Customer Reviews for

How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Great satire, but at times very dense

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Worthy Read

    This book seemed to go against every belief I have ever had about books and reading. I was told from when I was very young that the more I read the more I learn. I did not feel comfortable with the fact that this idea was being challenged. I began reading this book with intense skepticism and the intense desire to find something wrong with Bayard's argument. Instead, I found myself agreeing with him.<BR/><BR/>There are always books we cannot make ourselves read or we start reading them numerous times only to give up and put them back on the shelf. These books induce headaches, misery and coma-like sleep states. We force ourselves to sit through hours upon hours of unpleasant reading all the while retaining nothing of what we read. We could easily be reading something enjoyable or doing something more important. If we simply must read this book a skim is definitely preferable to hours of torture.<BR/><BR/>I found myself employing Bayard's techniques without even knowing it. I have a feeling I will keep doing so. The is the type of book that teaches you without you even knowing it. The only criticism I have is that there were simply too many quotes. It made the prose seem choppy. Other than that, this is definitely worth a read even if it seems you will not agree.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    Why Buy This Book?

    I must confess that I haven't yet read this book as, at this writing, it hasn't yet been published. I really don't see the point of spending good money on a book that I don't actually intend to read. There are so many great books, after all, worth reading. But I have taken the author's advice to heart and won't read his book. My most informed advice, based on not reading this book, is to take it out of the library. Then don't read it. Return it a week late. Don't pay the library fine. Then boast socially about the irony of what little you actually know about this book from not reading it.

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

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    Posted September 16, 2012

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