What Makes You Well Read?

I’d like to think that I’m a pretty well-read person. After all, I have a book blog, and I spend big chunks of my time discussing all sorts of bookish related topics with other readers. But recently I’ve given more thought to what it means to be well read. Because I realized that there’s more than one way to achieve the title of a well-read reader, and so of course I had to write out a post to discuss all my pondering with anyone who will listen.

overwork GIF by Carlotta Notaro

Me writing out a post the second any bookish thought pops into my head

The first kind of well-read reader that popped into my mind was what I’ll refer to as the Classic Reader. (This is a very clever double entendre on my part, as you’ll see in a minute). The Classic Reader, shockingly enough, is very well read in terms of the classic works. And we’re not just talking required high school reading of Macbeth and Jane Eyre. No, no, that’s far too tame. These brave souls have conquered thousand-page beasts like Les Misérables and Don Quixote. They’ve worked their way through archaic words (and languages!) while reading The Canterbury Tales. They can tell you all the history of the classic writers. Who was friends with whom, what weird eccentricities this one had, what weird way that one died, and more. Many times these folks are majoring in something literature related, but not always. 

Classic GIF by Originals

This Classic Reader is probably the one that pops into everyone’s head when they hear the term “well-read”. And I honestly think that there’s nothing wrong with classics being the main form of literature that one prefers to discuss. However, my only hesitation with this kind of well-read reader is the fact that sometimes people think this is the only way to be well read. That in order to be a reader at all, there’s a minimum of classics you have to read and be able to have passionate discussions about. But that simply isn’t true. This is just ONE way to be a well-read reader, which is why this post isn’t ending here.

The next kind of well-read category that comes to mind is the General Bookish Knowledge Reader. This kind of reader comes in two forms. Either they don’t stick to just one genre, and therefore know a lot about many genres, or they read a select few genres, but are familiar with other genres. So for example, the first kind of person with General Bookish Knowledge is one that either doesn’t have a favorite genre, or has several favorites. They sample a little bit of every genre, and because of that, they’re pretty up to date on all the genres they read. Of course, it’s rare to have someone interested in EVERY genre, so to pick a random number out of a hat, this kind of reader is extremely familiar with 5 or more genres, which I think is more than enough to make someone a well-read reader.

Tv Land Love GIF by YoungerTV

An accurate depiction of readers who read any genre

The other kind of reader with General Bookish Knowledge, is someone like me. I have the 2 or 3 genres that I stick to, but I’m aware of the popular books in other genres. While I never read thrillers, I still am familiar with Ruth Ware and Riley Sager’s books and could probably even recommend something from the thriller genre (or any other genre that I don’t tend to read) if I really needed to. I have my niche, but my overall knowledge is pretty general.

I think that most people fall into one of these two kinds of readers, especially if you’re already a part of the online book community. Because in that case, you’re reading books in the genres you like, but reading/watching other people’s thoughts on genres you don’t read as much! This gives you a very balanced overview of what’s going on in the publishing world, and results in a well-read reader.

tv land i know everything GIF by YoungerTV

A summary of General Bookish Knowledge Readers

The final kind of well-read reader is one who is the One-Genre Reader. Now one can say that the Classic Reader is a subcategory of the One Genre Reader. But I separated the two because I think people recognize the Classic Reader, but don’t always recognize the Thriller Reader or the Romance Reader. Regardless of the exact breakdown and categorization, I’m here to make the case for the One Genre Reader. This reader may not be familiar with every genre, but the one they primarily read? Good luck giving them any recommendations. They’ve already read them all! They’ve read the backlist, the new releases, they have pre-orders or ARCs of the upcoming titles.  They don’t discriminate between the big 5 publishers or indie books. They’re the experts on their genre. As I mentioned earlier, the One-Genre Reader is often only recognized through the subset of the Classic Reader, but knowing any genre so thoroughly is extremely impressive, and I would say that makes them pretty well read! 

I’m sure there are many other kinds of well-read readers out there, but these were the ones that came to mind for me. But now I’m curious to hear what kind of reader you’d characterize yourself as, and to see if any of you have any more categories for me to add to this list!

