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Fun, fun, fun > How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read

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message 1: by Rob (new)

Rob | 5 comments I am half-way thru this book and I just love it and wanted to see if anyone else wanted to discuss it! Personally, I think the book is very deep and has a LOT more to offer than the trivial "you can discuss a book you haven't read by listening to what other's say about it, or reading reviews of it" etc etc. So much of this book in tongue-in-cheek anyway that I think a lot of that is meant in fun.

But the concept of "can you consider a book you've forgotten, and even forgotten you've read - as a book you've read" is great! and touches on a lot of very neat issues. And if Montaigne couldn't remember any of the books he read, then maybe I'm in better company than I thought!

Another very interesting aspect of this book deals with the idea that any book that is read by any individual is necessarily filtered by that individual's personality and personal history. So that the actual "book" is never read - what remains internal to the individual is his/her own very particular processing of the book.

(from a signal processing point-of-view this is perfectly in tune with the idea of a 'transfer-function' - that translates the 'input' (the actual book) to the 'output' - the rememberance of the book by the individual)

Anyway, I think there is a lot of thought-provoking stuff in this book and hopefully some others agree...and I'm only half-way thru...fun stuff to think about.

Another reason I like the topic of reading/forgetting/unreading is that I often forget a LOT of the books I have read - I mean - I always have a very strong emotional memory of the book - this book I loved, that book I hated - but I often can't remember much of the details - at least not several years later (and sometimes while I'm still reading the book!) It's all very interesting how we internalize the books we read - we all have an "inner-book" which is the result of our individual 'transfer-functions' which we abs cannot disable while reading books.

Neat stuff - maybe someone else agrees?

rob


message 2: by Ken (last edited Feb 10, 2008 03:51AM) (new)

Ken One of the reasons I review books at amazon (and joined Goodreads) is the premise of your book. I cannot remember them otherwise. I mean, sure, I remember the heavyweights, though not always the particulars. And sometimes I'll experience a deja (followed by a vu) and think it's my own memory, when it's a book's muddy footprint tracked through the recall wing of my mind.

But yes, you've read it even if you forgotten it (or at least that's how I vote, if this is a caucus) -- just like you experienced a lot of things in your youth and, as far as you can tell, have completely forgotten them. Does that mean it never happened? I think a Time Machine (Chrysler makes one) would prove otherwise.

How often do you have the experience of someone in the family recalling a memory -- with YOU as a primary player -- and you recollect nothing, nada, nyet, nunca of it? Frequently, I'll wager (though I'm not a betting man by nature).

I looked at this book and instead grabbed Michael Dirda's Classics for Pleasure -- a book about books I (mostly) had never read but now might because Dirda intrigued me. Same church, vastly different pew. Mine is over by the St. Anthony shrine.


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