do, the details blur and fade with each additional page. It’s simply not possible for somebody without photographic memory to hold onto minute details of so many stories. The Daily Bookmark was born of the idea that if I reviewed the books I read, those memories would stay put a little longer. And here I am, blogging about how I can’t remember stuff.

The long and short of it is that I need to get together a notebook and starting writing while I’m reading. Is it going to take longer? Yeah, probably. But I think the benefit is worth the time spent, as is with just about anything that takes time. The trick is finding a way to write quickly and effeciently and not let myself get caught up in stupid details like: “My handwriting looks weird today” or “do I want bullets or full sentences?” or “I don’t really care for the cover of this notebook.” or Left-Handed Problems Whilst Writing (lefties get this statement).

Now, you may be wondering how I’m going to solve my immediate problem of: I can’t remember *bleep* about ACOTAR but I want to read ACOMAF ASAP. The answer is that I just bought the audiobook of ACOTAR and, being that it’s only 16 hours (scoff, only), I can read it relatively quickly, get back to my stitching that was so rudely interrupted from this morning and refresh my damn lousy memory. Is it the best solution? I dunno, but it certainly feels like the only one.

Oh, and if you have tips or suggestions on taking notes whilst reading, I’d greatly appreciate it.

I’m going to go contemplate whether I should have used “while” instead of “whilst” and what the difference is. Because that’s Effective Time Use. ; ) I’m also going to cry about the grammar disaster that was this ramble. I ended a sentence within this paragraph with a preposition. And I’m not planning on a fix.

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