Do you think I’m forgetting any categories? What was the first thing that popped into your head when you saw the words “well read”? What kind of well read reader are you?


52 thoughts on “What Makes You Well Read?

  1. Is there meter to measure that? Because I think it’s tough to answer this question. But first thing that pops in mind for ‘well read reader’ is literary reader and those who have read more than 3 genres and also have thorough knowledge about it, those who are reading books all their life and have many well thumbed books.
    I read multiple genre except nonfiction and erotica. My favorite are Fantasy, romcom, women’s fiction, mystery/thriller.I read other genre but with selective sub categories.
    Amazing post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely a tough question to answer! But I had lots of fun discussing my thoughts on the topic, even though I know it’s not a complete answer!

      I really like your idea of a well-read reader. From what you’re saying I have an image of someone who adores books with all their heart, has tried out many genres until they found the ones they like, and have amassed a lot of knowledge about books in general over the years!

      I also read many genres, with a few that I don’t read at all! I think that most people have some genres that they constantly read, with at least one or two genres they don’t enjoy and read infrequently, if they ever read from those genres at all!

      Thank you! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m definitely a General Knowledge Bookish Reader haha 🤣😅 I tend to read all sorts of genres, mostly because I get intrigued by pretty much every book I find ever. I agree with you that you do not have to have read all the classics and know the history of every classic author to be well read. People tend to scoff at YA and romance books, although the people that read them are actually still well read.


    1. I had a feeling there would be a few of those in the comments section! I feel like I used to be more open to any genre, but as I got older I got pickier about the kinds of stories I was interested in and as a result I started to only read 3 or 4 genres.

      Exactly! I think that’s a common misconception about readers. Not all of us enjoy the classics! And just because we do, doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy genres like romance and Ya and horror and fantasy! You can be well-read without reading complicated works from over 100 years ago! All you have to do is read!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Automatically, thought of Classics.

    I actually have two genres I love, but aware of other genres. I have conquered classics like Iliad, Odyssey, Don Quixote, Les Misérables, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, etc—as in other Dickens, Mayor of Casterbridge.

    However- don’t just love those classics- also love fantasy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like a lot of people think of classics when they see the term “well read”. I know that a few years ago, I might have thought the same!

      Wow! I enjoy classics every once in a while, but I definitely haven’t read enough of them to say that I’ve read many, even though I have read some lesser known ones. I’m very impressed with all the ones that you’ve managed to conquer!

      I think that there are very few people that ONLY read classics! Most readers usually have two or more genres that they reach for, so if one of them happens to be classics there still tend to be some other genres that they read as well!


      1. Now, I will say my entire list of classics I choose to read:

        1. Les Misérables
        2. Hunchback of Notre Dame
        3. Mayor of Casterbridge
        4. Tom Sawyer
        5. A Christmas Carol
        6 Great Expectations
        7. Tale of Two Cities
        8. Bleak House
        9. David Copperfield
        10. Nicholas Nickleby
        11. Oliver Twist
        12. Don Quixote
        13. Iliad
        14. Odyssey
        …..meaning there are other hard ones to come

        Technically some genres belong in two categories- don’t forget some fantasies are classics like Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter (I think that has already proven to be a classic)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s quite the impressive list! Most of those books scare me too much to even attempt reading them! Although I have read some longer classics, so I guess it’s not totally impossible that I’d read some longer classic works in the future.

          And that’s definitely true. It’s hard to draw the line around what categories books fall into in general, so of course the same would be true for classics as well! And I agree that there are quite a few modern classics that are in sci-fi and fantasy genres!


    1. Hmmm, I think that it depends on the person you ask really. The romance reader has a lot to offer, and there are plenty of people who recognize that. But to people unfamiliar with the genre, you’re right that they wouldn’t consider reading romance to be the mark of a well-read person.

      And I’m a bit confused what you mean about romance readers being in a group of their own. I feel like you can say that readers of every genre form their own groups. Or is there something specific about romance readers that makes them stand on their own?


