Why Do We Want to be “Well Read”? | Discussion


Hi everyone. I’m Rincey and this is Rincey
Reads. Today I want to do a little bit of a discussion video slash me asking you a question
video. So recently Book Riot put up a video asking
their viewers basically what do you consider the definition of well read to be. And then
Nancy from Nancy Reads also put up a video kind of talking about what her definition
of ‘well read’ is. I will have links to both of their videos down in the description in
case you haven’t seen them, you can check them out for yourself. When the Book Riot video went up, I didn’t
respond because I didn’t quite know how to answer that question basically. And then once
Nancy put up her video, I kept thinking about it more and more. And I also kept thinking
about like why I couldn’t come up with an answer. And I felt like every time I would
think about it, my brain would basically just go “why does anyone want to be well read?” Like I feel like “well read” is one of those
weird qualifiers, I shouldn’t say weird, but it’s like a qualifier or a descriptor that
people really want applied to themselves and don’t completely understand why. And this
is me, like I’m going to try so hard not to sound like I’m being a jerk about this because
I legitimately don’t understand. I think it’s kind of one of those words where
it sounds nice if someone like describes you as being well read. Like that’s meant to be
a compliment. It’s sort of like the words “beautiful” or “smart”. They are words that
have positive connotations, but no one can really define those words. Like “well read”,
“beautiful”, “smart” – they’re all sort of like subjective things. Like what I consider
beautiful isn’t necessarily what any of you consider beautiful. And what I consider smart
isn’t what any of you guys might consider smart. And, therefore, what I consider well
read isn’t what any of you guys consider well read. So I never quite understood the need
to “achieve” any of those terms for yourself because it all varies from one person to another. I feel like the word “well read” is sort of
like a “keeping up with the Jones” type of term for people who like to read. Everyone
sort of has this weird standard in their head of “I need to read these specific books and
then I’ll be a well read person.” I don’t like that very much because I hate the idea
that there are certain books that you HAVE to read. Like technically, no. I mean, there
are books that are good for you to read in the sense of like, if you want to be aware
of like the literary cannon, like read these books. Or if you want to understand sort of,
like, the historical aspects of evolution of literature. Or you want to understand references
that other books might make to things that have happened in the past or writings of the
past. Like obviously that all makes sense to me. But when it comes right down to it,
there are no books that anyone ever HAS to read. Like you’re not gonna die because you
haven’t read certain books. Um, Amanda says this in the Book Riot video, but you don’t
get a special seat in Heaven for reading all of Dickens. And I feel like it’s one of those terms where
it’s also like, you’re never necessarily going to achieve the title of “well read”. Or even
if like say you came up with these are the 10 books that I need to read, I just made
up a really low number, ok let’s say, these are the 100 books that I need to read. And
once I read these 100 books I will be considered a well read person. There’s a very good chance
that once you read all those books, you’ll realize there are other books that are related
to those books that you need to read in order to like REALLY be well read. Or once you read
those 100 your definition of what well read will change and evolve because I feel like
that’s, again, a term that’s very malleable and varies from person to person. And as you
move in your life you’ll realize that well read might not be what you thought it might
be. So I feel like it’s this standard that no
one is ever actually going to achieve. And I don’t want it to sound like I’m against
pushing yourself or challenging yourself. Or, you know, I’m not against reading classics,
obviously. I always talk about, like, read diversely and read outside your comfort zone.
Like those are videos that I’ve actually made on my channel. But I think reading the things just because
you want other people to think you’re well read isn’t necessarily a good thing. Like
you should never really read for other people or so that way you’ll look good to other people.
Like I think it’s understandable if you want to read certain books because you want to
be part of the conversation. That makes sense to me. I understand if you want to read books,
again, because you want to have the background and the knowledge that other people have.
Like being well versed in the “literature canon” and things like that. Like all of that
makes sense to me. But I think it’s just like the title of “well read” just feels like this
goal or achievement that almost feels like a waste of time. And I feel like it also something
that makes people feel bad about themselves because they don’t consider themselves well
read. I watched Nancy’s video and she gave this
definition of well read which I really liked in terms of like, I think it’s an admirable
goal to achieve. Like she thinks in reading diversely in terms of race and gender and
things like that, but reading diversely in terms of genre, as well as pushing yourself
and challenging yourself and reading things that aren’t necessarily easy, both in the
actual written word as well as the topics that are covered. And I liked all of that.
But then she goes on to say that she’s not well read, but she is working towards it.
And I listened to that and I was like, Nancy you basically fit your definition already.
I mean, in my opinion, I feel like she fits the definition. And I started thinking about
it and I feel like no one would necessarily categorize themselves as well read. But, if
you think about it, all of us who are here on BookTube, we’re like the 1% in terms of
reading. Like we read an extraordinarily high amount. I would say like the majority of us
or a significant portion of us read pretty diversely or try to read diversely. And yet
if we aren’t well read, like who is. Like who is this imaginary person who is the well
read person that we’re holding ourselves as a standard to. Again, this probably just all comes down to
the fact that well read is a weird word because there is no exact definition of it. And so
I feel like well read is something that shouldn’t necessarily be a goal for us. Like I feel
like there are different things or better things that we could be trying with our reading
lives. Like being widely read might be better. Or being like diversely reading might be better.
Like things like that I feel like are much more valuable because you can actually make
conscious efforts in that direction. If you just said ‘my goal is to be well read’ I would
actually have to be like ‘what does that actually mean?’ Or if even someone called themselves
well read and didn’t feel like they needed to be pressured into reading other books,
I feel like you are closing yourself off because you will feel like you’re already at this
point. Sometimes I think about it like if I called myself well read, does that mean
like I don’t need to read any other books ever? Like that doesn’t seem right either.
So, I don’t know. I just keep thinking about it and I just keep going back to like why
do we want to be well read? Like what is the benefit of it. I guess part of it is that
like we feel like if we were a well read people, we’d be “better” people. But I don’t think
a person’s worth or value is really based on the books that they’ve read. Like I totally
get like books can help change us and can open up our minds and teach us things and
all of that good stuff. But I don’t necessarily say like just because a person has read books
1 through 100 on this list they are a great person. So yeah, that’s my really quick discussion.
Feel free to leave your thoughts down below either let me know, like, why you would want
to be considered well read and what you definition of well read is. Feel free to disagree with
me. I’m not even completely sure like my own thoughts. I feel like this is still something
I’m mulling over and chewing on and trying to figure out. Because I just keep thinking
about it and I just kind of felt like I needed to talk it out a little bit. So feel free
to disagree with me and try to convince me otherwise because I will happily listen to
other people’s opinions on this topic. So yeah, that’s all I have for now and thanks
for watching.

