Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Anything About

January 23, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme originated by The Broke and the Bookish now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the theme is: This week the theme is: Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much About

Confession time: I have a terrible mind for details. I like to pretend otherwise, so word to the wise if you want me on your trivia team. All jokes aside, I rely heavily on Goodreads to hold onto bookish details for me. I can’t often recall all the books I read this month, let alone details of the books I read a number of years ago. It’s embarrassing.

This should be an interesting exercise. In case you are curious, here is my game plan for this post: I’m going to start by listing book I know I’ve read and enjoyed, but totally don’t recall details for. Then, I will go through my Goodreads Read shelf by date read, and then by rating, to see what other mysteries are hidden in this silly head of mine.

Without further ado…

All titles below are links to the book’s Goodreads page.


Top 10 Books I Really Liked But Can’t Remember Much About


The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

This trilogy was my first serious boyfriend’s favorite collection of books. So, obviously, we read them together. Back in the 90’s. All I recall is Pantalaimon. I know I’d still love it to this day; besides, Evelina read it recently and her gushing reminded me how much I enjoyed my experience!


The Ancient One by T.A. Barron

I AM SO EMBARRASSED ABOUT THIS ONE. The Ancient One is one of the books which got me into reading. I read this with my advanced English 4th-grade class (there were 4 of us) and I fell immediately in love. I didn’t even realize it was the second book in a series until recently. I haven’t read the first one. Yikes.



Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I read this book many years ago and I remember devouring it. I don’t remember it being written by a white man… but I guess I didn’t pay attention to those things in the 90’s. What I do remember is it kicked off a years-long obsession with reading all Japanese historical fiction and mythology I could get my hands on. Worth it.



The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

I LOVED this series when I was in middle school and high school. The Wheel of Time is still a favorite of mine. But this is the series which turned me into a series binge-reader. I’m not joking. Waiting over a decade for the final book to come out burned me too hard. I had to re-read the whole series three times to remember enough to finish it. O_o



A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

In high school, I read quite a few of Bill Bryson’s books. I seem to recall my favorite is A Walk in the Woods. A travelogue, I recall laughing quite a bit sitting in the hall before classes. I remember the strange looks from my peers, but not the content of the text I was reading. Oops.


The Singing Sword by Jack Whyte

The Camulod Chronicles was my first foray into adult historical fiction. The second book, The Singing Sword, I rated the highest of these series books in Goodreads… but I’m not sure why. The seris is a retelling of the Arthurian Legends, focusing on Arthur and Merlin as real human beings. I really want to re-read this now…


Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

My mother gave me this book to read on the flight I took moving away from the town I grew up in, to Madison, Wisconsin. My first foray into magical realism and I was HOOKED. Sadly, I have no idea why I was hooked. This post gets more embarrassing with each book listed.



Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

As part of my Great Newbery Quest, I decided to re-read all the Newbery winners I’ve read in the past but don’t remember a darn thing about. Johnny Tremain is one of them. I distinctly remember reading it in 3rd grade when we were studying the Revolutionary War. And that’s about it. One of the many reasons I’m excited to continue this reading challenge!



The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Okay, Goodreads, this isn’t funny anymore. I don’t recall reading this book EVER. But, apparently, I read it for the first book club I established after moving to Madison? And I cried? And we had a great book club conversation? I feel like I’m taking CRAZY pills. 



The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

This one feels a bit like cheating. I KNOW the plot. I KNOW the characters. I KNOW how much I love that each chapter is like a little short story. And yet… I sorta get fuzzy in the middle. There are some ogres, right? 😉



Yikes. This post is certainly more embarrassing than I expected it to be. There are quite a few universally A-rated books on this list, and ALL of them are favorites of mine. I don’t have all the time in the world to read, or I would certainly start the re-reads immediately. I appreciate how this opened my eyes to the ways I remember information now. I know I need to learn through discussion and writing. Time for re-reads for book clubs!

What do you think?

