How to talk about books you haven't read


I love reading, and have far more books than I could ever read. By that I mean reading them from cover to cover, word for word.

Most people on seeing my small library of books, often ask 'have you read them all?', meaning, have I read every word of them. The answer I give is yes and no.

There are many ways to read books, and I get to teach some study skills courses that help students find different ways to read books for different purposes.

When I'm on holiday I have to slow down to read a good sci fi book from cover to cover, I'm so used to reading a book quickly.

So my interest was piqued when I heard this book reviewed on BBC radio 4. A best seller in France, and translated into English, it has been provocative and controversial.

This small, slim, witty book is far more than a study skills book in reading approaches. It is about our relationship with books, the ones we read, the ones we don't but are aware of and talk about, our status as 'non readers', and as readers of books we have forgotten.

It playfully lifts the veil on people who review books they have never read, people who reference books they have not been near, as well as exploring and valuing the many other ways and reasons for relating to a book.

I have read the book, and it reminded me that books are not just things to buy and read from cover to cover, word for word. But that books live in our lives in so many other amazing ways.