Umberto Eco insists that he read Pierre Bayard's book, How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read or at least skimmed it.
In the July 26th edition of L'Espresso Eco writes, "The most intriguing part of this pamphlet, less paradoxical than may first appear, is that we forget a high percentage of the books we actually read, in fact, we conjure a virtual image of sorts, not so much of what the book said, but of what it made us think about"
Bayard's seemingly paradoxical book makes the case for literary laziness. In How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read, Bayard argues that the key to appreciating the classics is through a quick skim, not deep immersion; cover to cover isn't merely impractical, it's downright passe- New York Public Library
Pierre Bayard is a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII and a psychoanalyst. He is the author of Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? and many other books.
Umberto Eco teaches Semiotics and is the president of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici at the University of Bologna.
In 1980, Eco debuted as a novelist with The Name of the Rose, for which he received the Strega Award. He is also the author of History of Beauty. His new book is On Ugliness and Turning Back The Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Umberto Eco says that it is impossible for a person to read every important book ever published, but by attending school, we can learn to converse intelligently about important books without having to read them.