The most recommended books on memory

Who picked these books? Meet our 122 experts.

122 authors created a book list connected to memory, and here are their favorite memory books.
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What type of memory book?


Book cover of Remembrance of Things Past

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Who am I?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

I didn’t come into contact with Remembrance of Things Past until I was in my late twenties—and was immediately turned off. I thought, what a windbag and slammed the book shut. Later, I gave it another try. Then another. I never did finish Swann's Way and the other novels in Remembrance of Things Past. And yet Proust remains not only a powerful influence on my writing, but a guide in the practice of good prose. What has stayed with me were Proust’s long gorgeous sentences. Any time my writing slackens, or my vision falters, I pick up Proust. I read those long long sentences with my lips moving. They inspire me. They make me pay attention to the most important craft element in the writer’s tool kit—the sentence.

By Marcel Proust, CK Scott Moncrieff (translator), Terence Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Remembrance of Things Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the French intellectual, novelist, essayist, and one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century: The first two volumes of his monumental achievement, Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove.  

The famous overture to Swann's Way sets down the grand themes that govern In Search of Lost Time: as the narrator recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, exquisite memories, long since passed—his mother’s good-night kiss, the water lilies on the Vivonne, his love for Swann’s daughter Gilberte—spring vividly into being. In Within a Budding Grove—which won the Prix Goncourt in 1919, bringing the author instant fame—the narrator turns…

Book cover of All about Dad and Me: A Journal for Fathers and Daughters

Natasha Wing Author Of The Night Before Father's Day

From my list on fathers and journals for daughters.

Who am I?

My father died in 2020 during the pandemic so Father’s Day has taken on a new importance to me as far as reminding people to spend time with the people they love before they are gone. I had started to write a story about my dad and his childhood days before he went to the hospital, and with the help of his friend, was able to complete it for the family to have as a keepsake. I encourage kids to ask questions of their parents and for parents to write down or audio record the stories that they want to pass down. Children’s books and journals are a great way to start the conversation.

Natasha's book list on fathers and journals for daughters

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

I wish I had a book like this when I was a moody teenager! My dad and I could have been closer and shared more things. A journal like this helps show pre-teens that their father was pretty cool when he was younger, and that parents and kids probably have more in common than they think! This book for 8-12-year-old daughters has questions that both dad and daughter answer plus prompters such as What is your greatest talent? It’ll make a great keepsake for daughters to revisit when they are an adult.

By Rockridge Press,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All about Dad and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Deepen your connection to your 8- to 12-year-old daughter using this fun, encouraging journal

From sharing embarrassing stories to describing your perfect day, this dad journal is an opportunity for you and your daughter to learn about each other through writing exercises that encourage honesty, humor, and understanding.

This guided journal will help you strengthen the bond between you and your pre-teen girl with:

A range of thought-provoking prompts―Father-daughter relationships are rewarding, but they can also be an emotional roller coaster at times. Both dad and daughter will answer the same questions, from lighthearted entries to deeper questions about your…

Book cover of One of Us

Nikki Dudley Author Of Volta

From my list on memory and forgetting.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated by the idea of memory. What sticks in your mind, what is lost, what can be manipulated, how you see things in different ways to others, and how sometimes you can’t trust even your own memories. I studied psychology at A-level and that sparked an interest in me, especially in terms of repression and learned behaviours. I studied creative writing to MA level at university, where I wrote my first thriller, which also focuses on memory. I’m always searching for reads that make me look at human nature differently, or break me out of routine and can offer a surprise. Surprises keep things interesting! 

Nikki's book list on memory and forgetting

Nikki Dudley Why did Nikki love this book?

This is a sci-fi thriller with amazing concepts and a page-turning story! Meet Hap Thompson – his job is to take on other people’s memories. He carries bad memories for a few hours and gets paid for the privilege. When he gets landed with a bad memory by someone who won’t take it back, he finds himself on the run. Then, people start disappearing… This is a fab read – refreshing different with some sci-fi elements, but still a thriller by nature. Michael Marshall Smith’s writing is both dark, humorous, and inventive. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect novel but for the ideas about memory and forgetting, it delivers a lot.

