I saw this book advertised and it gave me a really good laugh. It also made me think of University.
How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read
by Pierre Bayard
Have you read Shakespeare? Proust? War and Peace? Moby Dick? Middlemarch? Ulysses?
(Has anyone actually read Ulysses?)
Let’s face it, you can’t read everything. You probably don’t want to read everything.
So what are we supposed to do when the polite conversation turns to a classic book, or the latest Atwood, Ondaatje or Vassanji we haven’t actually read?
Fear not! Professor Pierre Bayard is at hand to save us from literary humiliation and social ostracism with his book, How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.
“It’s totally possible”, he assures us, “to carry on an engaging conversation about a book you haven’t read — including, and perhaps especially, with someone else who hasn’t read it either.”
In fact, “it is sometimes easier to do justice to a book if you haven’t read it in its entirety — or even opened it.”
With examples from Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, Montaigne, Umberto Eco, Marcel Proust, and even the movie Groundhog Day, How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read steers us through the social minefield of literary conversation (what exactly is the proper course of action when you meet an author whose book you haven’t read?), and offers advice to turn sticky social situations into opportunities for creative brilliance.
Charming, erudite, and mercifully irreverent, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read is a must-have for anyone with reader guilt (or a dinner party to attend).