      1. Romance readers have a lot of solidarity, I feel like their groups are so organized and collected and they stand out to me compared to other readers. Especially the indie community who follow their authors and buy their releases frequently

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think, for me, what defines being well-read most is having read widely. And that doesn’t just encompass reading different genres from different time periods, but also reading things published in different countries! Though general literary knowledge is definitely a part of it, too 😊
    And I’d also say you can be well-read in a specific genre or field, but I personally don’t count that as being well-read overall. If you’re a classics expert, that’s great, but unless you also know other works, I wouldn’t call it being well-read… Though I don’t think it makes you any less of a valid and voracious reader if you only like to read specific types of books! That’s amazing, too! It’s just a definition thing 😁
    And no, I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere close to being well-read yet. Maybe my definition is so ridiculously hard to achieve because I constantly want to challenge myself and have an excuse to keep reading? 😂🤔

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I really like your perspective on the topic! Reading translated works and books written by authors from different background and experiences is definitely important, and I’m now really upset I didn’t think to mention that!

      And I also would have to agree about your differentiation between being an expert versus being well-read. I guess being an expert in a genre only makes you well-read within that genre, which is something I didn’t really specify! Although of course I agree that either way of looking at things that person is still a valid reader!

      Using your definition, I don’t think I’m that well read either, although I hope that with each book I read I start moving closer to that title!

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment! It really made me think, and I appreciated being able to have such an interesting discussion about the topic with you! After all, that’s always my goal when I write these kinds of posts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This was definitely a great discussion topic! It also really got me thinking – I’d never really thought about the fact that “being well-read” might be interpreted so differently by different people, so reading your thoughts and everyone else’s comments was fascinating! So please keep writing these types of posts, they’re some of my favorites 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. oooh this is an interesting topic! i’ve been called “well read” quite a lot throughout my life, typically by teachers and older individuals. i think when people have described me as “well read” they typically meant two things, 1) i’ve always read a lot since i started reading, like, very obviously way more than the average american (which is where i’m from—america) and 2) i read so much that it has very clearly enhanced my language abilities (like my knowledge of English vocabulary and grammar) beyond the abilities of the average american. but i never really contemplated what might make someone “well read” in different ways, like the ways you described. i think it’s kinda funny that throughout my life and my “reading journey,” i’ve been all of the types of readers you listed lol! ultimately, i think there are a lot of different ways to be “well read”—as many different ways as there are different books and different readers! anyhoo, thanks for the great discussion and for getting me thinking!


    1. Yeah, like I mentioned, I think that there are different ways to interpret the term “well-read” and I definitely hear where your teachers and those older individuals were coming from.

      Reading more than average is actually a pretty good criteria for being “well-read” although it does then exclude all those readers that read at a slower pace, but are just as invested in the act of reading constantly. And having a bigger vocabulary and a better grasp of the English language in general are definitely all signs that point to someone being well-read, although again, I think that it’s possible to read a lot and despite that, not absorb the nuances of the English language.

      And I think that the types of readers that I listed probably stuck out to me because of how I perceived a well-read person, or how I viewed reading throughout different stages of my life. In a few years from now as my reading journey evolves, my take on being a well-read reader might be completely different!

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed this discussion and that it made you think! Those are always my two goals when I write posts like this, so I love getting feedback letting me know that I succeeded!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful discussion as always, Malka! 💕
    Out of the categories you thought of I would probably fall into General Bookish Knowledge, as I read lots of genres.
    I think the definition of well read for a lot of people includes a large amount of classics and/or nonfiction, but that is a stereotype that does lots of readers a disservice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Stephen!

      I had a feeling that quite a few people would identify with the General Bookish Knowledge Reader! After all, most people don’t just stick with one genre! Even I have multiple genres that I read, and I’m pretty picky about what I’ll pick up!