56 thoughts on “Why Do We Want to be “Well Read”? | Discussion

  1. For me, "well read" means reading diversely, and not excluding books because of their genre. I think that maybe I would change "well read" to "reading well" – we are all reading for pleasure, and we all encourage each other to read the things that we get the most excited about, and that above all should be what is important. 

  2. Interesting question. I think we all want to be "well read" because it's one of those prestigious labels that we can aspire to and achieve. I also think it can be a problematic label because it can so often be tied into snobbish attitudes about what genres contribute to being well read and how it defines a person's intelligence. I think instead we should aspire to be well-rounded readers by reading more diversely and actively reading outside our comfort zone. 
    Great video, loved hearing your thoughts!

  3. I will admit that I've wanted to be 'well-read' all my life – and though people say to me that I am, I don't feel I'm well-read at all. I always aspire to read more and broaden my literary horizons. Will I ever feel I've achieved that label? Probably not. But I read, above all things, because I love to read. At the end of the day, that is more important to me than a label. 

  4. I can't exactly describe what well-read means, but like some other comments I think that being well-read has to do more with trying to fit some certain intellectual image than it actually has to do with wanting to know any of the information contained in any of the books we plan on reading. Lots of times I feel like I was want to read things like Moby Dick or Ulysses not because I actually WANT to read Moby Dick or Ulysses but because it would prove to people that I could. Of course I understand even now that that this is very stupid, but at the same time there is still that impulse.

