05 August 2009

Am I Well-Read?

I've always thought I was decently well-read; afterall, I love reading and do so rather voraciously. I hold degrees in English, teach literature, and have a library of well over 1000 books. When I saw the 1% Well-Read Challenge, which is based on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list, I found myself very curious to see how I measured up.

Not well. If you combine the 2006 and 2008 lists, I have only read 73 of the books on the list. That's just pitiful. 5%. I am 5% well-read according to this list. Color me shocked. So now, of course, I just have to make myself more well-read. It's a pride thing. I don't think I'm going to join the challenge this year. For two reasons: 1) I'm part of enough challenges already, and 2) the contest is already half-over. But I am going to use this list to help decide what I should read, and I'll probably join the challenge next time around.

A lovely spread sheet I downloaded from Arukiyomi tells me that if I read 23 books from the list every year, I should have it completed by the time I die, assuming I die at the typical age for a Western female. Isn't that lovely? The problem I see with this is that if the list changes every year, I'm screwed.

On a side note, this list is, in my opinion, flawed, but that's not much of a surprise really. I had to choose five books to teach in my Literature class this Fall and doing so was absolutely horrifying. Narrowing down to five from my list of possibilities was unbelievably difficult, and my list of possibilities did not include every book ever published throughout history, so I can't imagine trying to come up with a list of 1001 books people must read. And still the nagging voice in my brain is telling me that I absolutely have to read more than 5% of these books.

On a side-side note, isn't the cover terrifying? Why is it so creepy?

Has anyone else seen this list? How many have you read? Do you want to read more?


  1. Okay, I've just spent 20 minutes going through the list, and I've read 82. I try not to let these lists make me feel too bad, though, especially because they often don't match my reading interests very well.

    And yep, that's a creepy cover :P

  2. Nymeth - I agree. I enjoy the classics, but obviously not the "right" classics, and SFF didn't get too big of a shout out on this list.

  3. I based my blog loosely on the 1,001 Books list, but I've found that it's not the best way to figure out it's not about being "well-read." A good number of those books are hard to find or just stumble on in a bookstore. Plus, there's tons of books out that that I love that would have never made the list.
    I'm new to your blog and have really enjoyed reading!

  4. Lauren - Welcome and thanks! I'm glad you are enjoying my ramblings, and I hope you continue to stop by!


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