Cover Image: Remember


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I was surprised by how much I loved this non-fiction book by Lisa Genova. I have read all of her fiction books and am a big fan.. this book is very different from her normal fare, but it was easy to read and actually very comforting..I would recommend it to anyone who has a relative with Alzheimer’s or who has lost a relative to the disease and is worried about their own future. I would also recommend this to anyone who is middle aged and concerned about their memory. The author gives great tips on how to best protect our memories.
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Highly recommend for everyone!! Grab a highlighter and a notebook/pen bc you’re going to want to take some notes…I’m someone who has a “bad memory”. It’s fascinating to read about ways to hone your memory - she gives strategies! - and why your memory “fails” sometimes. Fascinating doesn’t describe how reading this book is - ! Go get it. So good.
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“Remember” was an in-depth, interesting and practical look into how and why we remember or don’t remember certain things or types of things.  The author discusses the different types of memory and how they form, as well as why we cannot and do not want to remember everything.  She offers a variety of tips for improving memory, many of which are probably familiar to many readers.  One of the more interesting chapters was on intentional forgetting; how to help forget some of the negative or unpleasant memories that we can get stuck dwelling on (which makes them harder to forget, as dwelling on a memory helps reinforce it).

I received a copy of the e-book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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Remember is Lisa Genova’s first nonfiction book, and it attempts to make the science of memory accessible to the lay person. For providing another tool in the arsenal to help someone, I applaud the book. For providing an approachable yet scientifically based text, I applaud the book. For its almost too casual tone, I question the book. Yet, this is one I think I may reread occasionally such that I can remember its lessons.

Read my complete review at 

Reviewed for NetGalley.
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I think I missed my true calling. I should have learned more about the brain and how it works and turned it into a career. I love learning about all the things the brain can do and this was another well explained area of new learning for me. 

I have been recommending this to everyone. I started reading it to learn more about my parents and their diminishing memory but found that there were important lessons to learn for myself and for people of all ages.
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This is an incredibly important book! Lisa Genova describes perfectly how I have felt at times and friends as well. When we share the vulnerabilities of aging we are detecting, memory is one of them.  Clients I work with are very involved with a wide range of work relating to memory, including The Alzheimer’s Association, AARP & non profits which support those with brain damage. So my work has included quite a bit of reading on memory.  What I love about Remember is I felt reassured, it’s not written textbook style and provides ideas one can do such as quality of sleep to help tend that part of our brain which stores what often means the most to us.  Highly recommend!!  Now Suri— where’s my phone?
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I’m okay…but am I?

I couldn’t stop raving about this book. I kept obnoxiously reading sentences from this book to my friends--lookie lookie lookie! Like a little kid at show and tell. But when I got to scary stuff (Alzheimer’s), I shut my mouth. It wasn’t such a fun read anymore. Turns out I am doing very bad things: sleeping too little, exercising too little, stressing too much—could I be leading myself to Alzheimer’s?

 So it’s funny that I gave this book 5 stars, given that it wasn’t a nice read by the end. Understatement—it freaked me out! I ended up deciding that just because the book scared the bejesus out of me, I shouldn’t dole out fewer points. It’s a great book, whether it made me squirm or not.

Genova is a neuroscientist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, but she’s not stuffy or abstract or distant. She has an amazing ability to simplify hard concepts without talking down to us mortals, and she makes the information so accessible. The tone is conversational, and she gives lots of personal examples, which drew me in.  
Going in, I didn’t realize it was a self-help book. I thought it was a book about memory. Well, it’s both. Genova tells us a lot about what’s happening in your brain, but she also gives us tips on how to remember stuff and how to help prevent dementia. I learned so much about how we remember things, about all the sections of the brain that chime in.

Fascinating stuff:

- You have to pay attention if you want your brain to be able to create memories. Think of parking. If you don’t pay attention when you park your car—by noting which level you’re on, e.g.—you could forget where you parked and go crazy trying to find your car later.

 -You can train yourself to remember to-do or grocery lists. Genova tells you how to do this. (I tried, and it worked!)

