The majority of Memory: An Anthology (Chatto & Windus) is what used to be called a commonplace book, a collection of extracts from other texts. The editors, Harriet Harvey Wood and A.S. Byatt, have selected 155 passages on the theme of memory, which range in length from epigram to essay and chronologically from 360 BCE to the present day. In one extract, Plato cites Socrates, who in one of the dialogues compares the faculty of memory to “a block of wax [in the mind,] of different sizes in different men; harder, moister, and having more or less purity in one than another”; in another, Gabriel García Márquez concludes that “life is not what one lived, but what one remembers.” The extracts are supplemented by nine “specially commissioned essays by writers with interests and expertise in different fields” (the biographer Richard Holmes writes on memory and forgetting, Steven Rose on neurobiology and the chemistry of the brain and Ignês Sodré on psychoanalysis). The index reveals a wide range of sources and references; from the Ks alone we have Kafka, Kant, Keats, Kipling and Kundera among a dozen less-familiar names (the Kipling extract is the “Kim’s game” passage from Kim, which describes the memory game familiar to all good Boy Scouts). This is an excellent one-volume introduction to the topic. My only quibble is the book’s bias toward writers from the Occidental tradition. The only input from the Arabic world is a single extract from an eleventh-century text, and there are no contributions at all from Aboriginal cultures or from the ancient civilizations of Asia.