How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read

How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read

By (author) Pierre Bayard , Translated by Professor Jeffrey Mehlman , Foreword by Francine Prose


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"Provocative, challenging and witty In challenging the line between reading and non-reading, Bayard actually whet my appetite to read more."--"USA Today " "" ""With so many important books out there, and thousands more being published each year, what are we supposed to do in those inevitable social situations where we're forced to talk about books we haven't read? Pierre Bayard argues that it doesn't really matter if you've read a book or not. (In fact, in certain situations, reading the book is the worst thing you could do.) Championing the various forms of "non-reading," "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read "is really a celebration of books, for book lovers everywhere to enjoy, ponder, argue about--and perhaps even read."

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  • Paperback | 185 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 22.86mm | 158.76g
  • 29 Sep 2009
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • New York
  • English
  • 1596915439
  • 9781596915435
  • 117,053

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Author Information

Pierre Bayard is a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII and a psychoanalyst. He is the author of "Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?," and many other books.

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Praise for "How to Talk About Books You Havent Read": "I probably shouldn't bring any of this up, but Mr. Bayard holds that one of the best reasons for reading a book is that it allows you to talk about yourself. H"ow to Talk About Books You Haven't Read" is an amusing disquisition on what is required to establish cultural literacy in a comfortable way. Lightly laced with irony, the book nonetheless raises such serious questions as: What are our true motives for reading? Is there an objective way to read a book? What do we retain from the books we've read?"--Joseph Epstein, "Wall Street Journal" "Witty and charming and often fun."--Sam Anderson, "New York"" Magazine" "I read and adored Pierre Bayard's book. It's funny, smart, and so true--a wonderful combination of slick French philosophizing and tongue-in-cheek wit, and an honest appraisal of what it means, or doesn't mean, to read."--Clare Messud, author of "The Emperor's Children ""It may well be that too many books are published, but by good fortune, not all must be read...A survivor's guide to life in the chattering classes...evidently much in need."--"New York Times" "In this work of inspired nonsense -- which nevertheless evokes our very real sense of insecurity about the gaps in our cultural knowledge -- reading is not only superfluous, it is meaningless. Our need to appear well-read is all."--Sarah Gold, "Chicago Tribune" "In this hilarious and elaborate spoof, Bayard proves once again that being almost ridiculously erudite and screamingly funny are by no means mutually exclusive." --"Booklist" "Brilliant...A witty and useful piece of literary sociology, designed to bring lasting peace of mind to the scrupulous soulswho grow anxious whenever the book-talk around them becomes too specific."--"London"" Review of Books" "With rare humor, Bayard liberally rethinks the social use [of literature] and the position of the reader...Read or skim "How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read," Or simply listen to what people say about it so that you can talk about it with ease. In either case, you may not be able to forget it."--"Les Inrockuptibles"

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