Saturday, October 09, 2010

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

If you don't read many books and if you only read one book this year this is the book it should be. I know people always say that about books but seriously this is the book to read if you don't read much it's How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard.

The author contends that the truly cultivated person is not the one who has read a book, but the one who understands the book's place in our culture. Bayard examines the many kinds of 'non-reading' (forgotten books, unknown books, books discussed by others, books we've skimmed briefly) and the situations in which we are called upon to discuss our reading with others (in class, with our loved ones, with the book's author etc). He challenges everyone to consider what reading means, and how and why we spend so much time talking about what we have or haven't, read.

I contend that the author has in fact written one of the most useful books of the oncoming century. Never again will you need to actually read any books to convey how well read you obviously are. Merely skimming the back cover, or perhaps watching a DVD featuring the latest Hollywood sensation, will be all you need for others to see how expansive your literary knowledge is.

For the record, I myself have not read this book. But, considering the title, I felt it wasn't really necessary to do so.

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