  5. I feel like well-read is the equivalent of people who like to brag about listening to classic rock music. It's just a pretentious label to make us feel smarter I guess. Still I mean…idk well-read to me basically means having a pretty good understanding of the classics and I thought that would be kinda fun but turns out trying to achieve that kinda takes the fun out of reading. Still, the definition of well-read for me changes the more I meet new people tbh

  6. I've had discussions before about what it means to be well read with a few of my friends and we too could not define it . However, one of my friends made the comment that he originally started reading because pop culture (whether it be music or a favorite tv show) would often allude to classics or stories from literature (kind of like inside jokes or Easter eggs or nods to their favorite author that inspired them) that someone who is "well read" might notice, as opposed to someone who doesn't read. Take a disney movie from when you were younger and visit it again now as more experienced adult and their are often inside jokes that you never knew. Well read I feel like maybe means the broadening of your horizons and understanding more than you would. But great video.

  7. I think focussing on the term itself is a bit like focussing on the destination rather than the journey. It's similar, in a way (maybe in many ways), to wanting to be a "good" or "open-minded" person in that you don't just achieve "good"/"open-minded"; it's a constant process with no "certified well-read person license" at the end. I don't find it depressing at all, though (in the same way that I don't find my TBR or reading challenges depressing). There's constantly stuff to read and each book adds something, even if it doesn't seem like it would and it doesn't really matter if I ever achieve it as long as it's enjoyable (or maybe even not always so enjoyable, but at elast forcing me to confront new things…?).
    I do like the idea of being more specific about what that term means, though.

  8. I get where you're coming from! For myself, I consider the term "well-read" to be a very personal thing, rather than a showy-offy sort of lifestyle. And I'm so flattered you think I am, but I definitely have a few areas to work on. I actually like the term "widely read," and I definitely think I'd consider myself that way. 😀

  9. I totally agree. No one way to be 'well-read'. I also think it's an outdated term and is a little laden with something that makes me wince. The term dates back to the 1500s when reading was exclusively for the privileged few – only those who could read and had access to books could read widely. Being "well-read" was very prestigious and meant you were part of the upper classes. I think this idea, like many things in our culture, has carried through the centuries which might influence why people want the label "well-read". Not that it is a conscious "I want to be part of high culture" but it is definitely drenched in status, I think. Today, so many people don't have access to books or even access to the education they need to even read. I think there is something more at play with the term and our need to appear "well-read".

    Not that we shouldn't challenge ourselves to read more things, if we have the resources. But I think our need to appear "well-read" (especially in the classics) comes from a time when reading was very much apart of a culture only accessible to the upper classes. Like you said, it's kinda just a construct we've created….and I think we've created it from those images of the "fancy white dude who has a lot of books" in the 16th century and onwards. I dunno!

  10. Great discussion video Rincey. I've never given that phrase much weight but I guess subconsciously I have made it a goal to read more diversely this year genre wise so that I just can experience what's out there instead of placing myself in a box.

  11. You say so much in your video, I'm not sure how/which to respond to, haha! I guess for me, "well-read" is not a value judgement. That is, to say someone is "well-read", I don't suggest that person is better than someone who is not, it's more just a description. I think I take it as you say, someone who is knowledgeable about the literature canon and who reads widely in various topics, genres, classics and contemporary, who has that reading experience to draw correlations between patterns in works and culture and references between them, etc. It's kind of academic, but it doesn't always have to be. I think, to that extent, someone would wish or aim to be "well-read" not so much so as to be able to apply the label to themselves (though I guess you might get a person like that) but more to have that perspective. I do think we tend to describe other people as "well-read" rather than ourselves, because it does come off as boasting.

    I left a comment on Nancy's video as well, who even knows if I am saying relatively the same thing in both of them, haha! 😀 I'm soooo changeable!

  12. When I hear the term well read I think of someone who has read a lot across different genres. You and Amanda mentioned being widely read, which I think is a better description of what I consider to be well read. My 2015 reading goal will be to become widely read formally known to me as well read. I hope what I wrote makes sense…lol 🙂

  13. Hmm I don't think that wanting to be well-read automatically means that you want to boast. It really sucks that this seems to be the general opinion. God forbid someone might actually enjoy reading classics lmao.

    Some may want to challenge themselves, which is something that books in general can do (whether they're the dreaded and unpopular classics, or contemporary books, or graphic novels), or they might want to develop their own opinion on a text others have read and enjoyed/hated. Reading should be able to make someone think about various topics and help him/her discuss what they've read. And honestly, that person will be more well-read than someone who reads just for the sake of it and doesn't take the time to process what they've just read (regardless of the type of books they prefer).

