Author(s): Pierre Bayard
In this disarmingly mischievous and provocative book, already a runaway bestseller in France, Pierre Bayard contends that in this age of infinite publication, 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. Drawing on examples from works by Graham Greene, Umberto Eco, Oscar Wilde, Montaigne (who couldn't remember books he himself had written), and many others, he examines the many kinds of 'non-reading' (forgotten books, unknown books, books discussed by others, books we've skimmed briefly) and the many potentially nightmarish situations in which we are called upon to discuss our reading with others (with our loved ones, with the book's author, etc).At heart, this is a book that will challenge everyone who's ever felt guilty about missing some of the Great Books to consider what reading means, how we absorb books as part of ourselves, and how and why we spend so much time talking about what we have, or haven't, read.
'A foxy French bestseller, this theoretical jeu d'esprit - is the perfect gift for dinner-party pseuds' Daily Telegraph 'Rich, meaty and immensely enjoyable' Sunday Times 'Brilliant stuff' The Times 'A witty and painfully accurate analysis of the ways in which we get acquainted with literature and the part it can play in our lives' Independent 'A guide to maintaining a healthy, guilt-free relationship with books. I found it liberating' New Statesman
Pierre Bayard is a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII and a psychoanalyst. He is the author of Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? and many other books.