No Recall

It all started with seeing a social media item about a book by Michael Robotham, my favourite author, that I thought we might already have in our Kindle library. I brought up the list of books we have purchased in Kindle and no, it wasn’t there. Another one we need to add to the list of books to purchase then. However I did notice that there were a couple that weren’t flagged as read. What, I thought, have I missed some? I opened the first unread book, “Watching You“, and it opened at about page ten. Wow, I thought what happened here, I started it and didn’t finish it? I then noticed that there were a few highlighted notes recorded for the book. How could that be, I thought, if I haven’t read it?

I have a habit in Kindle of highlighting parts of fiction books that impress me, either by the style of writing, or the phrasing perhaps. The idea is that I can refer back to these little gems when in need of some inspiration or clarification, or just that they are worth noting. My wife thinks it is a little weird but there it is. Non-fiction certainly but fiction? I must admit it is mostly in Michael Robotham’s books that i find such inspiration, his ability to describe people and places at times resonates with me.

Joggers drift past him, feet slapping the pavement, along with flocks of highly coloured cyclists waving their bums in the air

Michael Robotham, “Watching You”

The notes I have highlighted go up to Chapter 64 so that is a fair confirmation that I have indeed read this book. I look through some of the notes and nothing stands out as memorable. I then look at the synopsis and no, that doesn’t look familiar either. So I start to read the book, fully in the expectation that sooner or later the penny will drop and I can say, ah yes I remember this now. The book is a gripping mystery that keeps me enthralled and I read on, and on, waiting for some familiarity to reveal itself. I finish the book and sit stunned. Nothing came to me, no ideas of how it would end, nothing. No recall at all.

Hot and crowded. the carriage is polluted by discarded copies of Metro and the aural fuzz of leaking headphones.

Michael Robotham, “Watching You”

I enjoyed the book immensely but not the revelation that I could not recall one single thing about the book. Oh I could now, I could give you a great summation of what the book was about but that is now, not then, not from the prior reading. I have prided myself a little over the years on my memory and while I don’t have a photographic memory of books I can usually remember whether I have read a book and what might have transpired in the book in general. Not this time. Not one shred of recollection.

Is this the beginning of it? Is this what it looks and feels like? The descent into darkness, the disappearance of memory. I have noticed little instances of it at increasing frequency over the last couple of years but this complete blankness, no clues at all, that is new. What I do know is that I will have to just accept it like all the other physical signs of ageing that I am noticing, as if the battery is running out of juice at an accelerating rate. I will keep on with the crosswords, sudoku and other mental challenges that I still enjoy but there is probably little more I can do to effect a halt to this deterioration. I can however accept it with good grace and with the awareness that I can now bring a blank freshness to any book I choose to read.


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