  14. I generally associate the term 'well read' with academic types, so I've never really aspired to be that, or have my reading be that way. For me it does seem like a kind of useless term but perhaps that's because I've never felt the want to be labelled it. I do love what you said about being well read isn't the same as being a good person. 

  15. YES. I hadn't thought about it this way. I always want to read MORE, but I rarely read widely. I'm trying to come up with a personal challenge to read something different for every 2-3 books I read. There definitely is no such thing as a perfect reader!

  16. Interesting thoughts, Rincey. I think I agree that being well-read shouldn't be a goal in itself, as in, just wanting to claim that title. The goals of reading widely and diversely and outside your comfort zone are much more identifiable goals so we can understand their inherent value. And I think the connection here might be that being well-read perhaps used to mean reading the literary canon (of dead white men, pretty much) but has since grown to mean widely and diversely!

  17. You're spot on with the whole ambiguity of the term. I guess I generally associate being "well read" with having read widely (a selection of classics, contemporary, poetry, nonfiction, etc.) or deeply in a specific area (like being well read in classics). I think the pressure for students (like myself) studying English might be different, because there's the pressure to be "scholarly" as well–you want to be able to say you've read something when it comes up in conversation so you seem like a legitimate English major. Which again comes back to caring too much what other people think of you, and you're right, it kind of hinders you from exploring more deeply into the stuff you're genuinely interested in.

  18. I consider well read to be more classics-based and branching out to read across genres and styles. I have been called well-read but I consider that term to be elusive. A tiny part of me reads classics for bragging rights but overall I've always read stuff because I want to be part of the conversation and develop my own opinions, not to term myself as well-read.

  19. The only time well read should mean anything is if it pertains to your career or studies at school/college. Otherwise it's just a personal goal/attribute you can set for yourself or maybe amongst your friends or book club. Good video!

  20. Some very interesting discussion points Rincey. You've certainly got me thinking.

    For some reason I've always assumed that the term 'well read' applied more to non-fiction than to fiction, that 'well read' means being knowledgable in a variety of subjects including some fiction, but mostly fact. It's strange though, because we'd probably consider a person who has a doctorate in Victorian literature or a field of biochemical science to be 'well read', yet they are probably only well read in their subject, not in a wider sense.

    There's also the factor of age. I might be well read for a 22 year old, but compared to someone twice my age I'm only scratching the surface. 

    Maybe 'well read' is something that we can only aspire to. It's a concept too vague for us to know when we've achieved it.

  21. I totally get your point – but I am someone who wants to be well-read. I don't care what other people think, nor do I think any one else cares how much I read or what I've read. I care. I feel like each time I read a piece of literature that is well lauded or deep, or meaningful, or well written or just enjoyable, I understand a little more about the books that came after it. I also read a lot of historical "sensational" or gothic crap for the sheer joy of it.

    For instance – I was really offended by that BBC list that came out that said "the BBC thinks you've only read 6 of these 100 (made important by somebody) books". Well, I was very proud that I had read 50 of them….and it kept bugging me there were so many others on that list I had never even heard of. They had classics as well as modern classics and even just popular books on that list. So I've challenged myself to read the other 50.

    So now I can say that I have read (and disliked) Moby Dick and Bird Song, I suffered through 60% of Les Miserables and 40% of Middlemarch before giving up on them, and I fell in love with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and The Secret Garden. I still have 100 Years of Solitude, The Shadow of the Wind and many other books I might not have heard of or tried to read ahead of me. The thing is, I'm not doing it for anyone else. I love to read and want to be well read, if only for myself.

    I don't know if I answered your question….it's just that with so many centuries of books behind us, how can we ever know when we are well read? Do you reach a point where you've checked off all these books and then stop? If that were the case, I'd agree with you about it being silly. But as a reader, I read. Regardless of whether anyone calls me "well-read".

    However- excellent video and a lot of really great points. 🙂

  22. I think well read is an inclusive, maybe generic, way of saying a person is widely read or well versed. I feel like it's a generic descriptor. Like saying The chair is blue. But what shade of blue, dark, light? Is it green blue, purple blue, etc etc.

