Books you haven’t read

13 10 2007

How to talk about books you haven’t read by Pierre Bayard


In the spirit intended by the author, I’ve not actually read this book so have to copy the synopsis from Amazon:

In this disarmingly mischievous and provocative book, already a runaway bestseller in France, Pierre Bayard contends that in this age of infinite publication, 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. Drawing on examples from works by Graham Greene, Umberto Eco, Oscar Wilde, Montaigne (who couldn’t remember books he himself had written), and many others, he examines the many kinds of ‘non-reading’ (forgotten books, unknown books, books discussed by others, books we’ve skimmed briefly) and the many potentially nightmarish situations in which we are called upon to discuss our reading with others (with our loved ones, with the book’s author, etc.).At heart, this is a book that will challenge everyone who’s ever felt guilty about missing some of the Great Books to consider what reading means, how we absorb books as part of ourselves, and how and why we spend so much time talking about what we have, or haven’t, read.

Which is all wonderfully reminiscent of the great parlour game ‘Humiliation’ in Changing Places by David Lodge in which players compete to admit to the most shocking unread classic.




3 responses

24 10 2007
Someone else who hasn’t read the book « Prole Art Threat

[…] Someone else who hasn’t read the book 24 10 2007 Follow-up to Books you haven’t read […]

11 03 2008
Can’t read ‘em Hall « Books I Haven’t Read Yet

[…] Lodge, thanks (if thanks is the right word for someone who pushes another book under my nose) to Prole Art Threat who also blogged about Pierre Bayard’s How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (which […]

23 12 2012

Reblogged this on Prole Art Threat and commented:

Reminded today about this book. Am hoping to get for Christmas so I can ignore it agin

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