Reader, reader, pumpkin-eater

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.

#1 Diversity

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.

#2 Quantity

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?

#3 Difficulty

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? 😉


  1. Considering the quiz you had on your page, you’re well-read and well-watching (or whatever might be the term) enough to know quite some stuff me „quantity reader“ doesn’t :D.
    Right now, I feel like I’m almost entirely into reading independent books few people even know exist. Selfpublishers or small publishing houses, mostly. And I love it. But I know almost nothing about the books trending now (is „ASOIAF“ still a thing?) except the few trends I follow partly out of nostalgia („Cursed Child“ <3 ) or because I've been reading that stuff before it was mainstream ("Kernstaub").
    So right now… I'm kind of a reading hipster 😛

    1. Thank you, but some of it was more or less: „I remember that book/movie was about this topic, so let’s look at wikipedia to come up with a fitting riddle“ 😀
      If the book interests you, I think it shouldn’t matter if a big fish published it or not. 🙂
      I don’t know much (read: nothing) about trends either and am quite surprised to hear about stuff that’s „the thing right now“. 😀
      ASOIAF simmered down a little I think, the focus is more on the show currently (it’s ahead in story telling so…) and I have to admit that I haven’t checked out the Cursed Child yet – mostly because I don’t feel like reading a play, just did that with Faust II. 😉
      Even as reading hipster I still consider you well-read, just look at all your posts. 😉

      1. 😀 Well, why not? Knowledge is knowledge and second-hand information can make you curious for the thing itself – but doesn’t have to. It’s an interesting thing, to live in a time where you can do that kind of research…
        Of course it doesn’t matter. It’s more like… I look at what the big fishes are doing and I see stuff that doesn’t interest me because it’s all lovey-dovey (love-triangles and stuff), erotica (If I want to read a book about acrobatics, I read a book about a circus 😛 ) and kind of „most is the copy of successful book X but without what made book X worth reading“. So … I feel sort of betrayed, going into a bookshop and leaving without buying anything because it simply doesn’t interest me the least bit. And for a booklover, that’s frustrating. There are all those memes on the Internet, saying „You passed a bookstore? Are you ill?“ or „My life-goal? Enough money to buy everything in a bookshop“. And I see them and see people putting hearts to it (because simply liking it isn’t enough) and I feel remotely not belonging to the readers, because the books I’m interested in are not the books sold in bookstores. That makes me sad quite often and I indulge in all those „support your local bookstores, don’t buy on amazon“-discussions, telling again and again that if bookstores want to keep me as a costumer, they need to sell the stuff I’d buy :D.
        I’m still not watching the show (do you?), I’m more a reader than a watcher and so I’ll wait :D.
        Yeah, reading a play is different from reading a novel but then again I’m so grateful for that opportunity… because few people read plays outside school/university context and that’s quite a pity. Considering, that it was „Harry Potter“ that turned many young people into readers who wouldn’t have touched a book in their teen-years, it’s so sweet that now it’s Harry Potter again showing young and old fans alike the beauty of reading a play <3.
        (And I LOVE Faust I & II – how did you like it? 😀 )
        Awwww, thank you <3

        1. That’s true, even if most of the books and movies were already on my to-read/to-watch list 😀
          Yeah, that’s true. Our generation kind of grew up with both things: Researching in a library and having a vast amount of knowledge online, though I have to admit I don’t mind rummaging through a library to find information. You’ll never know what you find along the way. 😉
          Yeah, I know what you mean. The mainstream story all follow the same scheme and most of the time I put books away after reading certain words on the back cover text…
          Put stuff like that sells well, so they don’t really have a choice…
          Twice this year we went to a book outlet and found some quite interesting stuff there that wasn’t that mainstream. 😉
          I tried watching, but I made the mistake of watching the episode after reading the chapter and it got frustrating quite fast, so right now I focus on reading the books and when I get enough distance I’ll probably try the show again.
          That’s one interesting way to look at it. 😀 With plays I miss the descriptions or don’t like that people narrate everything, but they also can be quite fascinating.
          I had a really good teacher who taught us about Faust I, so it’s one of my favourites (Mephisto became kind of my go-to kind of character in terms of favourite characters), but Faust II was a bit disappointing to be honest. The jumps between the scene were a bit too sudden and random for my taste, it felt rushed and as if Goethe just wanted to get it out so people would stop bothering him…

          1. Yeah, I remember trying to find ANY information on a topic in a library – and than switching to the Internet and suddenly there is an abundance of information and so little time or space I have to fill… It’s a different kind of approach at information.
            That’s what I mean – there is a scheme that sells well among most people so it gets into print and into the bookstores. And as you do, I read certain „signal words“ and put the book away immediately. That’s exactly the point for me, too.
            Book outlets, flee markets etc. are great – that’s where I shop most of my books from big houses, actually.
            I believe you. I read about some of the changes and yes, that’s frustrating >.<
            I love plays, especially those of Shakespeare. If you have a good copy with some background notes in it, you suddenly find out that even the most sad tragedy by him is brimming with odd penis jokes and stuff 😀 and it's very funny to discover all those jokes and wordplays <3.
            Faust II is … not an easy read. Yes, there is lots of stuff cramped into it and most of it incomprehensible without really extensive knowledge of all sorts of mythology and stuff. I think I still haven't riddled out all the stuff hidden in Faust II, to be honest. But that's what's so nice with some books – you reread them and find something new every time 😀

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