Monday, January 10, 2011

How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard

I will be honest; this book confused me. Bayard did encourage me to think about reading in a new way by suggesting that the act of reading is not a seamless process, but rather one that contains contradictions and gradations. He also notes that books are not binary and do not exist for individuals as either read or unread (sounding like Derrida to anyone else?). The idea that not you should not read books but should instead talk about books that you have not read in order to be able to be creative and tell your own story is an interesting concept, but I am not sure that I agree. Basically, I am puzzled at what I should take away from this book or if I should have read it at all given that I contradicted the title.

And no, I have not read any of the books in the picture. To take a suggestion from Bayard, I am not ashamed to admit it.

Side note: I get a kick out of checking the back cover of books to see their classification. Incidentally, this book is classified as Popular Culture/Literary Studies (although I am redesignating it philosophy). For some reason, I find the fact that someone sits down and gives books identifying labels fascinating. I am adding that to my mental list of job possibilities: book classifier. So in that spirit of classification and tidy categories, I have tagged all of my previous entries. Looks like fiction was last year's winner followed closely by history (shocker).

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