  • Did you participate in Top Ten Tuesday? Share your links below!
  • Which books from this list have you read? Which ones should I rush to re-read?
  • What books have you read and loved you can barely remember? Rose-tinted glasses welcome!


  • hannah @ peanutbutter&books January 23, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Ahh, Memoirs of a Geisha was such a pretty book! Also, The Golden Compass was my childhood—I remember loving those books so much!! (Unfortunately, I can’t remember much else about them :P)

    • Jackie B February 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      Haha! I’m so glad that I’m not alone when it comes to loving these books and not really remembering much of them! XD It’s hard to keep all the books we read in our head, right?! Any favorite books you cannot remember anything about which stick out to you?

      • hannah @ peanutbutter&books February 4, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        Oh, so many!! Definitely The Hunger Games, The Demon King, and basically 90% of the books I read during my childhood. I have a horrid memory, which is why I constantly have to re-read. :’)

        • Jackie B February 6, 2018 at 9:35 am

          XD That’s hilarious. I wish I could keep all these things in my head. There isn’t time to re-read! SO MANY BOOKS!

  • Laila@BigReadingLife January 24, 2018 at 9:37 am

    This was a fun category, right? I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does this. I wonder if I read fewer books, would I be able to remember them better? I know that since starting my blogs, my ability to retain details has improved. But yeah, there are hundreds of books i read, enjoyed, and just remember almost nothing about. I think it’s okay sometimes, though, just to enjoy things in the moment and let them go. Especially since we read so much! Then, if we really want to, we can reread a book – or even just reread PART of a book, to refresh our memory. But your post made me chuckle!

    • Jackie B January 29, 2018 at 8:50 pm

      Yes! I started to really get into Goodreads when I realize writing down my reviews helped me remember what I was reading. Now I can’t always remember the books themselves, but when I remember what I’ve read I can recall quite a few details! Blogging has helped a lot too– but also discussing in person! Book groups really keep my memory going for the longest duration.

      Haha– I’m glad that I was able to make you chuckle! This was a bit of an embarrassing post to write, but those can be some of the most fun. Thanks, Laila!

  • Ann Marie January 24, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Haha! One of the reasons I started blogging was so that I could go back and remember something about what I’ve read. When someone asks me about a book I’m like “yeah I loved that one” and then they ask what it was I liked and I’m like “I have no idea” and both statements are absolutely truthful.

    • Jackie B January 29, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      EXACTLY. That’s one of the reasons which led me to blogging, too! I started putting longer reviews in Goodreads first. Then when they were purchased by Amazon, I started to look for other spaces (I didn’t want Amazon owning all my reviews) to share my words. I do the same thing when people ask me about books– but when I tell them I read ~100 books a year, well, they forgive me in most situations. XD

  • Helen Murdoch January 24, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    The Art of Racing in the Rain was wonderful! 🙂 I also loved Memoirs of a Geisha. I, too, have books I have loved but cannot remember; I think it’s an issue for those of us who read huge numbers of books.

    • Jackie B January 30, 2018 at 7:11 am

      I’m so glad to hear The Art of Racing in the Rain was wonderful! Oy. I’m so embarrassed that I cannot recall such things…

      Agreed! We all tend to have lots of books we read and probably don’t remember. Once you start to read over 100 books a year things start to blur. At least we can all recall our favorites!

  • Krysta January 25, 2018 at 10:42 am

    Forgetting books isn’t necessarily a bad thing! You just get some of that feeling of a first read all over again when you return! 😀

    • Jackie B January 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm

      That’s a wonderful way to think about this, Krysta!! I love it. I haven’t done a lot of re-reading in the last few years, but this post has certainly inspired me to try again! It’s important to reconnect with books that really affected you in some way– that said, I don’t think I’ll be prioritizing re-reading all of these novels. O_o

      • Krysta January 29, 2018 at 6:49 pm

        I don’t reread as much as I used to and that makes me sad. But there are so many books I want to read! I don’t know how I can get to them all!

