I heard Lisa Genova speaking on the radio about memory and forgetting, I can't remember (ha!) which programme it was on now, but I do know I was in the car. But I was so interested I made a point of checking for her book and reserving it at the library.

Neuroscientist Lisa Genova is perhaps best known for writing the novel, Still Alice, which became the basis of an Oscar-winning film starring Julianne Moore. Genova said that after the success of the film, she was so often asked questions about Alzheimers, memory loss and how memory works, that she decided to write a book to address all those issues.

Remember is an engaging, easy to read guide to memory. Clearly written for an American audience, it opens by asking the reading to picture a US penny, something I'm obviously incapable of (mind you, thanks to the pandemic I struggle to remember what Australian coins look like, too). Genova's point is that we don't remember what we don't need to remember, like things we see and do every day. She has several reassuring points to make about the particular difficulty of remembering people's names (nothing to hook the memory to) and how poor humans are at remembering things prospectively, ie things we have to do in the future. She is not at all worried about the use of lists and reminders to assist us. This was an interesting, informative read about a subject that is relevant to us all.

My only niggle was the total American-centricity of the examples Genova uses -- not just the coin, but things like picturing your last Thanksgiving dinner, or George Washington being the first president. This tactic would work perfectly on her lecture circuit but it doesn't translate so well for an international audience.

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