By Michael Marshall Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One of Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A mesmerising SF thriller from a master of the genre. Hap Thompson is a REMtemp, working the night hours, having people's anxiety dreams for them. For the first time in his life, Hap's making big money - and that should have been enough...

Hap Thompson has finally found something he can do better than anyone else. And it's legal. Almost. Hap's a REMtemp, working the night hours, having people's anxiety dreams for them. For the first time in his life, Hap's making big money - and that should have been enough.

But then Hap is made an offer he just…

Book cover of Peripheral Memories: Public and Private Forms of Experiencing and Narrating the Past

Michael Pickering Author Of Memory and the Management of Change: Repossessing the Past

From my list on memory, time, and history.

Who am I?

I am Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Loughborough University. I have written widely in the areas of social and cultural history, the sociology of art and culture, and media and communication studies. Recent projects have involved books on song and music in the workplace, popular culture, cultural studies, advertising and racism, and blackface minstrelsy. I co-wrote Media and the Management of Change with Emily Keightley, the last volume in a trilogy on media and memory and the interaction of memory and imagination.

Michael's book list on memory, time, and history

Michael Pickering Why did Michael love this book?

A predominant amount of work in memory studies has focused on national memory cultures. The shift in this anthology is towards small, local or regional memories and towards vernacular sites of remembering. Its contributors attend in the main to personal and familial forms of memory, and thus on the narrative modes and media associated with them. The chapters cover a fascinating range of topics, making for a diverse volume united by a key preoccupation with the locatedness of memory, rather than referring broadly across a whole national context or to a huge sweeping range of memory and remembering. This is a very welcome shift, bringing to the fore everyday objects of memory that have tended to be less predominant—hence ‘peripheral’, in the sense of being swept aside or overshadowed. Redressing this allows for a more complex understanding of relations between public and private memory and remembering practices, across varying temporal…

By Elisabeth Boesen (editor), Fabienne Lentz (editor), Michel Margue (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peripheral Memories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a period of intense work on national memory cultures, we are observing a growing interest in memory both as a social and an individual practice. Memory studies tend to focus on a particular field of memory processes, namely those connected with war, persecution and expulsion. In this sense, the memory - or rather the trauma - of the Holocaust is paradigmatic for the entire research field. The Holocaust is furthermore increasingly understood as constitutive of a global memory community which transcends national memories and mediates universal values. The present volume diverges from this perspective by dealing also with everyday…

Book cover of The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Betty Culley Author Of The Name She Gave Me

From my list on adoption feels.

Who am I?

I went into foster care at nine months old, was adopted three years later, and as an adult I was reunited with five siblings I never knew I had. I’ve spent my whole life wondering or searching for the truths about my past. 

Betty's book list on adoption feels

Betty Culley Why did Betty love this book?

Jenna Fox wakes from a year-long coma after a terrible accident and tries to figure out who she is now. This is a book with futuristic medicine and technology, but the feelings and emotions are universal. Jenna’s struggle to find out the truth about her past, and her place in the present make this one of my very favorite books, which I’ve read and reread many times.

By Mary E. Pearson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Adoration of Jenna Fox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters…

Book cover of Dementia: Living in the Memories of God

Sandeep Jauhar Author Of My Father's Brain: Life in the Shadow of Alzheimer's

From my list on the complexities of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Who am I?

For nearly 7 years I watched my father decline from Alzheimer’s. It was perhaps the most difficult journey I’ve ever taken. My book, My Father’s Brain, is a memoir of my relationship with my father as he succumbed to his disease, but it is also a scientific and historical inquiry into the fragility of the brain. In the book, I set my father’s descent into dementia alongside my own journey, as a doctor, writer, and son, toward understanding this mysterious and devastating disease.