  • Jamie January 25, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    …I remember reading Johnny Tremaine in elementary school as well and remembered liking it, but couldn’t for the life of me remember the title. But seeing the cover on your list and reading the description on Goodreads jogged my memory – so… thank you? XD

    Also I’m with you on The Hobbit, I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it but I barely remember any of the early details of the book. I can’t even remember most of the dwarves…

    • Jackie B January 28, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Haha! I’m glad I’m not alone in forgetting Johnny Tremaine! That doesn’t bode well for the book, though. I’ll be re-reading it at some point this year. Hopefully we can both find out that it’s worth re-reading. O_o

      The dwarves were fairly interchangable to me when I read the Hobbit over two decades ago… With the exception of Thorin Oakenshield, obviously. 😉 I wonder if I’ll view this differently as an adult?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jamie!!!

  • Annemieke January 26, 2018 at 1:25 am

    I can imagine having to wait on a series to end over a decade would burn you out. And yeah the middle of The Hobbit is kind of fuzzy book wise. 😀

    • Jackie B January 28, 2018 at 10:19 pm

      Haha– yeah, it totally did cause burnout waiting FOREVER for The Wheel of Time to wrap up. Oops. Now I am much more hesitant to read a book from a series before the series is completed for sure.

      When was the last time you read The Hobbit? Does anything stick out still in your memory?

      • Annemieke January 30, 2018 at 1:19 am

        Oh I think I was in high school. I tried rereading it two years ago but I wasn’t in the mood for it. I remember the start very well. 🙂

  • Marcey Forman January 26, 2018 at 8:31 am

    I’ve only read 3 on this list. But I agree regarding The Golden Compass. All I remember is a talking polar bear, and being furious at the author for ending the book in the midst of an action scene or plot development, so you have to wait till he writes the next book to find out what happens. I did, and he pulled the same stunt with book 2. Cheap truck! So I am over Phillip Pullman. I refuse to read anymore books he writes.

    • Jackie B January 29, 2018 at 2:18 pm

      Hahaha! I love that you are frustrated with Philip Pullman because he ended books on a cliff-hanger! You are amazing. I think that’s a perfectly good reason to not read any more of his works. That said, cliff-hanger endings are super popular now… but maybe not that cliff-hanger-y.

      What are the books on this list you have read?

  • Grab the Lapels January 26, 2018 at 10:30 am

    This post taught me that you and my husband read the same books. That’s crazy! I have so many books I don’t remember mainly because I read them in grad school when my brain was devoted to too many different things just to keep all the balls in the air. I still have many of them because I remember liking them, but I don’t remember anything about most of them. I’m actually taking on a book project this weekend: I am creating a master list (in Excel) of all the books I own. I’m taking them off the shelf, dusting them, and putting them back in a better order. I’ve been relying on Goodreads to tell me what I own, but lately the site has been wonky. It’s a open-source site, which means that it can get buggy, but when it comes to something like Goodreads telling me I own a book and I can’t find it, well, I need to be sure! I’m sure I’ll see a lot of books I read but about which I remember nothing.

    • Jackie B January 28, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Yay! This just means that you must like me because your husband and I share book tastes from our earlier days… 😉

      I can completely relate to not remember books from school due to mental overload. It’s amazing how much our brain can hold and still lose at the same time.

      I love your book project! Do you plan on re-reading some of the books from grad school you kept, or just organizing? I always feel amazing when I am able to organize all my books. i haven’t done that in so long…

      Ugh. Goodreads and I are *fighting*. My shelves keep losing books and losing completion dates. I need a better system to track my reading, for sure.

      • Grab the Lapels January 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm

        I’ve found that Goodreads is messing up my data. It says I own books I don’t and vice versa. I got through all of my books except a dozen (I shouldn’t have stopped there, ha!). Everything is way more organized and cared for now.

        • Jackie B January 31, 2018 at 9:58 am

          Wow! How long did that take you? And why did you stop with a dozen to go? You’ll need to gather some intertia to keep pushing through, I assume…

          • Grab the Lapels January 31, 2018 at 4:11 pm

            I think those dozen came in the mail that day! 😀

            • Jackie B January 31, 2018 at 8:49 pm

              You. Are. My. Hero.