      Yeah, I feel the same way. I think that stereotypes are tough though, because many times the people who need to unlearn them the most never take the time to do so. While most book bloggers don’t believe that stereotype anymore, someone not a member of the online bookish community may never have heard the argument about why that stereotype is incorrect!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m definitely a One-Genre-Well-Read-Reader.
    However, I am also a sucker for some of the classics?
    The thing is, I’m definitely well read however I never really fit into any of these, I guess. I read a lot, but not necessarily what everyone else is / at the same time as they hype, or I’ve only read ‘the popular’ classics, or I read it and don’t enjoy it like everyone else so I don’t really consider it.
    This was a super fun post to read, gave me a lot of food for thought 🙂
    Emma xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, which genre are you a expert in?

      And I think that it makes sense that even if you’re an expert in one genre (or sub-genre) you can also have read many books from another genre! I know that’s the case for me!

      Yeah, categories are hard, and I think that part of my point was the fact that you can be “well-read” even if you don’t fit into any of these categories. But in terms of classification, it’s easiest to use categories and such, which doesn’t leave much room for all the various other kinds of readers!

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post and that it made you think! Those are always my two goals when writing a discussion, so I’m glad that I managed to achieve them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh Malka, I loved this discussion… truly there have been times where non-bookish people judge your level of “bookworm-ness” by the amount of classics read which shouldn’t be the case. I think that well-read can also apply to different age groups – e.g MG, YA… especially when each of the age groups covers so many genres.

    But I definitely do not consider myself well-read… especially since I joined the bookish community online and saw there were so many books everyone was buzzing about that was labelled a “must-read” which I have never heard of before. Thus, another definition of well-read could be just reading all the hyped books ie. letting the bookish community decide their reads? (similar to the first type of general knowledge reader)

    Anyway, I hope I am making sense haha! Thank you for the discussion again, it was a big affirmation and interesting to think about! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes! There can be so much judgement from non-bookish people, and I think it stems from the fact that they think of bookish people as a big mass of intellectual nerds, so we must all enjoy classics, but that’s not true! Readers who focus on other genres are just as valid!

      And you make a really great point about age ranges as well. Middle grade has fantastic historical fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and graphic novels. Adult has literary fiction, sci-fi, and romance. YA has a mix of both ages ranges. There should be no reason why reading a specific age range is more or less likely to make you well-read! I’d argue that as a 10 year old reading mostly middle grade books, I was much more suited to the term well-read than I am now, reading mostly YA and adult books!

      And that’s interesting that you don’t consider yourself well-read. I definitely remember how overwhelming it was when I first became a part of the online bookish community and started learning about all these super popular book I hadn’t pick up! But with time you become familiar with those books, read some of them, decide not to pick up others, and within a year or so you’re up to date on both the backlist and the upcoming new releases. All it takes is a bit of time!

      But I don’t know if you have to have read all the hyped books to be well-read! I certainly don’t read every popular book, yet I think I’m pretty well read! I also think that books can be hyped on different platforms or through different manners, so it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes a book hyped. Is it when a book gets on the NYT Best Seller list? When everyone on Book Twitter is excited for it? When Booktuber are excited? Bloggers? Etc. There are so many different ways to hype up a book!

      I thought you made plenty of sense, and you gave me a lot to ponder as well! I’m so glad you enjoyed this discussion, and I appreciate how you responded with such a thoughtful comment!


  9. Hiiiii
    This is going to be a rambly comment, but that’s what you get for provoking my thoughts like that.

    I think other categories for well-read reader are 1. The reader who hasn’t actually read any of the books you’re talking about, but has either read the plot summary on Wikipedia or listened to enough people talk about it and is able to have a pretty coherent conversation about it.

    Another reader who I think deserves to be mentioned, is the one who has a favorite book/series that they know so well and have thought about for so long that they can practically write a thesis on it. Is this me just looking for credit for being hyper fixated on the Grisha and hunger games trilogies (and parts of the ACOTAR series with Elain or Azriel — but I think this one might be pushing)?