-Forgetting stuff isn’t always bad. Seriously. The author gives great examples. (Oh, she was making me feel like I was so okay!)

-It’s natural that your memory gets worse with age. (Oh, such good news!)

-Sorry, doing crossword puzzles does not help your memory. (Not fair!) 

-Every time you tell a story, you edit it. Then that edited version becomes the right one, the real one—until you tell the story again and accidentally edit it more. The story morphs every time you tell it. It’s like the game of telephone. I thought of stories I have told—quite sure I was telling the absolute truth, and then realizing when I told it again, I remembered something differently. Fascinating!

-Marilu Henner from the (old) TV show Taxi has a condition called hyperthymesia, or Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, where she remembers every single thing that happened to her on every single day of her life. You could ask her what she was doing on June 17, 2002, and she’ll be able to tell you. Total recall. The condition is extremely rare; only 60 people in the world are known to have it.

-People with Alzheimer’s are still able to feel love, so don’t think they’re a complete blank. Genova shows so much compassion for people afflicted with the disease, it’s touching.

Scary stuff (as in, “I’m screwed”):

-1 in 3 people over age 75 will get Alzheimer’s. OMG OMG OMG!

-Think you’re cool because you can multi-task? The more things you can juggle the better? Take that smile right off your face: multi-tasking is not good for your brain.

-You must get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Period. This helps with memory and helps prevent Alzheimer’s. Genova spends a LOT of time talking about sleep—stop it already! I’ve always bragged about needing less sleep than others (Genova talks about this stupid bragging), but come to find out, I’m fooling myself. Less than 7 hours of sleep is a very bad thing. (Tell that to my cat who screams and wakes me up too early. Will I be the first person in the world to blame a cat for Alzheimer’s?)

-You’ve gotta exercise! Now who knew exercise was good for memory? Tell me it’s not so! Though I must admit, reading this book DID get me exercising more! (5 stars for me.)

-Don’t stress! Because stress is really bad for your memory. Oh, great, telling me that only stresses me out more!

-Every time you recall a bad memory, it becomes stronger—because reliving any memory reinforces it. So try to think of the good times, not the bad. Ha, easier said than done!

Final thoughts:

I’ve read most of Genova’s fiction and with the exception of one book, I liked it all. Still Alice is one of my favorite books, in fact. Nice to know I like her other books, too—it’s my kind of non-fiction; mainly, easy to understand. I’m a fiction reader through and through, so it’s a big deal for me to like a book of nonfiction.

Some might say this book is on the light side, as many self-help books are. I disagree; I’m in awe of how well Genova can distill complex ideas and make them understandable. And although I read Remember a while ago, I still remember a lot. (In fact, I wish I could forget the parts that traumatized me!) Despite my freakout, I highly recommend this book. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
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This book is so well written. There is so much interesting information that can be applied to every day life. We all have that fear when we forget something - is this a sign of dementia or Alzheimer's? Lisa Genova lays those thoughts to rest as she explains why we forget.
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Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, Left Behind and a few other novels writes this non-fiction look into how the mind works. Genova always has a fascinating story with her background in neuroscience and ability to weave together a narrative with science. In this nonfiction book about memory, Genova offers up many techniques for remembering and the science behind it. As someone who is terrible with names and remembering small details, there are definitely some techniques I will be implementing in my everyday life.
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I love Lisa Genova's books.  This one was different of course since it is non fiction, but so incredibly interesting it was very hard to put down.
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Lisa Genova incorporates her neuroscience expertise with her writing ability to create one stunning book after another. This one is no exception. It is different from her previous books that are fictional stories told with a neurologic theme, usually a specific illness or category of illness. This one is more of an exploration of why we remember things and why we do not. It is a quick read and well worth the time. 
Highly recommend!
#Remember #NetGalley #RodaleInc #Harmony
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Known from her fictional work focusing on mental disorders and diseases, Lisa Genova gives us an easy to read practical guide to our memories. She delves into how our memory works, why we remember some thing and not others, and ultimately that it is normal and healthy for your brain to forget some things. A refreshing change of pace and interesting read that even those not familiar with neuroscience will find easy and relatable.
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Thank you NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Lisa Genova does not disappoint. For a subject that could be difficult to explain and understand based on the biological and scientific nature of memory; Lisa does it with ease, The book provides great examples to assist the reader. Hopefully, I’ll remember all “Remember “ had to teach me.
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Remember where you were when the Challenger exploded? I was home with my kids who had a snow day off from school. Recently, a guy who was in the same school with my son mentioned he was at school when it happened. Huh? Who is right?

