Sunday, July 18, 2010

Persistence of Memory

We’re listening to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on this trip. All of us have read it, but for different reasons we want to re-visit the book. Personally, my motivation is two-fold: One of my brightest students last year read it over and over, assuring me that it was the best book of the series (if not the best ever written!).

The other reason is that when Deathly Hallows was released, I pounded through the book in a little less than 24 hours. At our house we had two copies, one each, and we spent the entire weekend reading and talking and reading. Three years later I find that I don’t have a very good memory of the book.

When I was a teenager, it used to amaze and amuse me how little recall my mother had of the plots of novels we knew she had read. My brother and sister and I mocked her mercilessly for her chronic case of literary amnesia. Of course at that time my brain was like a sponge, and it was easy to remember even the smallest things in minute detail. How could we know that it wouldn’t last?

Like everything about growing older, no matter how much you’ve seen it happen to others or even have come to expect it for yourself, such signs of aging seems incredible when they actually happen to you. Thus the Harry Potter audio book—it’s almost as if I’m experiencing it for the first time, and you know what? My student has an excellent point—it’s a good book.

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