When journalist Joshua Foer covered the 2005 USA Memory Championship in Manhattan for Slate magazine, he didn't expect to return a year later as one of the competitors. He was more than a bit skeptical during that first go-round when experts told him anyone could learn to memorize entire decks of playing cards or strings of numbers hundreds of digits long.
All it takes, they said, is training. And for those of us who consider it a great feat of recall when we remember what we had for breakfast or where we parked our cars, that's really good news.
Foer's memory-building –– and memorable –– odyssey is recounted in his book, "Moonwalking With Einstein –– The Art and Science of Remembering Everything" (Penguin, 2011). The UC Santa Barbara Library has chosen the book as this year's selection for UCSB Reads.
An annual winter quarter event, UCSB Reads engages the campus and the Santa Barbara community in conversations about a key topic while reading the same book. UCSB Reads is presented by the UCSB Library, in partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor. A committee that included faculty and staff members, administrators, and student representatives made this year's selection.
Beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, January 10, Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife, Dilling, Executive Vice Chancellor Gene Lucas, University Librarian Denise Stephens, and Associated Students Internal Vice President Mayra Segovia will be on hand at the UCSB Library to distribute free copies of the book to registered UCSB students. Associated Students has, in part, funded the book distribution. "Moonwalking With Einstein" is also on sale at the UCSB Bookstore.
The Antioch University Library, the Luria Library at Santa Barbara City College, and the Westmont College Library are partners in the program, and the book is a Santa Barbara Public Library System "Read" selection for this winter. Multiple copies will be available for loan, including audio, e-book, Spanish language, and large-print versions. The Santa Barbara Public Library also offers "Book Club in a Bag" kits, which include 10 copies of the book and a set of reader questions geared toward book club participants.
A variety of UCSB Reads events, including faculty panels, book discussions, film screenings, and exhibits, will take place throughout the quarter, both on campus and at local public libraries and partner sites. These will culminate in a free public talk by the author on March 4 in UCSB's Campbell Hall.
For more information about UCSB Reads, contact Rebecca Metzger, assistant university librarian for outreach and academic collaboration, at (805) 893-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete list of upcoming UCSB Reads activities is available at https://www.library.ucsb.edu/ucsbreads.