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Book DetailsISBN: 9781761101205
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Book Review: Remember by Lisa Genova - Reviewed by CloggieA (04 Mar 2021)
5 stars Remember is a non-fiction book by best-selling American author, Lisa Genova. As a renowned neuroscientist and acclaimed author, Genova is eminently qualified to write on a subject of universal interest: memory. And while her expertise is apparent on every page, this is no dense tome filled with impenetrable professional language; Genova makes it accessible to all, using simple terms, examples and humour.
Because “most of us aren’t familiar with our memory’s owner’s manual” she explains: • The different types of memory we all have • How memories are formed; where they are stored; how they are retrieved. • What conditions are necessary for fleeting memories to become permanent • The difference between forgetting and not remembering • The importance of context and cues • What improves retention and retrieval of memories • Why we forget, and when that is desirable • That there is a clear difference between forgetting due to normal aging and forgetting due to Alzheimer’s. • The effect of stress, and of insufficient sleep, on memory
Genova describes experiments and tests that prove (or disprove) techniques and long-held beliefs; we now know that “with every recall, our memories for what happened can shrink, expand, and morph in all kinds of interesting and often inaccurate ways, deviating significantly from the original unspoken memory first created in our brains”
She illustrates just how unreliable eye-witness accounts can be, and asks, tongue firmly in cheek “Since it’s quite easy to manipulate episodic memory with language and misleading questions, we wouldn’t want to rely on it to determine important matters such as courtroom verdicts and prison sentencing, right?”
Most useful of all, though, she gives practical tips, strategies and insights on how to remember better, tips for study and for everyday life. She also gives us the best things we can do to avoid Alzheimer’s.
She reassures us that “Most of what we forget is not a failure of character, a symptom of disease, or even a reasonable cause for fear” and “Effective remembering often requires forgetting. And just because memory sometimes fails doesn’t mean it’s in any way broken” because “An intelligent memory system not only remembers information but also actively forgets whatever is no longer useful.”
She tells us: “Writing down what you need to remember later is not a sign of weakness or cause for shame at any age. It’s just good sense” and urges us “You don’t have to be a memory martyr. You are not more likely to experience fewer TOTs (tip of the tongue), resolve future TOTs faster, better remember where you put your keys, remember to take your heart medication tonight, or prevent Alzheimer’s if you can retrieve Tony Soprano’s name without Google.”
“Memory, especially for what happened last year or what you intend to do later today, is notoriously incomplete, inaccurate, confabulated, and fallible, its performance often better if externalized, outsourced to Google or your calendar.” This is an absolutely fascinating read! This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia.
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