Today’s question was:
To me well-read implies the amount, the quality and the variety of things you read. A person could be reading 100 books per year but all be chick-lit of no depth and where the most complicated figure of speech is a clichéd metaphor. I wouldn’t call that person well-read. Whereas someone else could be reading 10 books a year but include in those different genres, writing eras and of differing writing quality and styles. That person, would in my opinion be considered well-read.
Personally, I try to be what I define as well-read. I would like to consider that, especially for someone my age, I am indeed well read, and that being well-read gives me a certain degree of authority to critique books beyond ‘the story was so nice’ or ‘it was a very long book’ (which I keep hearing from people who read a lot, but with no variety whatsoever).
There are of course some genres that I tend to favor. Historical fiction, classic sci-fi, adventure and fantasy, YA fiction, chick-lit, Victorian writers and travel writing for non-fiction. However, I do try to read books not belonging to those categories.
I have read all of Asimov (even the non-fiction book about the cell), all but one of Jane Austen, and I could tell you a thing or two about turgent body parts. But, the fact that a book doesn’t happen to fall in one of my genres doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy it. One of my favourite books is Lazarillo de Tormes, a 16th-century picaresque spanish novella, hardly what anyone would expect me to be reading. If I had banned that book from my pile of possible reads just because I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it, I would have missed a great book.
And, I think, that in the end, that is exactly what makes me a well-read person: I can enjoy and appreciate a book for its literary qualities going beyond a nice story or a likable character.
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