Sandeep's book list on the complexities of Alzheimer's and dementia

Sandeep Jauhar Why did Sandeep love this book?

Swinton, chair in divinity and religious studies at the University of Aberdeen, focuses on the ways the standard model of dementia, which views the disease almost exclusively as a consequence of brain damage, is incomplete.

Patients with dementia, Swinton notes, can have varying degrees of brain damage. Some whose autopsies revealed significant damage manifested little clinical impairment while alive. Others with only minor neuropathology had full-blown symptoms.

Therefore, Swinton argues, it is clear that social environments, through implicit messaging or explicit neglect, worsen the demented condition. What is called for is an approach based on respect and dignity.

By John Swinton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dementia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dementia is one of the most feared diseases in Western society today. Some have even gone so far as to suggest euthanasia as a solution to the perceived indignity of memory loss and the disorientation that accompanies it.

In this book John Swinton develops a practical theology of dementia for caregivers, people with dementia, ministers, hospital chaplains, and medical practitioners as he explores two primary questions: Who am I when I've forgotten who I am? What does it mean to love God and be loved by God when I have forgotten who God is? Offering compassionate and carefully considered theological…

Book cover of Mirror Touch: A Memoir of Synesthesia and the Secret Life of the Brain

Patricia Lynne Duffy Author Of Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens

From my list on neurodiversity by authors who are neurodiverse.

Who am I?

As a neurodivergent person myself, I have always been fascinated by the fact that each of us perceives the world in a way that is as unique as our fingerprints. My book was the first book by a synesthete about synesthesiaWhile writing the book, I interviewed many neuroscientists, synesthetes, and other neurodiverse people. Later, I was invited to contribute a chapter, “Synesthesia and Literature,” to the Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia. I am now a regular contributor to Journey through the Senses Online Magazine, where you can read interviews with authors whose books spotlight synesthesia and other forms of neurodivergence. I am also the co-founder of the American Synesthesia Association.

Patricia's book list on neurodiversity by authors who are neurodiverse

Patricia Lynne Duffy Why did Patricia love this book?

I never knew there was a name for what medical doctor Joel Salinas described in this fascinating book: Mirror Touch.

If you are one of those people who flinch/touch your own cheek when you see someone slapped in a movie or physically redden or cringe when another person is embarrassed—you, yourself, may have the “mirror touch” capacity that the doctor describes.

As Dr. Salinas explains, all of us have “mirror neurons,” which allow us to feel empathy with other people going through physical or emotional pain. However, some of us, mirror-touch synesthetes like Dr Salinas, can have twice the usual number of mirror neurons, causing them to feel, in their own bodies, the pain of another person upon seeing or even hearing it described.

The book tells of how the doctor’s gift makes him “feel the pain” of his patients and his struggle to find boundaries that allow him to…

By Joel Salinas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mirror Touch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this "rich, fascinating portrait of extraordinary sensory awareness" (Kirkus), acclaimed neurologist Joel Salinas, M.D., tells his amazing true story of living and practicing medicine with mirror-touch synesthesia, a rare neurological trait that allows him to literally feel the emotional and physical experiences of other people. From the corridors of Massachusetts General to his personal life, Salinas offers readers remarkable insights about his trait, its gifts, and its often unforgiving complications, and teaches us how our brain, in all its wonder, continues to offer limitless possibilities for compassion and human potential.

Beautifully written and wholly original, Mirror Touch is a…

Book cover of The Nostalgia Factory: Memory, Time and Ageing

Nicci Gerrard Author Of The Last Ocean: What Dementia Teaches Us about Love

From my list on explore dementia and the mystery of the human mind.

Who am I?

I am a novelist, a journalist, a humanist celebrant, and coauthor with my husband of the best-selling Nicci French thrillers. Witnessing my father’s dementia and his slow-motion dying radically transformed the way I think about what it is to be human. In 2014, I founded John’s Campaign which seeks to make the care of those who are vulnerable and powerless more compassionate, and which is now a national movement in the UK. In 2016, I won the Orwell Prize for Journalism for ‘exposing Britain’s social evils' in the pieces I wrote exploring the nature of dementia.

