How to Not Read a Book

“On pretending to have read books: It is an art in itself”

(from The Critic)

If you are going on to a TV discussion panel, then three professional reviews are required.

One from The Critic (obvs); one from say, the LRB or Prospect, just so you know what Lefty nonsense someone is likely to spout; and a third, ideally right wing and American, to loosen the jaw again.

Pair this with the first twenty pages of the book itself, downloaded as a free Kindle “sample”, to familiarise oneself with the author’s stated intentions and stylistic irregularities and you are in a better place to discuss it than some poor sap who has merely read the thing itself and has only their own uncredentialed opinions to fall back on.

For most occasions, an even more efficient approach is to cull an understanding of the work from its Amazon reviews.