1. Dystopian
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    Dystopian New Member

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    Can you put books down for a few months and start where you left off?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Dystopian, Jun 17, 2012.

    Hi,

    This thread is mostly relevant to very long books and classical literature.

    I do this a lot, I have an eccentric attention span in the sense that I can read four hundred pages in a single sitting but then find it difficult to return to the book to read the other few hundred. I'll either not read at all for a while, or start another book perhaps. I find myself in two minds when I do finally return to the book, should I start again, given I've forgotten quite a bit of what I have already read or should I just continue where I left the bookmark?

    I did this with Anna Karenina, and that book is a tome. I had to start again after getting three quarters the way through it. I'm currently reading Christopher Hitchen's memoir "Hitch-22" - I got about half way through it three months ago and I don't know whether to start it again or continue on.

    Anyone else ever have this problem?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, if you still remembered what happened before the place you left off at, and you can still remember the plot then keep going. If not? Start over.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I do this, which is rarely, I always start over. That's because, if I'm interested enough to return to the book after a long time, I've been enjoying it, and I'll enjoy rereading the first half or so.
     
  4. ulubelu
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    ulubelu Member

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    No, I can't - not even with books I've read a million times before. I have to reread the entire book (I've done that before, where I almost finished a book and then lost interest, only to regain interest a few weeks after and I'd completely forgotten what had happened, and what this story was actually about!)
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I've done it a few times. I recall doing it with A tale of two cities, for instance. I liked the book, but suddenly didn't feel like such a heavy read, and put it aside for maybe six months. Then I carried on where I left off. :)
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't know that i've ever done so for months, but have set a book aside for a while and then gone back to it with no problem, as i have a very retentive memory... at most, i may scan back a page or two, just to 'reset the scene' if necessary...
     
  7. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, I can't. I have a poor memory so I need to start from the beginning again. I like reading things in one go as well, in terms of reading a book within a few days.
     
  8. The Crazy Kakoos
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    The Crazy Kakoos Member

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    I haven't tried it with real books but I can do it with audiobooks, but I'm also an audio learner and can kinda "see" what I'm hearing in my minds eye. At one point I was very particular with what I was listening too at work and had 4 or 5 unfinished audiobooks being partially listened too in rotation between books I had fully listened too. took a couple months just to finish one of those books.
     
  9. simina
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    simina Senior Member

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    I read relatively slowly, so all the details of the story sink in and leave and pretty deep impression. Because of this, I can usually remember enough of the plot to return to a book after a long absence and continue at the bookmark.
     
  10. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    Yeah thats what i usually do. I did that in high school with the green mile. I put it down for about a month, and when i picked it back up i just had to read the last half of the previous chapter and i was back on track
     
  11. thetyper
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    thetyper Member

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    Yes I do this all the time, and I also read several books at once. I left War and Peace for two years and came back to it about half way through, and the first Stieg Larsson book I left half way through for months.
     
  12. kyelena2
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    kyelena2 Member

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    I can do this, I do it constantly. I can read multiple books at a time and understand what has happened previously when I pick it back up. I read different books at different times.
    (Example- if I'm at work and wanting to read, I read a certain book off my phone.
    If I'm at home, I read a hand held book.
    If I'm picking my son up from school, I read a book on my Kindle.)
    Sounds confusing, even to me, but I'm a great at multitasking, haha.
     
  13. Lady Amalthea
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    Lady Amalthea Member

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    Yes I do that, but only with long books with a "traditional" style. What I mean is, I can read a few hundred pages from "War and peace", put it down, and return after a few months. But I can't do that with Marcel Proust -- since it's very hard to remember the actual story, most of the time the character is remembering something to the tiniest detail. I have a case of love and hate with a (big) novel called "Grande Sertao Veredas". It's from Guimaraes Rosa, one of my favorite writers ever. I love his short stories, but whenever I pick this one big book to read, I never finish it. It's regional language from the Brazilian "sertao", in the 20s/30s, full of metaphores, psychological time, with an unreliable narrator. I can never continue from where I left off, I always have to go back to the start. But someday, when I have like a month off, I will be able to read it from start to finish, hahaha.
     
