Oh, Pierre Bayard!

I am kidding. Which is, yes, a stupid attempt at a joke that ties in with the subject of this post, which is that book up there. I love that book. Okay, fine, I hated it at first, then I loved it, and then I got all weird because I felt dumb and then I felt proud because of the outrage that “proved” my dumbness. I am not making sense. Still, Pierre Bayard is a genius who had me reading his How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read twice—the first time because I was curious at this kind of audacity, soon snooty about this kind of stupidity, ultimately bursting with outrage, keening, “This better be a joke!” in a very public place; the second time because I came to my senses and realized my [characteristic] lack of depth: it is a joke (well, a satire), and a rather terrifying, well-argued, and eloquent one at that.

That breathless and inane paragraph is an attempt to say that there is no way I can write about this awesome book, an attempt I will now stop because, well, there is no way I can write about this awesome infuriating, illuminating, humbling, and all-around crazypants book. Good lord, Bayard, if I could type and slow-clap at the same time, I would do so.

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5 comments

  1. Awesome! I just got a copy of this book, and was hoping I would like it. Glad to hear you did.

    1. I hope you enjoy it! I think (maybe!) it’ll help that you already know it’s all satire. Bayard’s just awesome; I was horrified by a lot of things he said when I thought he really believed in them–mostly because the language was so spot-on and lyrical yet clear, very very eloquent. I think I highlighted 80% of the book?

      I’ve found that very few pieces labeled satire succeed in getting a rise in me. Must be because most satire’s so enamored by their own state of satire-ness. Bayard was just self-assured; his arguments would always be well-put, and the tone was just complete unfaze-ment about whatever reaction he might draw. I realize that if I had not found out that I shouldn’t really have been frothing at the mouth, I would have eventually let the book stand as a poetics-of-reading piece, regardless of how heavily I disagree with it.

      [And one of the most startling things, I guess, was that I didn’t even really disagree with everything he said, haha.]

  2. Love the idea of this book, must be hilarious.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

    1. Reading it the first time, it’s actually quite far from hilarious. It’s got its academia-poetics tone down pat, see, and I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by how much I disagreed with his [idiotic] points. But, well, it got really funny after I realized that it was satire, haha.

  3. […] How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, by Pierre Bayard. […]

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