How to Talk about Books You Haven't Read

  • by Pierre Bayard
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 4 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The truly cultivated person is not the one who has read a book but the one who understands the book's place in our culture. Using examples from authors and movies, Bayard examines the many kinds of "non-reading" and urges us to consider what reading means and how we absorb books as a part of ourselves.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

At least it's short

I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book. Looking back at the publisher's summary, it's pretty dead on. I have three complaints about the book:

1) The author appears to believe that the only reason to read a book is to be able to say that you've read it. He goes on to explain that not only is it not necessary to actually read the book in order to make that claim, actually reading it before making that claim is a waste of time.

2) The writing is extremely academic; lots of "one can see" and "ibid" and "op cit". I suspect that part of this is due to the translation process from French to English. Perhaps another translator would have come up with a more listen-able book.

3) As described in the publisher's summary, he uses examples from film and literature to make his points. What the summary leaves off is: he EXCLUSIVELY uses these types of sources to support his point. He seems to have forgotten that these are all fictional, and so they don't really represent actual people discussing books they've never read. Someone else made up all their interactions; they're not real. They don't prove any points, they prove that in a fictional universe, where everything is created at the author's whim, these points have validity.

If it weren't for some interesting discussion about what it means to have read a book, it'd be zero stars. Also, since it's only about 4.5 hrs, it's over quickly.
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- Amazon Customer


Very witty, but not essential to those who like reading. The narrator was very good.
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- Judith

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-11-2008
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.