How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read

Every action involves an infinite amount of non-actions.

That’s deep.

I learned that while reading, somewhat distractedly on a plane and had to turn back and re-read it. A professor wrote a delightful book entitled How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. 


how to talk about books you haven't read


In it he began by bemoaning his lot in life as a literary professor who could not possibly read all the books he was expected to. Expected by university and students alike to have a working knowledge of all major works since the dawn of recorded time, no one could live up to such reading proficiency. Bayard discusses the benefits of skimming, familiarity, and thematic resonance possible to broaden his base of books from which he can speak intelligently about — even if he hasn’t actually read them.

Which made me feel a little bit better. I read fairly extensively, but it seems as I work my way through my list of read books, the list of unread and deserving to be read books lengthens exponentially. Thus in every decision to read, I pick up one book, and I at the same down leave thousand of books unread. Because time is a finite resource, this is true in all areas of life. Every action involves an infinite amount of non-actions.

Therefore, choose wisely.

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