The first section explores the four categories of unread books, into at least one of which Mr Bayard places every book he mentions. These are the “books unknown to me”, the “books I have skimmed”, the “books I have heard about” and the “books I have forgotten”. No exceptions are admitted, even for books he himself wrote.
The above is a book review of How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read. A book about not reading books! The author talks about four categories of unread books. Then the reviewer draws the similarity between books and people:
Your reviewer's mind wandered, as she explored ways of not reading this book. Surely, she thought, books are like people, who can be unknown to us, or heard of, or “skimmed” (perhaps met) or forgotten, but never truly known? But that is to leave out love—for people and for books.
Even though the author tries to make a case for not reading books -ironically through writing one– because they fall into one of the four categories, he misses out on the books we fall in love with which makes the whole experience worthwhile. Books and people have so much in common after all!