    When I think of well read (which I identify as widely/diversely read), I think of it more as a verb. It's something someone is doing, it will never be something someone has attained, finished. Does that make sense? It's everlasting. Reading a certain number of books or a certain list of books doesn't = well read. Well read = continuously reading new (not as in current, but new to the person) books on different topics/genres.

    In summary… sorry I rambled… I think well read is obtuse and a more descriptive term should be used if one wants to describe someone in that way. I had other thoughts.. I should've made notes!
    Great video! Interesting topic!

  23. Such an interesting video! Even though "well read" is arbitrary and can be a moving target, and also personal to each changing person, it still could be an important term. I think that people want to be well read because it indicates that the person makes a conscious effort to be well informed and well versed in perspectives and other people's stories.

  24. I don't really care if people are "well read" or not. I just want everyone to be "read." I don't personally care about being "well read" either. I read, I'm happy. That's all.✌️

  25. I love this topic as my parents consider me and generation not well-read and we had a loooong discussion on this topic. Now that I see you touching this topic I decided to make a video response, I hope you watch it 🙂
    What does it mean to be well read? Video response

  26. I like widely read or a voracious reader. I think of "well read" as the amount of books not necessarily "what" you ready I thought "well read" meant the amount you books a person reads.
    I have heard of well read never contemplated those words before. Anyways excellent video. I like Widely Read or Voracious Reader. Reading should be an enjoyment and pleasure no one should ever feel excluded for not reading a particular author or book. Unless, that author is John Green… Then You definitely should awful about yourself. (HAHAHA it's a JOKE)! Great Video!

  27. I admit I do feel like I need to read certain works of the canon. Not so much for other people but I feel like I would be missing out if I don't.

  28. We want to be well read so that Mr Darcy will consider us accomplished. Or is that only me? (In case you can't tell, I am kind of, probably, joking here. Sort of.)

  29. A thought-provoking video Rincey ^_^. I think to be "well read" is such an ambiguous term. It can be a positive or negative label. Just like Nancy I also have this thing to be "well read". It is kind of a very personal quest for me. As an avid reader, I certainly have lists of authors and books that I want to read to maybe feel like I am "well read" in this lifetime. My list can be a good thing for me but others might not be impressed with the list coz you know books can be subjective too as you pointed out and I agree. It is not a set list coz books are continually produced and I am sure there are brilliant new books that will be added tomorrow and in the future. To be "well read" does comes off as a highfalutin word so it is odd to say it out loud and say I am one. I agree with you that that word is more like a compliment. Reading for me is a lifetime quest so I don't think I'd stop one day and say I am done with reading coz I am already "well read". I am the type of person who likes history and origins and when and why , and how so reading continues to be a personal journey for me. I read for me too. It does not give one a better seat in heaven when one is "well read" but it will make me feel at least that I've read "diversely" and have tried to continually challenge my reading. I am an insatiable reader. I am sure you can relate to that 🙂

  30. I don't think that being well read needs to be a value based judgement, but I think it is often associated with some type of character value. I don't really hear the term "well-read" being tossed around that often, and I don't think anyone really fits the mythically high standards I have set in my brain on what that definition really means. What I do know is that it can be used as an elitist term, and aspiring to be well read is the same as aspiring to have the most sophisticated taste in art, music, or style. I agree that it is totally subjective, which I had never really thought of before, but like music or art, I don't think that it is a universally applicable status that can be applied to some, not others. Some people like thinking they have the best and most diverse taste. Here on BookTube, I think we all have aspirations to read more and be more "well-read," but that has become such a loaded term in the cultural lexicon that it has defied actual achievement. That's why I don't think we use it, even though we all want to read more, for whatever reason. We aspire to read a certain number of books or pages, we aspire to read diversely, and in a way that's striving to be well read, in a way.

  31. I've never really thought about being "well read." I've always wanted to be a well-rounded reader: read different kinds of genres about different experiences & places beyond what I have experienced myself or heard from friends &/or family. When I was a kid & 1st heard someone say "well read" I thought they were talking about a book they'd written. When I came to understand what the term was actually supposed to mean it came off to me like a greeting card holiday: something invented to boost book sales. Lol. But then, my term isn't any different from what you have defined as your definition of "well read." So when you get down to it, being well read is beautiful & smart. 🙂

  32. I have to admit that I've never really given the definition of 'well-read' much thought, but listening to your thoughts, I agree with a lot of what your saying, especially in regards to it being so subjective.

