A friend of mine [thanks Elizabeth!] sent this NYT article to me. The author, a literature professor, argues that reading an entire book isn't necessary. Skimming it, reading reviews, or scanning the index provides enough information to discuss the book. He even says:
“To be able to talk with finesse about something one does not know is worth more than the universe of books,” he writes.I've tried several times to read Moby Dick but I never get past "Call me Ishmael".
Perhaps that is enough?