Friday, June 27, 2008
In Which We Talk About Different Ways Of Not Reading
Pierre Bayard describes in How To Talk About Books You Haven't Read four ways of not reading books:
Books You Don't Know: I don't recall a whole lot about this section. At this point, I was still wondering if Bayard was joking.
Books You Have Skimmed: I have to admit, I've had to do this many times. There are a lot of books out there that I feel I should be familiar with but find really dreadful. So once I decide that I'm too old to be wasting valuable hours of my life reading this dribble, I start skimming so that I have a feel for the work. Seriously, I think it's much better to have a feel for a book then to have no knowledge of it at all. As it turns out, Bayard agrees with me.
Books You Have Heard Of: Reading reviews, articles, and blog posts about books can give you a handle on the books' place in the booky scheme of things, or the collective library, as Bayard calls it.
Books You Have Forgotten: Sadly, we're going to forget a lot of what we read.
You know the way of not reading that Bayard doesn't cover in his book? Books you have read and not understood. Sophie's World comes immediately to my mind. Perhaps Bayard, being a French intellectual and all, has never experienced this kind of not reading.