Monday, February 26, 2007

Talk about a book without reading it?

Yes, that's possible. And here's a book on this subject that claims to teach you how to fake it.

Pierre Bayard, a Paris University literature professor, has come out with a survivor’s guide to life in the chattering classes. “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read?” has become a best seller, with translation rights snapped up across Europe and under negotiation in Britain and the United States:

“We are taught one way of reading,” he said. “Students are told to read the book, then to fill out a form detailing everything they have read. It’s a linear approach that serves to enshrine books. People now come up to me to describe the cultural wounds they suffered at school. ‘You have to read all of Proust.’ They were traumatized.”

“They see culture as a huge wall, as a terrifying specter of ‘knowledge,’ ” he went on. “But we intellectuals, who are avid readers, know there are many ways of reading a book. You can skim it, you can start and not finish it, you can look at the index. You learn to live with a book.”

Full text here at NYT.


Scott Hughes said...

Why read a book about how to get away without reading books? Anyway, this is a good blog post. I'm going to post about it on the Book & Reading Forums.

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Scott. It's an intersting topic and could help a lot of people who want to fake how well-read they are. I guess there are a lot of people like that in the world.