Why Do We Want to be "Well Read"? | Discussion

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Christina Hansen says:

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.

David P says:

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.

AwkwardWijaya says:

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.

beautyintheskies says:

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.

Yoby Henthorn says:

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.

Yoby Henthorn says:

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.

Rachel B says:

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.

Belinda's Book Nook says:

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.

Alia says:

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.

1book1review says:

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.

The Owlery Books says:

Wow, such an amazing and insightful video!!

Rose Reads says:

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 🙂

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