    Also, tangential, but I hate the way people treat the classics as the pinnacle of literature meant for only the smart people. It alienates a bunch of people who could enjoy them, and it just feels super elitist and it’s not even merited? Like a bunch of those books are about people being stupid and lying about in the rain and getting pneumonia and dying or locking up their ex-es (or their ex’s child who looks exactly like they’re ex). Also didn’t Dracula have someone coughing up bird feathers?
    Anyway, a lot of the classics were written for entertainment. So just like any other book, they can be funny or relatable or thought provoking.

    Great post and I’m sorry for the 5 paragraph essay ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey!

      I live for rambly comments, especially because those are usually the kinds of comments I leave myself! And I’m quite happy that I managed to provoke your thoughts, so I welcome all your many thoughts on the topic!

      Hmm, that first category doesn’t sound like someone who’s well-read. They just sound well researched. I think to be well read, you actually have to have READ some of the books, and then rely on other people’s input for the books/genres that you haven’t read. Like, I can hold my own in a conversation about literary fiction because of who I follow on different bookish platforms, but I’d never claim to be a well-read literary fiction reader. Romance on the other hand? I’ve read boatloads of that, and the ones that I haven’t gotten to a know a fair bit about, and so I’d consider myself well-read in the genre as a whole, since I think it’s unlikely to have someone that’s read EVERYTHING in a given genre, no matter how well read they are!

      I think that next category would fit into a post talking about expertise in the bookish community. Like, a certain number of rereads of a book makes you an expert in that book or whatever. (In which case I’m an expert in Fangirl, The Kiss Quotient, Soppy, and RW&RB if I really stretch it!) I just think that well-read requires a more broad lens, rather than a focus on one series or book. Even one genre was a tough call for me!

      YES! That’s part of what I wanted to address in this post, but since it can be its own post one day, I only mentioned it in passing for now. I like classics a lot, but I don’t think that reading them makes me superior to anyone in any way! It’s just a genre like any other! And it can be a really long and slow process to get through classics because of the old writing style and the amount of descriptions, so I honestly wouldn’t use the genre as one I’d recommend to new readers! But I definitely agree, that as a piece of entertainment, and even as something interesting to dissect classic can be great. But then again, so can most other genres!

      Thank you! And don’t apologize! It’s about time I got a comment as long as the ones I always leave everyone else!


  10. I had a pretty good education, for what that’s worth, which had me reading about every genre and era of writing out there (from Greek tragedies to Sci-Fi that was released not long before I read them). And since then (45 years ago), I’ve at least tried as many genres and eras as possible. But now I’m old, and I think I’ll stick to being a well-read reader of the genres and eras I enjoy the most. If that makes me less well read, that’s fine with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think my education was pretty well rounded, but it still focused on more classic works than anything else. Most of the exploring of genres that I’ve done has been through my own efforts. And while I still haven’t tried every genre since thrillers and horror don’t interest me in the slightest, I’ve still sampled most other genres enough times to have found my favorites. Although I do still dabble in random other genres from time to time.

      I don’t think that you lose the title of well-read once you’ve put 45 years of reading behind you to focus on the genres and eras that interest you the most. As you said, it just shifts the focus as to what kind of well-read reader you are at the moment, without ignoring any of the kinds of well-read readers you were in the past!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I’m definitely more of the General Bookish Knowledge person. I did study English Literature at university, so I’ve read quite a lot of classics, but in my own time I read quite widely. In some ways I like having a wide book knowledge, but it would be nice to be that expert ‘go-to’ person on a specific genre!
    Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah! I figured that a lot of the people commenting on this post would fall into the General Bookish Knowledge category! It’s kind of the easiest one to fit into! All you have to do is read a lot and be a part of the bookish community! But I do understand the desire to be an expert in a genre. I definitely am an expert in many subgenres, but I don’t know if I’m ready to say that I’m an expert in any full genre just yet!

      Thank you!


  12. I would say I fall somewhere in between… I do love classics… But, I also love to read a few different genres. I kind of go back and forth with these.
    I love this topic for discussion, though, because you’re absolutely correct; when people, generally, talk “well read” they mean a person who’s read many classics.
    Great piece, Malka!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that most people are some mixture of these categories. After all, it’s pretty rare for anyone to read just one genre, so they have at least some bits of General Bookish Knowledge, even if they’re primarily an expert in their most read genre.