Lisa Genova also mentions the Challenger in her book Remember and how she and other people remember that day. But they were wrong! Fascinating.

She gives us some little tests and tells us her experiences in trying to remember what’s on the tip of her tongue (who played Tony Soprano?). I frequently have ToT problems, whew—not Alzheimer’s. She says it is perfectly fine to google what I’m trying to remember.

Speaking of Alzheimer’s, Genova devotes a chapter to this disease. She adds more chapters to help your memories. 

I have loved Geneva’s fiction books and highly recommend this one. Thanks, Netgalley and Rodale Publishers, for this read!
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4 stars.*

I leapt at the opportunity to read this digital ARC from NetGalley when I saw Lisa Genova.  I am a huge fan of Still Alice-having read it for book club back in 2013.   I assumed this was another novel about memory and/or Alzheimer's Disease.

However, Remember is not a novel.  It is a really engrossing non-fiction deep-dive into the science of remembering (and forgetting).  It covers a wide array of common memory failures as well as tips and tricks for improving memory and how to work through memory issues.

I enjoyed this book and will definitely read more (both fiction and non-fiction) by Lisa Genova.

*with thanks to NetGalley for this honest review in exchange for the digital ARC
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“Putting any sensory experience into words distorts and narrows the original memory of the experience. As a writer, I find this phenomenon more than a little disheartening.”

Whoa! So writing it down, making notes, distorts your memory? Yes, it does. Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist who is fascinated by how the brain works and how dementia affects us (most of us eventually!) and has done the research necessary to explain it to us everyday readers.

Personally, I find this an endlessly fascinating subject. I didn’t learn a lot that was new to me in this book, but I think that’s more from my reading many articles from New Scientist and similar publications over the years. I don’t mean I KNOW it all – I just mean that a lot sounds familiar. It was still a good read, and I’ve given her the full five stars for her research and the accessibility of her writing.

There are anecdotes throughout about her grandmother (severe dementia at the end), and how age is the biggest risk factor for dementia.

“Memory loss due to Alzheimer’s is rare under the age of sixty-five, but after that, the numbers change quickly. In the United States, one in ten people at age sixty-five has Alzheimer’s. At eighty-five, it’s one in three, fast approaching one in two. Half of us.”


However, Greg, now her best friend, was diagnosed with dementia when he was only 59. He has maintained his sense of humour, and I enjoyed this anecdote.

“Back when he was still driving and I was lovingly pestering him to give up driving, he unexpectedly saw a deer in the middle of the road, swerved, and flipped his Jeep. As he was upside down, moments before what could have been his death, he said he thought, “Lisa Genova is going to kill me.’”

I got such a chuckle out of it because it’s exactly the sort of thing a youngster would think if they’d disobeyed their parents and gone for a wander in the woods and narrowly escaped being kidnapped! It’s not the kidnapping they are as afraid of as the wrath of their mother and father.

But seriously, there are so many tips and tricks to help us stave off dementia as much as we can but also accept that our memories are not what we think they are, so don’t argue with each other about them. We are highly suggestible.

“In the process of consolidating an episodic memory, your brain is like a sticky-fingered, madcap chef. While it stirs together the ingredients of what you noticed for any particular memory, the recipe can change, often dramatically, with additions and subtractions supplied by imagination, opinion, or assumptions. The recipe can also be warped by a dream, something you read or heard, a movie, a photograph, an association, your emotional state, someone else’s memory, or even mere suggestion.”

She doesn’t mention it, but I have often had the experience, as have other people I know, of remembering something interesting from my own life and thinking “Did I really do that, or is that from some movie I saw?” I mean, I know it was me and my life, but sometimes it feels almost unreal.

