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How to talk about books you haven't read
Bayard, Pierre
Adult Nonfiction PN45 .B34413 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Bayard (Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?), a professor of French literature at the University of Paris openly (if not entirely convincingly), confesses to having neither the time nor the inclination to do much reading. Yet he is all too aware that in his profession, one is often expected to have read the literature one is teaching or talking about with colleagues. In this extended essay, a bestseller in France, Bayard argues that the act of reading is less important than knowing the social and intellectual context of a book. He is so convinced of this that he claims there is great enjoyment-and even enlightenment-in discussing a book one has not read with someone equally unfamiliar with it. Despite appearances, Bayard's volume is not a self-help book or a bluffer's guide to great literature, but instead serves to warn people not to try to impress others with how much they have read. The truth is, most of the time they're fibbing and there are many gradations between total reading and complete nonreading, he declares, including hearing about a book, skimming it and forgetting its contents. A little too much impenetrable psychoanalytic jargon sometimes threatens to overwhelm Bayard's argument, but Bayard's at least partly tongue-in-cheek argument about not reading is well worth reading. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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