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Replay September 8, 2006

Posted by caveblogem in Books, Memory, Other.
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Yesterday, still sick with this damn cold and hacking my lungs out, I finished reading Replay, by Ken Grimwood.  I’ll stick a review in the book review section of this blog, but I want to note here that one of the reasons I am doing these book reviews is because I have so much trouble remembering whether I not I have already read a work of casual fiction–a simple fact that Replay had reminded me of.  I did remember reading Replay.  The issue here is that I could call up no details about the plot other than its main shape: A man in middle age dies of a heart attack and reawakens in his college dorm room twenty-some years earlier. 

This hurts the novel’s verismilitude for me a little.  You see the first time it happens to this guy he begins to assemble a huge fortune by remembering things like the winner of the Kentucky Derby and betting accordingly.  Lets see, I can recall the winners of probably two Derbies, I think.  There’s the one they made that recent movie about, which wouldn’t help, because that was a long time ago.  And there’s the other one, that slips the mind at the moment, not that I could tell you the year of that one.  The only sport I have followed at all through the years has been tennis, but there’s no way I could assign dates to Bjorn Borg or anyone else. 

I read this book fresh out of college and living with my best high school friend in Concord, CA, in the San Francisco Bay Area.  This was a brilliant guy whose girlfriend (now wife of like fourteen years) loaned the book to him.  I read it after that.  Both of these people, I am sure (and I may check up on this and report back), would recall salient details about the plot, the characters, the theme, etc. 

Somehow, and don’t ask me how because I have trouble remembering, I got a Ph.D. in history from a reputable institution of higher learning.  I know it was reputable because I graduated with some people who were much, much smarter than I am, who subsequently went on to publish books about history in reputable presses and also teach at other reputable colleges and universities.  And yet, I could not have, (as the protagonist does in the book) told you when and how Qaddafi seized power in Libya.

I guess I just have to be thankful that I can read it again, almost twenty years later, and be suprised at every turn.  Not shocked, mind you, just entertained and suprised.  So anyway, the review section is there to ensure that I am able to recall quickly, even years later, whether I read that book by Dean Koontz, cause reading one of those a second time is just too horrible to contemplate.

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