How To Talk About Places You’ve Never Been

Bestselling author of How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read Pierre Bayard and Paul Holdengräber, Director of the program LIVE from the New York Public Library, will take readers on a trip around the world, giving us essential guidance on how to talk about all those fantastic places we’ve never been.

Practical, funny, and thought-provoking, How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been will delight and inform armchair globetrotters and jet-setters, all while never having to leave the comfort of the living room. In these pages, Bayard examines the art of the “non-journey,” a tradition that a succession of writers and thinkers, unconcerned with moving away from their home turf, have employed in order to encounter the foreign cultures they wish to know and talk about. He describes concrete situations in which the reader might find himself having to speak about places he’s never been, and he chronicles some of his own experiences and offers practical advice.

How to Talk About Places You’ve Never Been is a compelling and delightful book that will expand any travel enthusiast’s horizon well beyond the places it’s even possible to visit in a single lifetime.


Pierre Bayard is a professor of French literature at the University of Paris VIII and a psychoanalyst. He is the author of Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?, How to Talk about Books You Haven’t Read, and Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong.

Since joining the new York Public Library as the Director of Public Events in 2004, Paul Holdengräber has shared the stage with such icons as Christopher Hitchens, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Zadie Smith, Jay-Z, Rebecca Mead, Bill Clinton, Al Sharpton, and Junot Díaz. When asked about his approach to speaking with people, he quotes Laurence Sterne, who argued that “digression is the sunshine of narrative.” Before coming to New York, Holdengräber was the founder and director of the Institute for Art and Cultures at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2012 he kicked off The Paul Holdengräber Show on YouTube’s Intelligent Channel, a loose counterpart to the LIVE series. He also hosts a podcast for LitHub, entitled A Phone Call from Paul, and cherishes a deep longing to visit Naples, a place he’s never beenHoldengräber was named an Officer of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in 2012.