A couple of days ago Aleshanee shared a post on Twitter by Mikka from Mikka liest (Mikka reads) about what it means to be well-read, in addition DarkFairy posted another review that made me look through her reading challenges and all of this made me think (again).
With my affinity to procrastinate I’d like to dwell a bit on these thoughts instead of what I actually should be writing…
Am I well-read?
Mikka’s points about what it means to be well-read can be basically summed up to:
You’re well read if you read more than one book from all kind of genres – even outside your comfort zone – in differing difficulty.
I agree with her sentiment (and hope the summary is correct) and enjoyed her reasoning leading to this, but what does that mean for me?
I don’t want to make my own definition, I’d like to try using the main points of the statement to try figuring out if I would consider myself to be well-read.
The majority of books I read are in the fantasy genre, but thanks to school and different interests I also picked up a few classics and non-fiction books, but that still doesn’t make it that widely spread, even if a few of them differ greatly from my usual reads.
Though, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know things about books/topics/stuff I only have on my to-read list or just heard/read about in reviews/articles.
In addition do I read all kinds of (web)comics, manga, short stories(, fanfictions, etc.) ranging from fantasy up to slice of life stuff, so there is a bit more variation there.
Okay, this point is probably the one that bugs me the most. With readers like Aleshanee and Mikka, who read between 100-200 books a year or Evanesca, DarkFairy and SaJaehwa, who manage 30-80 books a year, you have quite some competition.
That is, if you view reading as a competition.
Which it technically isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel like it.
When I look through my statistics on Goodreads it’s apparent that my reading habits aren’t really that regular. There are years where I haven’t read anything or just a few measly books and then there are years where the book count rises above 20. In total I seemingly haven’t even managed to read as much books in my entirely life as Aleshanee does in a year.
I do consider myself a fast reader, I manage to finish a ~200 pages book in about a week, only by reading on the bus (~1h total) and I think I manage 60 pages per hour on average, but there are times when I either don’t have the time to read (car-commute) or I just don’t feel like it – which is kind of my main reason for not reading – or I’m using the bus to draft stories instead.
Though this does also mean that keeping up with challenges isn’t really my thing. I started two in 2014 (BiblioSmile’s Summer Book Challenge 2014 and DarkFairy’s Alphabet Reading Challenge), that I still haven’t finished as I keep putting other books between actually reading the ones on those lists … I’m just no good with schedules. 😉
It feels frustrating, when I compare my reading list to others‘, but when I think about the (web)comics, manga, short stories(, fanfictions, etc.) I also read – that I don’t have on my Goodreads list – it evens out a little, but it still doesn’t feel the same. Why not?
Because one could argue about the challenge they pose and if you could even count (web)comics and manga as „books“, as they are „just“ stories with pictures.
Though things like The Sandman are quite difficult to read …
Some of the other books weren’t easy either, but being the stubborn person I am I powered through even if it was exhausting at times. I also don’t shy away from longer reads if I feel like reading the book, I just sometimes don’t feel like starting them, but that’s mostly because of the topic.
I also don’t mind just reading YA or not so challenging stuff, though I stay away from the entirely lovey-dovey stuff as I just can’t stand it … I already make fun of the stuff I linked above (not challenging-link), no need to give my jokes more fuel …
I kind of also increase the difficulty by reading books in English – recently I even read something in Russian! 😀 *proud* – which has me not just reading, but learn new words/phrases in the process.
So at least my difficulty is differing, I guess.
Apart from the fact that I chose a ridiculous title* and spread the same alliterations throughout it, do I feel a bit more comfortable with just reading about 20 books a year.
And looking at all the stuff I wrote above: I do believe I’m well-read.
Even if I’m not actually reading that much. 😉
What do you think about this? Do you consider yourself well-read?
P.S. If anyone needs help with the German posts, just let me know.
* I blame that entirely on Halloween approaching and me thinking about travelling to Ireland again … anyone interested in accompanying me? 😉