Fun Tip on Memorizing Lists of Books (Or Anything Else)

June 30, 2014

The ancient Romans had a clever mnemonic technique for memorizing lists of items or points in a speech, which is called the Method of Loci or Memory Palace. The basic idea is you visualize a physical place you know very well, such as your home, yard, or public building, and move around it in your imagination while associating particular locations with items or points that you want to memorize.

This could be a good way to help you remember bestseller or series title lists if you need or want to.  For example on today’s electronic NYT Bestseller Hardcover Fiction List, I had a lot of trouble thoroughly remembering the list if I just tried to visualize the list itself. Using the Method of Loci, though, I had it down within 10-15 minutes, including the order. For example, I start at my apartment door and think I’m going into a secret hideaway (Top Secret Twenty-One), then look down at my entry floor (The Silkworm, since worms live in the ground even if silkworms might not), and step/item # 9 is my window, which I associate with The Hurricane Sisters because hurricanes could blow in your window, etc. This might sound silly but it really works, even if you don’t come up with a logical connection between an item and a location but just “place” it somewhere. The next title just seems to pop into your head as you “move” around the memory palace.




4 Responses to “Fun Tip on Memorizing Lists of Books (Or Anything Else)”

  1. Jenny Says:

    I think I’ll try it. Thanks Darren!

  2. MartaM Says:

    The Memory Palace plays a role in the BBC’s newest Sherlock, which we have in the SIL collection. 🙂

  3. Ruth Griffith Says:

    Was there a book in your toilet? 🙂 Seems like there’s always one on the bestseller list.

  4. Darren Says:

    I only needed the front half of my place for the fiction list so didn’t get that far. I suppose the bathroom could be useful for non-fiction but would prefer putting titles I like by the cologne

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