Lost Books & The Need to Reread

The need to reread is mystical and powerful. To those who don’t re-read, “mystifying” or “baffling” most likely seem more appropriate, but for those who do, I present you with the lost book tips in the hopes of saving you from my mistakes.

By “lost book,” I don’t necessarily mean that I misplaced the book and can’t find it (although that could be the case). No, I mean the scenario where having once read a book, I want to reread it but can’t remember the title, author, or even possibly enough of the plot to find it in a web search.

😫 Just the thought of that is frustrating – left with the urge to read the book but no real means of doing so.

It’s a bit like not being able to remember a word but having the feeling that the word you want is just out of reach in your mind. Although you can’t stop thinking about it, you also can’t do much to fix it.

Even more unfortunately, the urge to reread doesn’t always strike because the book was particularly good. Even meh books can inspire that need to remind yourself exactly what happened in the plot. And who remembers the title, author, or unique plot points of meh books?

Nobody. Well, maybe people with photographic memories because they have no choice. Otherwise, no one at all.

So you have to find the book (the urge to reread is both strong and determined), but you have none of the information needed for the search. Now what?

For books you’ve already read or forgotten, there are 3 general options.

  1. Physically looking through books. If you think you own it, you can look through all the books in your personal library. Or if you think you got it from someone else’s shelf, you can check there and hope they still have it.
  2. Checking your library history. If you got it from the library, you’re in luck because the library tracks what you check out. Go look in your account online and try to find it.
  3. Try online resources for finding a book without the title/author. I recommend this article on how to find a book when you’ve forgotten the title.

That said, those methods aren’t a guarantee, and after having had the experience one too many times, I have taken to drastic, preventative measures: when I read a new book that I’m not going to buy immediately, I write down the title and author in a file on my computer.

It’s extreme, but it works – if you’re consistent. If you can manage to do it for every book you read, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that the title and author are always somewhere you can check. If you’re lazy, you could even just take a picture of the cover each time and have an online album for books you’ve read.

Even with the extra work, if you sufficiently hate the feeling of wanting to read a book without having any idea how to find it, it is 100% worth it.

As someone who sincerely and devoutly hates not being able to read a book I want to read, I can only say that I would rather spend a moment now and again typing in Word or Excel (or even the cloud) than to ever experience that feeling again. But, as you know, I love lists, so it may not seem as much work to me as it does to others.

What do you think – do you know the feeling I’m talking about? Do you hate it as much as I do?


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