      • Grab the Lapels January 28, 2018 at 10:02 pm

        Oh! I didn’t answer part of your question. There are a lot of books by men that I want to re-read, so I think I will read those without reviewing them. Review reading takes a lot longer anyway.

        • Jackie B January 31, 2018 at 9:59 am

          Review reading TOTALLY takes longer. Which is one reason I don’t review all my books. Sometimes I just want to read them for fun. O_o

  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks January 26, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    So a reread of Pullman is due then, huh xD I swear, I would also not remember half the stuff I read when I was a teen. Although I remember memoirs of a geisha all too well, and that’s too bad, because the woman who that ‘white dude’ interviewed for the research for that book got so pissed off about bad rep that she went and wrote her own book about her own life as a geisha afterwards. I read it. I can truly recommend it.

    • Jackie B January 28, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      I didn’t know that! Do you remember the title of the book the geisha wrote in response to Golden’s novel? Apparently, I don’t knonw enough to get the answer from a Google search….

      And a re-read of Pullman is TOTALLY due. Particularly with the recent release of La Belle Sauvage.

  • (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea January 28, 2018 at 10:04 am

    You break my heart including the Hobbit haha. As you probably know, I read it almost annually. It is the books of books for me, but also being Tolkien, I do get how it made the list haha. Always a ton of characters and a lot happneing. A few of these are still on my tbr so the fact that you may not exactly remember all of the details but enjoyed, is good enough for me

    • Jackie B January 29, 2018 at 9:28 am

      I know, I know! As I was writing this, I realized that you would be disappointed in me. But, that just means I need to re-read The Hobbit, right? XD I love how complex Tolkien is, but the characters and plotlines are still accessible. It’s been YEARS since I’ve read any of his works… I should probably get back into them. Do you plan on doing a re-read of The Hobbit this year? Perhaps we could buddy read…

      • (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea January 31, 2018 at 10:01 am

        I normally reread annually! I would love to if you are ok with waiting a few months? I have quite a bit on plate a the moment, but would be fun

        • Jackie B February 2, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          No problem! I am getting married in March, so things are a bit crazy for me now anyway. Feel free to reach out to me when you want to start planning! 😀 I am super excited.

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer January 28, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    I really enjoyed The Golden Compass too however I remember a few details about it namely that I enjoyed the little creatures from that one world… hahahhaha. Anyway this is a fun list even if a little embarrassing though I don’t think you have much to be worried about. I feel like we all have books we enjoy and over time the details wear away. <3

  • Lashaan (Bookidote) January 29, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I sort of laughed when I saw The Hobbit on here hahahah I have never read it or even seen the movie yet (probably going to fix that in 2018). Same thing for The Eye of the World. I need to try that series out ASAP! 😀

    • Jackie B January 31, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Are you going to read The Hobbit or watch the films this year? I haven’t seen the films myself; I’m not much of a movie person. But I LOVED reading The Hobbit as a child. It is quite accessible to a younger audience as each chapter is more-or-less it’s own little story.

      I hope that when you get to The Wheel of Time you love it! Jordan gets lost a bit around books 8 and 9, but I really love the series as a whole.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      • Lashaan (Bookidote) January 31, 2018 at 4:01 pm

        100% reading The Hobbit this year. Probably going to end up watching the movie afterwards too. Maybe I’ll also read the Lord of the Rings trilogy too (I’ve already seen all 3 movies though), but that’s a stretch since I also have so many other huge books I want to read this year hahah

        Yep, I remember you mentioning the awesomeness of The Wheel of Time series. And also wanting to re-read it. Hopefully it won’t be too much and you’ll find joy in trying it out again! 😉

        My pleasure! 😀

        • Jackie B January 31, 2018 at 8:30 pm

          I completely understand– there are a TON of wonderful Tolkien novels. Start with The Hobbit and go from there, right? 😉 I look forward to seeing what you think.

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