    And I really liked what you were saying about people in the booktube community not considering themselves well-read – I think it's true, no matter how many books people read, it's very rare to hear someone describe themselves as well-read. 

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it's definitely got me thinking about it 🙂 

  33. I think of being "well read" in terms of cultural literacy, or "the ability to understand and participate fluently in a given culture". This isn't definitive either, so it probably isn't more helpful in discussing what is and isn't "well read", it's just my personal interpretation and motivation for reading widely. Basically, I read about the places and people I want to understand.

    I think the pressure (whether real or perceived) to be "well read" may rob us of the freedom to say "I don't know". I personally love being able to say "I don't know", because that means I'm probably about to learn something new. 🙂 

  34. Hard to comprehend the conflicting messages in this video. Don't be well read but try to read widely…So what are universities or goodreads groups trying to do in literature programs/groups? Should reading and education be not always connected? Ideals like 'well-read', 'education', 'the Western canon' are bad? Sorry but I think this viewpoint is just a way to dodge being judged for reading a book because of its cover art (irony), or a way to get a free pass to wander aimlessly in your reading choices. Its a fear of standards and being judged. But you are on YouTube (and so am I)!

  35. I never thought about what ''well-read'' actually meant … I'm pretty sure I've used it on some people, but I guess it was in the context of them talking about classics they've read. Thinking about it, I do prefer your/nancy's definition; it's almost like a challenge to yourself, to read diversely and out of your comfort zone. At then end though, being well-read is just a compliment you get from someone for whatever reason they choose, but I've never heard someone call themselves well-read. It's funny that way, as if it becomes less prestigious if you call yourself well-read.

  36. I've never liked the term "well read" because so often it's been used to diminish, discredit and silence me in conversations about literature. I'm not that well read, because I didn't get into reading until my late teens (because of my learning disability) and didn't get exposed to a lot of literature in school. But I've tried hard to make up for lost time and try to be very thoughtful about everything I read. I've lost count of how many times people try to cred check me based solely on what I haven't read. Explaining how I can't possible grasp the complex concepts in literary fiction unless I've read [insert mile long list of classics here] and then dismiss my opinion often before even hearing them at all.

    So, I don't really have a definition for well read, because I see it as a vague, classist, discriminatory term used to selectively grant admission to those who are deemed worthy by the person using the term. For many people I will never be well read enough to be worthy of having an opinion or voice. 

  37. my personal definition of well read, the definition i'm striving to be, is having a good reading foundation, i'm really interested in knowing where it all started and what's referencing what (which is funny bc you just said this in the video as i typed it) but even by my definition i think it's flexible, like for instance i'm not interested in sci-fi for example so i don't care about delving deeper into that but for instance one of my goals is to read all brontë but that has a lot more to do with interest, i guess i'm agreeing with you but i'm just using the term for my own goals, i'm defining it myself but yea, i don't think there's a standard for everyone, and i'd definitely never read something that i wasn't interested in

    i feel like i actually just talked in circles and i shouldn't even comment but i wrote it all so i'm hitting post lol

  38. To me 'well-read' has always sounded flat and boring like you've worked your way through a check-list of the 100 top books, and sometimes that's useful to create a grounding/foundation in literature, but it doesn't show much creativity or free-thinking. Great discussion video btw! It really made me think 🙂

  39. Honestly, your opinion surprised me a lot. For me well read mainly means having a broad knowledge of literature and being able to understand what you read. In that sense reading diversly is a huge part of it, which is important to you. I don't have a list of books you have to have read to be well read, I think similar to Nancy, to be well read you have to read a little bit of everything and think about what you read.
    I think to be well read is a highly personal goal and hard to compare. Like you said what I consider to be well read others might consider as just touching the surface.
    It is nothing I worry about anymore on a conscious level as I consider myself well read, but when I was at university that was more of a conscious goal. You know how I like to understand references, and the more you've read the more you understand. That's what pushes me.
    When it comes to doing it for others, I don't but we all judge people who don't read (even if we try not to) as we don't understand it and I think that is from our innate desire to be well read.

