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How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life Paperback – September 4, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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"I Had a Nice Time and Other Lies..."
The new book from the New York Times bestselling authors of "Nice Is Just a Place in France." Learn more | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Wilbur is a 10. That is, a 10 after adding up his three best features: Physique (3), Face (5), Personality (2).

Dan is a comedian, writer, and avid video game player living in Brooklyn, NY. He has read nearly half of nearly half of all the books he owns.

If you like Dan, even a little, it's probably because you've seen his writing or you're his parents. His writing is featured on Collegehumor.com, McSweeney's, the Onion News Network on IFC. Dan is the creator and editor of Better Book Titles. "How Not to Read: Harnessing the Power of a Literature-Free Life" (Perigee) is his first humor book.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; Original edition (September 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399537619
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399537615
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this book over a year ago but I haven't read it because I prefer to respect authorial intent.
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Format: Paperback
Don't fret about the title--Dan Wilbur wants you to read, his book and others, and if you have a sense of humor, you'll find How Not to Read completely charming. Wilbur's wonderful Tumblr, Better Book Titles, is represented here, but there's much, much more. It's a very funny book about how we interact with books, and will amuse anyone familiar with and/or interested in book culture. It's a book for book lovers, of course. An excellent present, too.
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Format: Paperback
I had brought a cold home with me from Germany. The sky was that fading blue where you're not really sure if the dawn or dusk was approaching. On my bookshelf I saw the red cover of this book and picked it up, flipped around its pages like a card dealer does with a new deck. Inside I found sentences, paragraphs, indents. It was then I realized that this was a book I owned.
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Format: Paperback
Being an English major and a major comedy afficianado, this book bridged my dual interests marvelously. Not only did I laugh out loud consistently, but I also felt the smug satisfaction of being smarter than the average American because I got a Gertrude Stein reference. I immediately passed this book along to one of my English Lit major friends who was also enthralled and excited. Dan is equal parts hilarious and brilliant and his book is only one small testament to his comedic and literary abilties.

Buy this book so Dan can afford to make me his assisstant!

-Tovah
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Format: Paperback
I'm so disappointed. This book had all the potential to be a hilarious satirical take on books, but instead read like a high schooler trying desperately to be funny with anatomical jokes and countless references to being high. Books are funny enough without needing to resort to making stuff up out of thin air. There are so many great out-of-context quotations that could have been used, or biographical snippets of authors' lives, but instead we get lowbrow jokes that weren't even remotely funny. There's a venn diagram at one point in this book containing 'people who love books' and 'people who hate other people' and it is a circle, and that just makes me think the author is not a reader and completely misses the point of reading. My reading venn diagram is a circle of 'people who love books' and 'people who love people' and I think this book seriously misses that point. I wish this had been written by a book lover, not a comedian looking for laughs. (Also, the last two chapters have nothing to do with reading. If I wanted writing or college advice, I would have picked up a different book.) I'm just really disappointed--it's a great concept and I am a huge fan of BetterBookTitles, and I think I expected a lot better out of this.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Honestly, you truly want my opinion on this book?

This BOOK?

If it can even be called that (which it can), this BOOK literally had me turning pages.

I have to be honest though, when I picked it up, I thought it was a tiny magazine, like an over-sized Archie comic. (Ironically enough, it does have roughly the same joke/page ratio that make Archie Brand comics so enjoyable.) Weighing it in my hand, it turned out to actually have the heft of a tiny book, a novella even. But I shouldn't even invoke the term novella, as this is a fully completed honest-to-god book.

It should be noted however that I did attend college with the author Mr. Wilbur. BUT, back then, he was known for his "verbal humor." The very thought of him "writing down" humor for others to digest later at their own leisure, was, and I do not use this term lightly, very "ironic." Ironic as the vast misappropriation of the word ironic in most people's vernacular? Certainly not, because that is quite literally the most ironic thing I can think of. But is it a rich and just irony that a funny-man who was so highly esteemed in the world of verbal comedy (named William-Patterson University's Funniest College Comedian in 2010) could become just as well renowned for literary humor? Well, dear reader ("dear" being a relative term as well), that is completely up to you.

With all of that being said (not technically, because I wrote it, like Dan, who as I have noted, is an author) this review could have used a much better editor. But "How Not To Read" had a perfectly adequate one, whoever it was. I didnt get that far.

-Nelson "Mandela was still in jail when I was born" James
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a hilarious, intelligent and strangely insightful into literary culture in the age of the internet. I have a kindle, but this is definitely worth owning a hard-copy of so you can flip to the middle and show people the photoshopped book covers. (The one Wilbur did for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn actually had me in tears I was laughing so hard.) This is my go-to holiday gift this year, ESPECIALLY for anyone that's ever set foot on a liberal arts college campus.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No really, I totally read this.

I particularly liked the part where I was eaten by a wolf.

Now I'm off to refrain from reading...
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