Top Ten Books I Have No Recollection of Reading

June 28, 2016

It’s freebie week! I’ve been talking a lot lately how I’ve read so many books that I can’t remember all of them. This post is inspired by the first book on my list, which I cannot remember AT ALL even though I gave it four stars on Goodreads. I mean, even reading the synopsis did nothing to jog my memory. So I wondered how many other books I would find in my Goodreads that I had rated pretty highly (with four or five stars) but could not remember reading.

The answer? Seventeen. (Obviously, there are probably some books I rated with three or fewer stars that I don’t remember, but that seems normal. But to really like a book–or even love it–and not remember it? Bookworm problems, I swear.)

Anyway, here are ten books I rated with four or five stars that I do not remember reading at all. Like…at all. Okay, maybe I remember seeing the covers before but that’s it. I have also included the synopsis from Goodreads. Clicking on the picture will take you to the book’s Goodreads page.


1. Clotel, or the President’s Daughter by William Wells Brown: First published in December 1853, Clotel was written amid then unconfirmed rumors that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with one of his slaves. The story begins with the auction of his mistress, here called Currer, and their two daughters, Clotel and Althesa. The Virginian who buys Clotel falls in love with her, gets her pregnant, seems to promise marriage—then sells her. Escaping from the slave dealer, Clotel returns to Virginia disguised as a white man in order to rescue her daughter, Mary, a slave in her father’s house. A fast-paced and harrowing tale of slavery and freedom, of the hypocrisies of a nation founded on democratic principles, Clotel is more than a sensationalist novel. It is a founding text of the African American novelistic tradition, a brilliantly composed and richly detailed exploration of human relations in a new world in which race is a cultural construct.

My note: Pretty sure I read this in grad school.


shadow spinner

2. Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher: In an adventure equal to any a storyteller might relate, a crippled serving girl faces the intrigues of the harem, the dangers of the streets, and the anger of the Sultan himself to find the needed ending to an incomplete story.

My note: Someone posted about this book recently, and I said to myself, “I’ve always been meaning to read that book.” Turns out I already have.

define normal

3. Define “Normal” by Julie Anne Peters: This thoughtful, wry story is about two girls–a “punk” and a “priss”–who find themselves facing each other in a peer-counseling program and discover that they have some surprising things in common.

My note: Okay, I do recognize the old cover, but other than that, I got nothing.


4. Drift by Manuel Luis Martinez: At sixteen, Robert Lomos has lost his family. His father, a Latin jazz musician, has left San Antonio for life on the road as a cool-hand playboy. His mother, shattered by a complete emotional and psychological breakdown, has moved to Los Angeles and taken Robert’s little brother with her. Only his iron-willed grandmother, worn down by years of hard work, is left. But Robert’s got a plan: Duck trouble, save his money, and head to California to put the family back together. Trouble is, no one believes a delinquent Mexican American kid has a chance—least of all, Robert himself.

My note: I thought this was a different book when I saw the cover.


5. Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman: A first-time novelist pens a Jane Austen-inspired romantic comedy of errors as two girls get a part in the boys’ school musical. What follows is a series of misinterpreted–and missed–signals, dating mishaps, and awkward incidents.

My note: I love this cover. I remember nothing else about this book.

rosey in the present tense

6. Rosey in the Present Tense by Louise Hawes: Six months have passed since Rosey Mishimi’s fatal accident. But Franklin still can’t adjust to being without her. Every day he feels as though he’s moving underwater, just going through the motions. Remembering Rosey is the only thing that brings him any relief.

He is used to having conversations with her in his head, but when Rosey starts to talk back to him one night, Franklin can’t believe his ears. Is she really there with him, or just a figment of his imagination? At first Franklin doesn’t care as long as it means having his Rosey back. But as the days pass it becomes clear that Franklin’s sorrow is bidding Rosey to a life she can no longer have. He knows he must find it in his heart to free the girl he loves so she can find her own destiny. But it is so hard to let go of someone he needs so desperately.

My note: Not even the cover or title made me remember that Rosey was dead, and that’s the book’s premise.

it's a mall world after all

7. It’s a Mall World After All by Janette Rallison: Charlotte’s job as a perfume spritzer at the mall is perfect for spying on her classmates who hang out there. So when she see her best friend’s boyfriend flirting with another girl, a series of hilarious, often foiled attempts to catch him in the act of cheating follow. Through it all, the gorgeous and infuriating Colton is there laughing at her. But when Charlotte and Colton dress up as Santa and his elf for a charity event at the mall, they get more attention than they bargained for-leading to a mall brawl, a moment of truth, and the realization that being right isn’t always a one-size-fits solution. (synopsis from Amazon since the GR was way too long)

My note: Darn it, the Amazon synopsis did jog my memory a little, but since the GR one didn’t, I’m not taking it off the list. (P.S. I enjoy Janette Rallison’s books as a general rule. They are fun if you’re in the mood for a light read. The GR synopsis is better at capturing the tone of the book than the Amazon one, so.)

freaky green eyes

8. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates: Sometimes Franky Pierson has a hard time dealing with life. Like when her parents separate and her mother vanishes, Franky wants to believe that her mom has simply pulled a disappearing act. Yet deep within herself, a secret part of her she calls Freaky Green Eyes knows that something is terribly wrong. And only Freaky can open Franky’s eyes to the truth.