Nicci's book list on explore dementia and the mystery of the human mind

Nicci Gerrard Why did Nicci love this book?

Drowse Draaisma is a memory specialist, and this lucid, eloquent and humorous book celebrates the rich and fruitful pleasures of memory in later life (and takes the sting out of the natural forgetfulness that comes as we grow older). It combines science, psychology, anecdotes, advice, and it is above all a work of spirit and optimism.  

By Douwe Draaisma,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nostalgia Factory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a storyteller's gift and a scientist's insights, Draaisma celebrates the unique pleasures of the aging memory

You cannot call to mind the name of a man you have known for 30 years. You walk into a room and forget what you came for. What is the name of that famous film you've watched so many times? These are common experiences, and as we grow older we tend to worry about these lapses. Is our memory failing? Is it dementia? Douwe Draaisma, a renowned memory specialist, here focuses on memory in later life. Writing with eloquence and humor, he explains…

Book cover of In Memoriam

Ruby Lang Author Of Open House

From my list on romance that deals with grief.

Who am I?

I’m a romance novelist who writes about otherwise smart people who deal badly with their feelings. Love, sorrow, jealousy, anger, hopelessness, and grief make appearances in my books because I write in a genre that centers the emotional lives of its characters. When I’m not wreaking havoc on fictional people, I take long walks and eavesdrop on conversations. I’m a recent transplant to Toronto, Canada, after having lived in New York City for more than 20 years.

Ruby's book list on romance that deals with grief

Ruby Lang Why did Ruby love this book?

James finds out that he has terminal brain cancer and starts to wind up his affairs, including looking for Andy, his lost love. This book takes place in the reality of James’s diagnosis with family and friends sometimes painful reactions to his illness and in the alternate universe of James’ increasingly real hallucinations of a life that could have been with Andy. This book both devastated and buoyed me with its intense and very real portrayal of someone grieving his own life, but who nonetheless seizes the chance to make give himself a happy resolution.  

By 'Nathan Burgoine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Memoriam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With one diagnosis, editor James Daniels learns that he's literally running out of time. Looking at his life, he sees one regret: Andy, the one that got away. Andy was the first man that James ever loved, but Andy has been gone for years, and might not want to be found.

But as his cancer progresses and James starts to lose his grip on time and memory, it might just be that time and memory are losing their grip on James, too.

It's the biggest and most important re-write of his life. Restoring love from nothing but memory might be…

Book cover of The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life

Raymond Keene Author Of Fifty Shades of Ray

From my list on to increase your creativity and sharpen your mind.

Who am I?

I am a chess Grandmaster and former British and European gold medal winner. I have won tournaments in the UK, Australia, South Africa, Spain, Holland, Germany, and Cuba, where I met Fidel Castro. I have always been fascinated by the potential power of the human mind and how to activate it. Memory, Speed Reading, Mind Mapping, and Critical Thinking, all form a part of this intriguing matrix. 

Raymond's book list on to increase your creativity and sharpen your mind

Raymond Keene Why did Raymond love this book?

A revolutionary book by my friend Tony Buzan, who sadly passed in 2019. Tony left a huge educational legacy based on his invention of the Mind Map, an amazing tool to expand your memory, creativity, and critical thinking. Anyone who wants to pass exams or protect against Alzheimer’s must read this book! 

By Tony Buzan, Barry Buzan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mind Map Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tony Buzan is the inventor of Mind Maps and The Mind Map Book is the original and best book on how to use them effectively in your own life.

Often referred to as 'the Swiss army knife for the brain', Mind Maps are a ground-breaking, note-taking technique that have already revolutionised the lives of many millions of people around the world and taken the educational and business world by storm.

This practical full-colour book will transform the way you plan and organise your life. At school they're perfect for taking notes, revising for exams and planning essays; at work they're…