  40. Subjective is good! Authors put their views and things they've learned through experience in their novels, and I want access to all of that. I want to learn it. I'm not interested in other people's opinion of what reading makes me.

    I'd guess there is a 0,1% of readers who never would come to YouTube because they are too busy reading.

  41. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I feel the same. I love talking to people about books and I even joined Litsy several months back. I thought it was great until about a month ago and a lot of the people that I friended feel the need to "share" their completed list for the read harder challenge or share the huge number of books they read. I always think about intention when I read posts or listen to Booktube and often something is trying to be proved. It totally turns me off. The stories that we read lose the focus and the number of subscribers or books read per month is the emphasis. Thanks for your video. It will hopefully help be the catalyst for change.

  42. I think part of what influences a person's definition of well-read (and their desire to be well-read, or not) is why they read in the first place.

    I love reading, but I read primarily to learn (rather than to escape reality), and I'm a turbulent ISTJ, which means I'm naturally drawn to books/activities that force growth. In my case, I haven't read hardly any classics as I prefer non-fiction, but I do have a few classics I'd like to get to because I think they'll challenge me in some way and I think I'll enjoy them. I wouldn't necessarily describe myself (or anyone else) as well-read, because there's always another challenge around the corner. At the same time, if someone were to tell me that I'm not well-read, I'd probably roll my eyes and disagree. I hate those lists that state what a person "should" read before they die.

    I think reading for growth is a key aspect of being well-read, which is why I wouldn't consider a person to be well-read if they only ever read one genre or if they read books for school only and quit reading after graduation. And by reading for growth, I don't even mean consciously choosing "hard" books but rather that a person is thinking about what they're reading and it's not just going in one eyeball and out the other.

    I know some people use the terms "widely read" or "reading diversely," but I think that's just getting into semantics and those terms come with all the same questions/problems.

  43. Where I live, and I am well read, it's considered uppity, and using words I'm used to is considered using $1000 dollar words. I like Facebook and YouTube becsause reading a lot and using college level words is considered normal. You would be considered uppity, but I find myself relaxing when watching you. On Facebook and YouTube I've found my tribe.

  44. I read so much that I don't make goals for the number of books that I should read, but general goals, like the one I made this year. I want to read internationally because books in other languages are finally being translated into English. I said I started this year, but it isn't a One year goal, but just a goal in general. I bought a map with pins, and also two brilliant children's atlases, one for the US and one for the world, in which I will place sticky notes of what I've read. I also bought an Almanac so I can check out facts about those countries. Looking at Nobel winners helps with these goals.
    I am terrible about keeping my book lists logged onto GoodReads, but have decided not to fret about it. I usually read five to six books at a time, plus an audio book. My reading ranges from books that are the equivelent of pizza, to books that are the equivelent of expensive four star restaurant dining. I've decided to let that not bother me either.

  45. I think it has to do with reading widely, across many genres and formats yes, and I agree it includes reading classic literature but I also think it includes reading primary sources: articles written by the founding fathers, the greek philosophers like Socrates and Plato, and major historical figures, like Sojourner Truth. Yes, it's a moving target.

  46. Personally, I guess the reason why I want to be well read is because there are multiple occasions where I get into conversation with people and sometimes I just don't get some of the references to literature that they made. And sometimes I feel like I'm an ignorant person for not knowing many classics or poets or whatsoever. For me, being well-read means reading really diversely to the point where you are just super knowledgeable about almost every popular literary canon books, and are able to get references made in pop culture.

  47. Long time past this discussion, I do disagree. It is not a matter of perspective or taste, if I get your argument right. There are obviously biases for say a current trend or a classic, or defined in the varieties of ethno-cultures, and their tributaries. I think it means to read broadly, deeply and often. It is not a bad goal to have, and it really isn't something to boast about.

  48. My definition of well-read is someone who has read the books that are commonly referenced, quoted or talked about. For example: often times you will hear people talk about Maya Angelou, or reference something from her books, or quote her. Before I had read Angelou's books (except poetry cuz I'm not a poetry person) I had no idea what other people were referencing or talking about. Same with the Diary of Anne Frank. I heard people talk about her and I heard the diary referenced, but I hadn't read it myself so I didn't fully understand what they talking about. To me, becoming a well read person is about filling in these gaps in my knowledge.

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