My note: Okay, so I do actually remember that I once read this book (the cover is striking!), but other than that? I got nothing. And I gave it five stars! WHAT.

little scarlet

9. Little Scarlet by Walter Mosley: Watts is smoldering in ruins-and the cops are on Easy Rawlins’s doorstep. Easy expects the worst, as usual. But, incredibly, they’re asking for his help. A redheaded woman known as Little Scarlet had sheltered a man during the riots. Witnesses later saw him fleeing her building; not long after, Little Scarlet was found viciously murdered. Now, with his old friend Mouse at his side, Easy follows the case’s single clue across Los Angeles. The missing man is the key, but he’s only the beginning. Hidden in the heart of the city is a killer whose red-hot rage is as fierce as the fires that rocked L.A.

My note: I can remember a twist/detail from this story…unless it’s actually from White Butterfly. So.

serious kiss

10. The Serious Kiss by Mary Hogan: One summer day, Libby and her best friend hatch a plan: Before their freshman year is over, they will each have a serious kiss. Libby even has the boy picked out. But Libby’s too-crazy-to-believe parents have another plan: They’re moving. To the middle of nowhere. Far from Libby’s friends, all hope of a normal life, and kissing, serious or otherwise.

Just when things are completely falling apart, Libby starts to wonder, Is being happy really about a perfect plan? And if she stops planning, could that be the key to happiness — and to a perfect, incredible, wonderful, serious kiss?

My note: Another five-star book. I don’t even understand. Cute cover, though (saw the cover and still didn’t remember I read it, sigh–I must have been influenced by that Meg Cabot blurb).

So there you have it. Ten books I read (and really liked, if not loved) but remember not at all. If you’re in the mood for some good reads, pick one of these up and then please tell me what it’s about, so I can see if that jogs my memory.

Have you read these books? Do you remember them? Are there any books you’ve read and didn’t remember until either your Goodreads or some other list reminded you? Please tell me I’m not the only one.




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  1. ChrissiReads

    Love this list! Sometimes I have no recollection of reading books either. That’s when Goodreads comes in handy for me!

  2. Kate W

    Great topic! Must admit that I pretty much stopped reading chick-lit because on a number of occasions, I started reading a book and thought “This seems familiar…” only to realise I had already read it! Kind of tells you something, I think.

    More recently, I know there’s a few books by Ian McEwan (who I like) that I have no memory of.

    Here’s my TTT –

    • Akilah

      I have read entire books with that feeling but continued because I thought maybe I stopped at some point. Then I get to the end and I’m like, “Yeah, I definitely read that before.” Unbelievable.

  3. Ally Bean

    Love this! So honest. I know there are lots of books I’ve forgotten that I read, but of course in the moment cannot remember their titles because… I’ve forgotten that I’ve read them. However, I’m sure that I’ve not read any of the books on your list, so I’ll not worry about how I’ve forgotten them. 😉

    • Akilah

      I only remember I’ve forgotten them when I run across them with ratings on Goodreads! Hahaha.

  4. Allyson Gilmore

    Hahaha, your topic this week cracked me up! I swear this has happened to me! One of my friends will start talking about a book as if I have read it, and when I tell them I haven’t and they come back with “well, you rated it 5 stars on goodreads!” I get so embarrassed. Sometimes there are just too many books and not enough brain space to remember them all :p Even for books you love! I also hate it when I accidentally buy a book with a pretty cover, only to realize I already have it (and quite possibly have already read it!) when I get it home :p

    My TTT.

    • Akilah

      Okay, you have me beat because I’ve never re-bought a book before!

  5. Kat

    I read so many books that I think I would forget half of them if not for Goodreads and writing reviews! I read quite a few books by Julie Anne Peters as a teen (including Define “Normal) and have to say that I don’t remember much about any of them, though I remember liking them. Great idea for a topic!

  6. Sam

    This makes me want to go look through my Goodreads to see if I remember all of my books. There has to be a few that I completely forget too. This was an awesome list. 🙂

  7. Curious Daisy

    Hahahah this is such an interesting choice of topic. I’m sure I’d find books like this looking back through my Goodreads. I definitely dont remember the books I read pre-Goodreads tho :/

  8. Lunch-Time Librarian

    Hahaha I love this topic! I always feel so bad when I read a book and then immediately forget it, because it’s not like you can recommend it after that, right? I do find that books read in school tend to be the most susceptible to this. I read A Fine Balance in high school and all I remember is being really moved by it and that it was sad. Yet I constantly maintain that it’s a fantastic book.

  9. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Oh damn, I absolutely did read Shadow Spinner. I’d forgotten all about it until just now, and I only remember it because of the cover. What it’s about beyond the very basic description you just gave — no clue.

  10. heather

    The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I didn’t remember it at all so I read it again and I still don’t remember it.

  11. Read Diverse Books

    If I go to my reading history from 3 years ago and beyond, I probably don’t remember the plot of most of them. I have horrible memory. I hope that blogging and posting my reviews on Goodreads will help me remember when it’s necessary.

  12. tghuguenin

    Ha this summer I was discussing Vonnegut with a friend and I said “I really loved Mother Night, just tore throigh it” and he said “what is it about?” “…uh…I…can’t… remember…but it was really good!”



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