DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jan 27 2009

How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read…

by Jnai W

question mark

I saw the title of this book in DCPL’s catalog and I was intrigued almost immediately. Often, as a library worker, I’m drawn into conversations about books I have not read.

“Do you know the latest James Patterson?”

“What are Eric Jerome Dickey’s books like?”

“Do you remember that passage in War and Peace…?”

The answer to these questions is “I don’t know”. Usually–and sometimes sheepishly–I’ll cop to the fact that I’m uninformed about a book. I love books as much as the next guy but it’s often difficult for me to keep up with the voracious book appetites of our patrons (you guys are Book Monsters!).  So I picked up the book How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (Bloomsbury) by Pierre Bayard. I haven’t actually completed it yet but judging by some of the chapter titles such as “Books You Have Forgotten,” “Imposing Your Ideas” and “Inventing Books,” I get the feeling that I’ll really enjoy it.

Digressing back to my point, book-honesty is always the best policy. Often I’ll just say “I haven’t read this book yet but I’ve heard great things,” which is true–usually. Saying something like this will usually provide an opening in conversation in which a literature-loving patron can gush about the merits of a book–his favorite passages, in-depth character analysis or critique of the book’s author.

Talking about book you haven’t read can be great fun so I look forward to reading Mr. Bayard’s book. I’ll let you know how it turns out if you like.

how to talk about books you haven't read

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hya Laurel January 27, 2009 at 2:27 PM

We also have Pierre Bayard’s book in the original French: Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus?

Ivy Hyden January 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

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