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Talking About Books You Haven't Read

Ideas live in the spaces between texts.

One of my favorite insights from Pierre Bayard’s How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read is the counter-intuitive claim that someone who truly loves books would never dishonor them by reading one of them.

Time spent reading a single book is time not spent on all the millions of other books. Non-reading, for Bayard, is not the absence of reading. It’s a reflection on literature. It’s an understanding of how a book is situated in relation to other books.

Bayard’s is an intellectual’s take on books, one that’s informed by having read thousands upon thousands of books already. His is the belief that relationships between texts are more important than the texts themselves.

It’s the recognition that ideas live, not in texts, but in the spaces between texts.

For more context

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