"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. "How 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 souls who 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"show more