  14. Admin
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    Admin Contributing Member

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    Use Sparknotes or Cliffnotes to read summaries (That is, if the book is on either website) up to the point where your bookmark is, and you should be good to go. Good-luck!
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I do this regularly with collections, unlike novels there is usually no continuous narrative. But saying that, I have also done this with novels, and I find I can then easily and remember all of the characters and exactly what was happening, even after months of absence. I'm the type of person who reads a few books at the same time. I have a very good memory when it comes to books, but I am forgetful in other areas (how many time's I've left the house without my phone!) but I don't make it a habit. There have been one or two cases of this happening, but as a rule it's not as common as with collections of short stories and poetry.
     
  16. Michipanda
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    Michipanda Member

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    Yes, the only time I don't do it is when the book is exceptionally good.
     
  17. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    I can't! I have to re-read the book which I find frustrating because everything seems familiar, but if I don't re-read it than I am lost for a good dozen pages. Unfortunately, I usually just end up giving up on the book until my stack of "to-reads" are done and then I've forgotten the story enough that it's all fresh again.

    Moral of the story, get less sleep and just finish the book :)
     
  18. SamTurtle
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    SamTurtle New Member

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    My memory is absolutely terrible, so I can't seem to go without reading a book for a week or two before I start forgetting things. Even major characters and events being to slip from my mind.
    If I've been away from a certain book or series for a long time, like a year or two, then I'll start over. Because, by that point, I can only remember a couple of names. I did that with the Eragon series.
    However, if it's only been a couple of months and I'm very far into a book or series, then I refuse to start over. It's just too much work. Right now, it's been about 4 or 5 months since I've begun reading the Lord of the Rings series. I'm in the beginning of The Two Towers, so I refuse to read The Fellowship of the Ring again to refresh my memory. I just don't have the time to do that when it hasn't been too long of a break, especially since I have so many other books on my personal reading list. This topic actually reminds me that I need to start reading LotR again. I'll most likely end up glancing through some generalizations of the plot or Sparknotes, as noted by Admin. But I'm sure I won't be getting very far into it, since I really need to start my summer reading. ;~;
     
  19. El Chacal
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    El Chacal New Member

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    Sometimes I put them down for a few years.

    And never touch them again.
     
  20. Michipanda
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    Michipanda Member

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    I have a few of those on my shelf as well
     
  21. Iron Orchid
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    Iron Orchid Member

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    Yes, it's taken me almost 10 years to finally get through reading Lorna Doone, but that's mostly because it's very, very boring.

    A book that's interesting, I will stick with, but then again if I'm re-reading something I've read before and then buy a new book, I'll read the new book before going back to where I left off on the book I've read before.
     
  22. emines
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    emines New Member

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    No... I forget the back story!
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    With books like that, I just put away the first chance I get and never, ever pick it back up again. No need to torture yourself for a decade over it.

    As for me? Well, if I can still remember what the hell's going on, I'll resume. If not, I go back and start again.
     
  24. Morkonan
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    Morkonan Senior Member

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    I typically don't have this problem, especially with fiction. But, I also read a lot of "fact." I usually have at least one book of each of these categories in my car, for reading at lunch or dinner when I am out: Physics (Mostly cosmology), History or Cultural Studies/Social Studies/Anthropology, Writing and Animal Behavior and Intelligence, including Human Intelligence. I pick these up, willy nilly, when I am eating lunch or in-between other books. But, the best ones are read just like any other work of fiction that I read - Contiguously. (I am always reading multiple books in multiple genres.)

    When I do have a long lapse in-between the readings of a particular book, it usually takes me a few minutes to recall the previous points and chapters that I have already read. The more difficult the read, the more difficult it is for me to do. But, regardless, it doesn't take longer than a couple of minutes of page-flipping to remember the topics I was reading when I last put it down.

    (I'm also a dog-earer of books. It's a passion.)
     
  25. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I'm actually the same way. I have no problem whatsoever putting a book down and returning to it months later, which I have done. Sometimes I get these spurts, where I cannot stop reading. It's almost like a pattern of behavior, for they always last around 6-8months, and then I breathe a little. More than once, I have hit this wall while in the middle of a book, even when the plot was thickening. When my energy resurfaces, I pick the book up right where I left it, usually in the spot I put it down, face down and already open to the page I last read.
     

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