Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Do not judge a book by its cover

Written by: on December 5, 2019


Having an attractive title is vital for any book to be read or to not be read. Convincing people to read your book demands for a title that will make readers inquisitive and to ask questions like: what next, how and why this book is a must for one to read. Many books are in the stores and they have never been read because the title is not appealing. My testimony is that, I have some books in my shelf that have never been read by anyone, the reason being the title is boring and not appealing

After having a glance at the book How to Talk about Books you Haven’t Read by Bayard Pierre, I could not understand it immediately because how can one talk about a book that he has not read. It’s impossible because you can easily tell a lie. However, Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness affirms that:

Provocative and charming . . . Contrary to its attention-grabbing title, Bayard’s slim book isn’t a glib instruction manual aimed at philistines hungry for quick tips to impress their more literate friends at cocktail parties. Instead, it’s a thoughtful, often humorous, meditation on the myriad ways in which we encounter the written word and how the process by which we interact with text not only shapes our perceptions of an author’s work but also ultimately transforms our inner lives in a true act of creativity . . . Bayard’s book may strike some as a subversive, even dangerous, work….are likely to forsake any time soon the elemental pleasure that attaches to the simple act of curling up with a good book. (p. 186)[1]

Reading of a book enables one understand and interpret it according to what the author is communicating and after which one can talk about it with confidence. When we read and understand the book, it becomes easy to share the mind of the author with others. However, reading or not reading but discussing them are not necessarily mutually exclusive, affirms Bayard. In other words there is necessity to read because the concept of not reading is not clear, though interacting with books may not mean that you must read them. I learned from this book that ways of reading a book differ from one person to the other, thus one can skim, scan, read page by page and know a book from what others say about the book

Most people ask themselves different questions about the importance of reading of a book. An example of questions asked include: What do I retain from the book? Is there an independent way to read the book? How will the book benefit others? Why did the author write the book? I asked myself the same questions and the last one was; why did our professor choose this kind of book for us to read? Ultimately, I learned that the author does impress the idea of reading, scanning and skimming the book would be advisable

Steve Shapiro, Rainy Day Books (reviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition, in Bayard’s book alludes:

Bayard has devised a felicitous methodology to permit one to converse intelligently about books without shame: there’s skimming; reading reviews; making up stuff about what one has read and forgotten; and then, if one has completely run out of things to say about the book in question, Bayard suggests talking about oneself. Beneath his wry commentary (reminiscent of Alain de Button’s philosophical books on travel and architecture), Bayard views reading as one component of a larger social discourse with the world; to be able to chat about books via second-hand means is neither duplicitous to others nor demeaning to the author, who, after all, really only wants to know that one likes his book

The author shows ways of not reading the book: thus not opening a book at all and expressing personal thoughts on the books he had not read. In addition, the secrets of a good librarian are to read the titles and the table of contents, and the content of the book is in its larger part in the location. Skimming of books doesn’t prevent one from commenting about them and it’s a way to absorb books, respecting their inherent depth and richness without getting lost in the details. My take is that even skimming the book is part of reading and that is what Am doing in the the assignments. This leads to understanding the title and follow it in the book

Reading the book analytically, what came in my mind is that we need to read books so as to comment or reference them in our articles or books. Bayard in the second part of the book literary confrontations stresses the importance of reading. He says Reading remains the object kind of worship and you must read in order to talk about it with any precision. This can be done by reading quickly or skimming the book.

My own analysis of the delicate situations encountered in this book suggests that I have no other choice, in preparing to face such confrontations, than to accept a kind of evolution of my reading of a book regardless of the title. It is not enough for us simply to learn how to remain composed in these situations; I must deeply transform my relationship to books for better interpretation and referencing the same book. I should set a target of reading to remember through taking of notes; Bayard affirms, “Once forgetfulness has set in, he can use these notes to rediscover his opinion of the author and his work at the time of his original reading. We can assume that another function of the notes is to assure him that he has indeed read the works in which they were inscribed, like blazes on a trail that are intended to show the way during future periods of amnesia.[2]

Ultimately, as the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover, read it to know what is being communicated in the book. Bayard has spoken to me about reading of books


[1] Bayard, Pierre. How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (p. 186). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.


[2] Bayard, Pierre. How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read (pp. 51-52). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.


About the Author

Simon Bulimo

Born 1961 May 29th Went through High School Diploma in theology Degree in Bible and Theology Masters in Biblical Studies A pastor with Friends Church

Leave a Reply