The Incessant Plague: Forgetting What You Read

Imagine it’s a Tuesday and you’ve just started a new book. You immediately fall in love with it and before you know it half a day later, you’ve finished the entire book and the release date of the sequel is a total of ten months away (that’s practically forever). You’re absolutely devastated for a week (or maybe a day) and then you move on and start a new book.

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Flash forward ten months later and the sequel of said book comes out, You’ve been anticipating it for what seems like years and now the book you’ve been waiting for is finally in your hands. You lock yourself in you’re room and open the book and start reading, but after the first page you’re completely confused.

Every page you read only seems to add to the confusion, because you can’t remember anything that happened in the previous book. Who’s the villain? Where exactly are the characters? What’s the main character name? These are all thoughts that run through your head as you try to piece together and understand what you’re reading.

Does this situation seem familiar to any of you because this happens to me more often than you would think. I read a book, get really excited for the sequel and when that time of year comes around I discover I’ve forgotten everything that happens in the first book.

There are so many new books that come out every year and I read so many each year that all the books tend to blur together. Even if the book is really good and leaves a lasting impression (more than 24 hours that is) after a while the details start to fade and you’re left wondering “What exactly happened here?”


There is no real easy solution, I mean you could say “Ikram why don’t you just re-read the previous book, that should jog your memory?” But it’s not that simple. I mean take this example, last year I read a total of 205 book a good number of which were debuts in series or sequels. I can’t possibly re-read all of them just in anticipation of the new release, I wouldn’t get any new reading done. It’s just not feasible. Another solution would be to find spoilers for the book online but you’d be surprised how few in depth reviews there are out there. Although most of the really popular books are covered, the selection of these type of reviews are very limited; or I just  can’t seem to find any. 

Right around here you must be wondering, “Why this is even a problem?”. Well I am here to answer this very same question. The things is if you can’t remember anything significant that happens in the first book of the series you won’t be able to enjoy the sequel  that much even if the book has all the markings of being a favorite. Is it really any coincidence that most of my favorite books are either standalones or series I’ve binge read.

Having racked my brain for hours, I have failed to come up with a solution to this problem that has plagued me incessantly. So now I turn to you. Am I alone in this or does this happen to you to? Do you have any suggestions for me on things you do to avoid this? I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Happy Reading!



22 thoughts on “The Incessant Plague: Forgetting What You Read

  1. YES! That happens to me. I usually start by reading my review of the book (or other people’s if I didn’t write one for some odd reason). That usually jogs my memory, especially if it is my own review. Very rarely I still can’t remember and that is when I just read on and see if anything sounds familiar. It is hard when you have to wait so long for a sequel. Great topic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I usually write spoiler free reviews and that doesn’t really help especially when you want more specific details but i’ll definitely have to start doing that now! 🙂 Thanks!!


  2. With some sequels, I try to wing it, but most of the time, I go for binge reading. Even if the wait is excruciating, I’m working more and more on the fine art of not caving in and waiting for the entire series to be out before getting the books for new releases.

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  3. Oh. My. Goodness. YES, yes, yes! This is me, 100%. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. Even in a series that I LOVE, it doesn’t even matter, I still forget how the last book ended. And you are right- it IS a problem, because you feel so lost that you can’t enjoy the book. I wish there were more of those book recap sites around, because like you said, only the most popular series get covered (which I totally understand, but it is still hard when I am looking for some under the radar book’s spoilers haha). I feel you SO MUCH with this post, oh my goodness. I guess we will have to just keep trying to come up with ideas. Maybe jotting down somewhere, quickly after reading, how it ended? That might not be awful. Rereading just the last chapter? It is a struggle for sure. Love this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much!!! 🙂 I love those book recap sites…if only there were more of them. YES, I need to start jotting stuff down in a notebook somewhere, maybe call it my Black Book Of Spoilers or something 😉


  4. I’ve had this happen to me so often lately. Sometimes it’s so bad that it totally ruins my enjoyment of the subsequent books in a series, which seems unfair when I go to review it. So, lately I’ve taken to skim reading the previous book (or, very occasionally, even more than the last book) in a series before I read the next one. It still takes some time, but not nearly as much as an actual reread, and skimming and even flipping through pages and only stopping here and there jogs my memory enough that I can get on with enjoying the series.

    There’s the Recaptains site, but they don’t seem to have all that many books go up anymore (maybe that’s my imagination), and of course I keep thinking that I should submit recaps to their site for books I love—but then I don’t manage to do it. Sigh.


  5. OMG this happens to me far too often! I have a horrible memory to begin with, so reading a whackload of other books in between does not help. I definitely prefer to read books that already have the entire series published, but that’s sometimes hard to do. When there’s so much hype around a book that just came out, but it’s the first in a series – oh my, well, I just have to read it anyway! And then there are the times when books get added to a series as an afterthought when I thought the series was over! Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a bit hit and miss for me. Sometimes I’ll start reading the next in a series with no problems, I never felt the need to go back and re-read any of the Harry Potter books before the next was released for example and was perfectly fine with the remembering the storylines. Other times I struggle a little more, particularly if a character that seemed a minor bit part in one book suddenly reappears and becomes a much more important character two or three books later.

    So if anyone comes up with a sure fire way of getting around this let me know! Rereading my reviews won’t help, I tend to read crime fiction and the last thing you want to find in a review of a whodunit, is who did it, so they tend to be spoiler free.


  7. I write summaries of the books I read and just reread the summaries before starting the next book 🙂 Or, if for some reason I didn’t write a summary or am not on my computer to read it, I go back and read the quotes I highlighted in my kindle from the previous books and that just kind of helps to reorient me and remind me of at least some things!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it’s easy to forget books when we read so many or read very quickly. For me to remember something, I probably have to read it more than one time. But, honestly, a lot of the YA books I read are not something I’d want to read again. They’re often entertaining, but not something I always really engage with.

    Liked by 1 person

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