By all rights, I shouldnt have to read this book. After all,
Pierre Bayard begins with an epigraph from Oscar Wilde: "I never read a book I
must review; it prejudices you so." But I did read it, swiftly, ferociously, and
with a pen in hand. Many times I underlined a sentence I admired, such as this
one: "He who pokes his nose into a book is abandoning true cultivation, and
perhaps even reading itself." But just as often, I underlined in fierce
disagreement. This book isnt, finally, about books, but about book
conversation, and I had a particularly lively one with it.
Bayard takes the deliberately perverse stance that non-reading
is an activity that should be defended and even taught. His argument begins by
noting the conundrum which pinions the educated reader: on the one hand, our
universities inculcate in us the value of exhaustively...
Beyond the Book
Pierre Bayard was born in 1954. He is a professor of literature
at the University of Paris VIII, as well a practicing psychoanalyst. He has
written over a dozen books, most of which have not been translated into English.
Bayard's best-known work in English prior to How to Talk
about Books You Haven't Read
is a work of literary detection entitled Who
Killed Roger Ackroyd?
, published in 2000. In this book, Bayard dares to
suggest that Hercule Poirot's solution to one of Agatha Christie's best-loved
mysteries, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
, is incorrect and that Christie
has deliberately deceived the casual reader. On his way to...