There is plenty of medical discussion about the physiology of the brain, the neural circuits, the connections and the amyloid plaques of dementia. I never get tired of this stuff. She talks about the man who can’t remember anything for more than a few seconds and people who can’t forget anything, which can be a terrible burden.

But her focus is dementia. Famous for her novel Still Alice and the Oscar-winning film starring Julianne Moore, Genova is often asked for advice and opinions about people’s mental worries.

She reminds us that if you want to remember where you put something, you have to PAY ATTENTION. I have learned to do that – to an extent – with a few things I don’t want to misplace. (A lot of things don’t matter that much.) Many drivers have experienced the disturbing realisation that they have driven a long distance without being aware of how they got there.

I often say my auto-pilot needs recalibrating.

Here’s an illustration of how easily our memories are distorted.

“In another study, researchers asked subjects to share any memories they had of the video of the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. People were interviewed and then given a questionnaire to test what they remembered. Thirteen percent offered detailed memories of the video during the interview, and 33 percent reported specific memories in the questionnaire. But 100 percent of these memories were false. We have footage of the planes that crashed in New York City and Washington, D.C., on 9/11, but there is no video of the crash in the field in Pennsylvania. These folks believed they remembered details from a video that doesn’t exist.”

But fear not.

“Our memories can hold information that is deeply meaningful or nonsensical, simple or complex, and its capacity appears to be limitless. We can ask it to remember anything. And under the right conditions, it will.”

Yes, it’s those right conditions that are critical. Read the book and learn what some of them are. She includes a bibliography you can use to learn more yourself. This is written for a ‘mainstream’ American family audience with references to dropping kids off at school, having teens in college, Trump’s election, how to calculate a 20% tip in your head, etc., but anyone will understand it.

Don’t trust your memory. It can play tricks on you.

“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.”

Meanwhile, be kind to each other.

“Your spouse insists that you left your family vacation at the cottage in Maine three days early two years ago because it rained every day. You remember it being sunny all week, and you left only one day early because your son sprained his ankle and you wanted his doctor to look at it before soccer started. Who’s right? Who knows? Who cares? You’re probably both wrong.

Let it go.”

Lots to enjoy and absorb and read aloud to others. It’s hard to sit on this kind of information and not want to share it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Rodale/Harmony for the review copy from which I’ve quoted.
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I love the light conversational writing style of this book - the author packs a lot of information - anecdotes, observations and research summaries into this book using a light style that is engaging - she neither talks down to the reader nor does she talk over the reader's head. I was absolutely fascinated by the process of remembering - creating types of memory and why we remember some things and forget others. It is comforting, in that she explains why everyone forgets things and how most of this is perfectly normal. She offers advice to the reader to help them create stronger memories (or how to pay sufficient attention to find your car in a big parking lot or your keys when you are heading out in the morning). She has chapters on people with extraordinary memories and how there are times that you may want to actively forget. She does address age-related memory issues and dementia. Mostly upbeat and always fascinating this is an awesome book.
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This was a very interesting book. I decided to read it because, yes, I am worried about losing my memory.
Also, I am worried about the day-to-day forgetting (where are my glasses?)
Lisa Genova addresses these concerns very well.
I was engaged by her writing style; it felt like she was speaking directly to me.
I learned a great deal from this book. Many things she talked about at length, I already knew but I learned more about them.
I cannot encapsulate this book. Being non-fiction, it presents a great deal of information.
You'd have to read it yourself to really get something out of it.

And I recommend you do.
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More technical than the stories I am used to from this author so it was a bit dryer read. It was fascinating and I learned something, which is always good. I just prefer the fiction stories centered around a diagnosis.
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Interesting information that so many of us are curious about. My mother is suffering from Dementia, a woman who was always active, and I was curious about how this disease is affecting so many people. This book does a great job of dissecting the parts of our brain, different areas of our memory banks, and what will and won't work to help improve our memory.
The author is very educated in this subject and does well explaining things in a way the reader will understand.
A very interesting book that helps shed light in what's going on in our brain!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book.
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