How to talk about books you haven’t read

Cultural event, among the intellectuals, talking about the book, in which every respectable man must somehow navigate. What to do when you are not familiar with it, as not to embarrass myself with dignity and to maintain a conversation, knows Pierre Boyard – author of “the Art of talking about books you didn’t read”.
The cult of impeccable scholarship

It is not necessary to open the book to Express her authoritative statement, although it professionals may not like.

The informal rule of the intellectuals says: not reading books is unacceptable, but it is even more inappropriate, even indecent, to read “diagonally” or only cursorily flipping the pages, and to confess it.

So, it is unthinkable for a teacher-scholar to confess that he had read Proust but only in some places, but not from beginning to end, although most did just that.

Teacher at University Paris VIII, a specialist of literary outrage, and expert in psychoanalysis Pierre Boyard assures quite the opposite: “not-reading” is useful. In addition, the conversation about the book you didn’t read it, can be extremely addictive, even with someone who didn’t read it.

Discussion about any book – scope for creativity

Situations when you have to talk about an unfamiliar book, can put us in a very awkward position. However, a forced conversation about the works, the meaning of which we do not know, should not be taken as a burden, fear or remorse.

The virtual space of discussion about books is a large uncertainty affecting both parties that I can’t exactly say that they have read or not read, and indeed changing the subject of discussion.

Pierre Boyard notes that statements about the book similar to the interpretation in psychoanalysis: it completely depends on the time when occurs and is meaningful only during this period. That is, in conversation about the book important is not so much the book itself, how the immediate moment of the exchange of views and experiences.



Using all that you know (name, text, or invented the exact quote), you can immerse yourself in a world of many meanings and semantic virtual lines, in the limitless space of creativity.

Tips on case conversations about unread book

  • Don’t be shy.
  • “In addition to money and relationships, there are few areas of life that have been so hard to hear the truth from them, how about read the book”.

    You can never know what books read your partner. He might know about this book no more than you, therefore, will feel as insecure.

  • To convince of their ideas.
  • It is easy to convince others of the correctness of your opinions, because the book is not a frozen object, if you bind it with twine and mark a line with ink, anyway to stop that movement will not succeed.

    None of the text is unambiguous or the only correct interpretation. In this case, the relevance of your opinion depends on the ability to speak.

  • To come up with a book.
  • Getting into the critical space, the book is changed, turns on the relationship between text and people; should be ready at any moment to form the thought already about this new moving object.

    If your statement rightly said, there is nothing wrong to accept that you were wrong. Even the most serious readers gradually forget the books that consider familiar.

  • Talking about myself
  • I don’t read books that have to write a review, it’s so easy to fall under their influence.

    So thought Oscar Wilde, arguing that the normal length of the reading – 10 minutes If you read more, you risk to forget that all this is just an excuse for writing autobiography.

    Literature and art criticism to have the same secondary importance as nature for the writer or artist. Book can “revive” the thoughts of the reader, but at the same time it can close to him that he is unusual.

    The paradox of reading is that the way to himself is through a book. To pass it, not worth it to stay.

    Photo: stock-up.

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