I don't know if it's the same for you, but I often have an incredibly hard time remembering details from recently read books, such as character names, settings, what exactly happened, you know, unimportant things. I don't think it necessarily has to do with bad memory (or maybe it does! Who knows), but more of other factors.
Here's a list of great tips I've started using since 2016 in order to remember what I just read!
1. AFTER FINISHING A BOOK, WRITE DOWN A SUMMARY OF WHAT HAPPENED
In all my drafts of reviews, I have a simple outline that I use as my notes. It comes in super handy when I'm about to write the actual review.
And obviously I'll include pretty much EVERYTHING, including spoilers, and what happens in the end (which is why all of that is bolded out). You never know when you're going to have to read the sequel, which means you obviously have to remember how the previous book ended!
I know some also write notes while they're reading, but for some reason I could never get into that. Although I find the idea appealing, the note-taking disrupting my reading flow. Which is why I just have to trust that my brain will remember enough for me to write my thoughts out in the end.
2. COPY DOWN YOUR NOTES ON WHAT HAPPENED
This is the part where I tell you I actually LIKE the update from Goodreads. Mainly because with it, came a new feature allowing you to have private notes to yourself for each book. This is below the actual review section.
There are still drawbacks to this unfortunately, like having a limit of only 300 characters. However, I rather not put my spoilers in the review, only because I don't feel like editing them to make them fit in, ya know? This is why I try to summarize the ending in just a few sentences, while everything else, like character names and the likes, will be in my actual review.
3. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, LOOK TO SOMEONE ELSE
This usually falls to my blogger friends, or Recaptains. The wonderful people behind that site will spoil you on purpose by recapping what the book was about. This works wonderfully for series starters, where I haven't read the book in A YEAR and I have no clue what happened. Because it was a year ago. So now there really is no excuse to not picking up that sequel.
4. BOOKMARK QUOTES OR PASSAGES
Quotes are the hardest for me to keep track of because, as I said before, I hate when my reading is disrupted. And then whenever I saw a quote I liked, I often told myself "I'll definitely remember this page number" or "I'll find it on Goodreads!" neither of which end up working for me. Which is why rather than taking the time to highlight a passage in my Kindle, or writing out the full quote, I now write down the page number, or bookmark the page in my Kindle. Then, after I finish, I'm free to go back to the page, and VOILA, it is still there (surprise)! Because of this, I actually have a number of quotes I can use in my reviews. And if I need them again, I can go back to said reviews and share them on Goodreads, or my TTTs.
5. NO SKIMMING!
Unless it is painfully boring. Going to be honest, I have this problem. I skim, and I think that is the number one reason I 1) get confused and 2) don't remember. This gets worse more towards the end of a book, where I am just either excited for the conclusion, or I just want to get started on a new book. This year, I want to make sure I know what's going on (unless the book is particularly boring at that point) and not live in confusion just because I skipped five paragraphs of text.
I'm always looking for new ways to remember what I read, especially when it comes to writing reviews. Attempting to write a review on a book I remember nothing about (It happened, I wrote the review, but was overall displeased with it) never ends well.
Feel free to leave more tips below! I hear bullet journals are all the rage these days, and regular journals alike!
There is also this Book Blogging Journal Template if you're interested by Hazel @ Stay Bookish!