I have been accused of suffering from frequent amnesia. Unfortunately, I must plead guilty to the accusation. For instance, I recently watched one of the many super hero movies that are so popular in my house full of boys. When it was over, I said, “That one was pretty good. I liked it better than the one we watched last time.” My son promptly replied with a hardy laugh, “Mom, it’s the same movie we watched last time.” Movie amnesia is a real thing.
It seems the same is true in my relationship with books. I have been known to read the same chapter multiple times as the beginning fades from my memory when I near the end. It can be frustrating and liberating at the same time. Each experience with a book is new for me, for good or bad.
As if reading my mind, Bayard said, “Reading is not just acquainting ourselves with a text or acquiring knowledge; it is also, from its first moments, an inevitable process of forgetting.” These were liberating words! There have been many conversations where I have sat quietly, thinking I should not speak to subjects that had fallen prey to my amnesia. Bayard has encouraged me to speak up and be confident in my knowledge and where it fits within the “inner library.”
Not reading is opening a new door for me. Truthfully, as I peruse what my classmates and others have said of Bayard, and add their words to my thoughts as I skimmed through the pages, I find myself more open to new perspectives. Now, not only is Bayard my teacher, but so are all those who have drawn from his writing. I open my mind and welcome more voices on the subject at hand. Against my better judgement, I am challenged to consider the faded memories of what I have read as the filter and starting point to application in my context.
I hear my family calling me for movie night…perhaps we’ll watch something new…new to me.
 Pierre Bayard, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (New York: Bloomsbury, 2009), Kindle Loc. 47.