Skimming Is Fundamental
A psychoanalyst wryly probes the meaning of nonreading
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read
by Pierre Bayard
$19.95 List Price
An obvious question facing a reviewer of Pierre Bayard's book on the business of reading and nonreading is whether or not to actually read it. Writing a review of a book on the subject of feigning familiarity with books you have not read without reading the book in question holds an undeniable appeal.
And you, reader of this review, may not want to read Bayard's book, either, since one way of not reading a book is surely to make do with what you pick up from other sources, such as reviews. The title itself, How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, is enough to tip you to the contents. Who among us does not recognize in those few words the insecurity we feel about the many gaps in our literary knowledge? Who has not pretended to be familiar with a book long forgotten or never read at all? Indeed, who could not
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