Better later than never – how to talk about books you haven’t read

A post about my bloated For Later shelf aroused some sympathy from colleagues with one kind person bringing to my attention  a book called How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read.

A book I did not read in 2012

The author is Pierre Bayard, a literature professor at the University of Paris and a psychoanalyst – an ideal combination. He can furnish me with a system to get credit for having a list, indeed for even knowing about the books on it, and he can explain my compulsion to list all the books I want to read but haven’t.

The beauty of Bayard’s thesis is that you don’t actually have to read a book cover to cover in order to have it count.  I quote the learned Professor :

Non-reading is not just the absence of reading. It is a genuine activity, one that consists of adopting a stance in relation to the immense tide of books that prevents you from drowning.

His notation system did cause a couple of qualms – SB – Book I have skimmed  and HB – Book I have heard about are right up my alley and there will be lists as soon as I get around to creating them. BB – Book I have blogged about is a possible personal addition. But  UB – Book unknown to me and FB – Book I have forgotten are more of a worry.

If they are unknown or forgotten how can I add them to a list? Or perhaps that is an even more beautiful feature of this system. Non-list making is a genuine activity too.

One thought on “Better later than never – how to talk about books you haven’t read

  1. Marion 8 January 2013 / 10:06 am

    Mmmmm The words hole and digging spring to mind. Step away from the lists with your hands in the air.

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