      Yes! It’s quite frustrating that the go to assumption when you say you’re a reader is that you must like classics. It might be true, but someone can be an avid reader while hating classics! The two are not a contradiction!

      Thank you! 💕


  13. Ooh great post and what an interesting question! I’d say that I fall somewhere in between the General Bookish Knowledge and One-Genre reader: I read a bunch of different genres like contemporary, fantasy, thriller etc. but the vast majority is under the YA umbrella.

    To me, a ‘well-read’ person is someone…who has read a lot of books. Hahah! But definitely in general society’s conception of a ‘well-read’ person, it seems to edge towards a person who’s read a lot of classics specifically. The popular definition of ‘well-read’ probably needs to be expanded given how the body of what books are generally considered ‘classic’ is very white and male-dominated. I wonder what will be considered ‘classic’ 20 or 30 years in the future?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! That’s a really good point. But the thing is, as much as YA is marketed as a genre, it’s actually an age range, so it makes sense that you’d read multiple YA genres. So I guess in a way you have general bookish knowledge of the YA age range, specifically in reference to your favorite genres, if that makes any sense!

      I agree! I think that well read should have more to do with how much reading is prioritized by a person, and how much time a person spends reading, or a part of the bookish community, rather than by how many classics they read. I would absolutely love for people’s perception of what it means to be well-read to change, hopefully to something that’s more inclusive in all aspects!

      And I wonder that as well! I can only hope that all the amazing diverse, own voices stories being published stand the test of time. But I also hope that the trend of publishing diverse stories continues so that both classics AND new releases explore diversity!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I consider myself a General Bookish Knowledge Reader. according to your definitions but I thought of myself as a well-read person before because I read a lot of different genres. The only genre I don’t read is heavy romance and I haven’t read any magma (what that is, I’m not sure). My problem with reading so many different genres is that my TBR pile is huge. I don’t read many classics although I’m a elementary substitute teacher. I wonder though where the future of these classics will lie in the future. I’m hoping that some of these wonderful new books that we read now will become the new “classics.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My definitions are quite arbitrary! And I also don’t think that one kind of well-read reader is superior to another! Reading lots of genres, or really lots of books in general, definitely makes you well-read!

      I don’t read thrillers or horror, and I think I’m pretty well-read as well! (Also, if you meant manga then it’s a Japanese form of comics with very distinct tropes and art styles).

      I definitely hear that! When you’re interested in everything that also means you want to read everything, and so it makes sense that your TBR would grow quickly!

      And I definitely hope that some of the wonderful books I’ve read and loved over the past few years become classics! It’s about time that more diverse books became required reading worldwide!


      1. I totally agree with you, what exactly is a “classic”? I think if you ask most people they will think of older books, books their parents or grandparents read or had in school but what about all these gems that we have now, some of these books need to be considered classics. Interesting idea, hum?

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I appreciate your inclusive view on the quality of being well-read. Maybe I can feel better when I have no time to read books and consider myself well-read in the genres of cereal boxes and shampoo bottles…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My school once had an author give a writing workshop. She talked about the importance of reading anything and everything you can, including packages, billboards, advertisements. I think what she meant is that even if you don’t have time or focus to properly read, that essential curiosity and interest in the world will keep broadening you as a person. And I think that definition can be extended to general well-readedness. Being well-read means you have a drive to learn more about the world past and present through books. I would dare to say that many, if not most, of the world’s truths can be found in books. So whether those truths are empirical, emotional, psychological, or simply express the unpronounceable nature of the Pert Plus ingredient list, you are well-read if you have consistently taken the initiative to seek them out.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. When I think of someone being well-read, I think of someone who reads from a lot of genres, or at least is familiar with books from a lot of genres. When you can ask someone for recommendations and they are able to list at least a few titles that are curated for your taste – even if that’s different from theirs – THAT is someone who is incredibly well-read imo.

