Thursday, January 17, 2008

Among the books I found through Dwight Garner’s blog is this one: How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard. The French title is “Comment parler des livres qu l’on n’a pas lus?” which is slightly more subtle because of the question mark. Anyway, the book basically demands to be skimmed, not read, because it is just what you guessed and what everyone who passed a language or literature or any class at all, I think, knows how to do anyway. I found the most “useful” bit in the beginning of the book, where the author presents a set of symbols for citing and discussing books.
UB book unknown to me
SB book I have skimmed
HB book I have heard about
FB book I have forgotten
And then a set of opinions from - - through – and + to ++, regardless of whether the book has been read or not.
In general I don’t disagree, especially because all books are more or less forgotten after reading – or even during, if the bookmark stays in too long.
Therefore I’d think that the FB is just a facetious way of saying RB – read book, and should be listed as such.
I’d also amend the symbols to include, as a subcategory of HB: SM – seen the movie, and HM – heard about the movie.
Also, UB makes no sense, otherwise how could the book even be mentioned?

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