Jo's Reviews > How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard
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's review
Mar 04, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, philosophy
Read in March, 2010

This is both a great satire and incredibly dense. The author, a Professor of French literature, espouses the virtues of non-reading which he codifies into a few specific categories: skimmed books, books have heard of, and books we have read but forgotten...etc. Everyone, in some sense, is a non-reader. As the author points out, even the most voracious readers can only read so many books, and for every book one chooses, 'all the other books in the universe' are put aside. He proposes that even if one has not read a book, it is still possible to be aware of its 'cultural location' or how it is situated in relation to other titles in our collective awareness, and explains how to talk about books we haven't read...even to the author. By the end you feel less guilty about not reading a book. But be aware, in parts, it is VERY dense.

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