    I agree with you, I think many people – especially book bloggers and other bookish influencers – belong to the second group. If you follow other blogs, bookstagram accounts, or booktubers, it’s easy to know a lot about genres you yourself might not read.

    I understand the concept that someone could be considered well-read who only reads classics but I think that’s a very narrow way to read? It’s weird because I wouldn’t criticize the third category at all, so why do I criticize the first one that is sort of similar? I think it’s because of what you said – some people do believe that classics are the best type of literature, which doesn’t seem to be the case with those who read one genre, like thriller, mystery, or romance. Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I definitely agree with that! If someone has a vast knowledge of books and publishing, and can hold a conversation with readers from any genre, they’re definitely well read in my book! And if they’re able to give personalized recommendations to all sorts of people, they are rare indeed, but without a doubt well read!

      Yup! I follow a lot of accounts that read literary fiction and horror, and although I rarely/never read those genres, when I walk into a book store I always tend to recognize a lot of books that I wouldn’t otherwise from seeing it in some form of online bookish content over the past few weeks or months.

      I think that the definition of classics are so narrow that it makes things difficult. Classics don’t have the range and diversity that most other genres have, because by definition there are only a handful of books that bear the title of a classic work. And of course there’s the fact that people believe you need to have a foundation in all the classic literature in order to have anything valuable to say about books! It’s such a shame that they can’t see how much there is to gain from other genres!

      Thank you! 💕


  17. Interesting discussion this. To me well-read means something entirely different. To me well-read means that someone is knowledgable through having read much. That person, knows things about the world, about history, about their own and other cultures, politics, religions, how things work, why things work how they work, because that person knows who thought of it and when and how thing evolved after. So to me well-read means educated (which, mind you, is NOT the same as smart, a mistake often made).

    If I would go by your definition of well-read I would consider myself a generalist of the second category. I always feel I am way behind on some of the big titles, and sometimes even never heard of them of authors, but I was well-read when I was younger, before my 15 year hiatus of reading started. And I’m getting back there, now that I have rediscovered my love for reading. I do like myself a classic now and then, but I also DNF them (Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre) if I don’t enjoy them.

    For my feeling, most of the book bloggers I see around fall in the third category. As most of the books read feel YA to me. This makes me not fit in well, but I don’t care. It’s the discussions like these I enjoy reading on the blogs. And as long as anyone loves to sit down with a book for hours on end, they are a reader! It doesn’t really matter what they read. Reading is reading, and we can all share THAT love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so interesting! I definitely hear that! After all, there’s so much that I’ve learned from reading, but some people have just amassed so much knowledge from all the reading they’ve done! I really like this perspective on someone who’s well read, although I think that it’s possible to gain a lot of this knowledge from fiction as well as non-fiction.

      You’re definitely not alone in that category. And I think it’s pretty impossible to be entirely caught up on all the books that are out there. It’s easiest to have a niche that you’re thoroughly familiar with, with some other genres that you know a bit about as well, although not to the same extent. I like classics every once in a while as well, but I don’t think of those books as superior to any of the other books I read, although I do feel an extra sense of accomplishment when I finish one because sometimes the writing can make me struggle.

      I would have to agree! Reading is reading no matter the genre! There are many accounts I follow on various platforms that don’t read the same genres I so, but I find them interesting and insightful regardless! Like you, I adore the discussions that readers create, which transcends genre!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’d never really stopped to think about what people mean when they say someone is well-read, but I guess I associate it most with the classics reader or people who read lots of literary fiction or nonfiction or something. I don’t know that I’d call myself well-read, even though I’ve read a TON of books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah. I think that’s most people’s association. Those genres are associated with being intelligent and being the most difficult to work through, so obviously anyone reading them must be intelligent and well-read to understand what they’re reading. I obviously disagree with that thought process, because I feel like that limits the title to people who happen to enjoy those specific genres!

      And it’s interesting that you wouldn’t consider yourself well-read! I think that most people hesitate to give themselves the title, but would easily give the title to someone else!


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