I think this is a belated New Year’s Resolution post to myself.
I’ve been perusing various reader blogs lately and this is a question that I keep asking myself. Are these people better read that I? They are reading classics, best sellers, the avant garde, things that sound funky fresh and awesome…and I’m reading young adult literature and graphic novels. I will admit it, I generally detest classics. They are a few I have loved; The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the D’Ubervilles, The Great Gatsby. Does the fact that I have never read James Joyce, Henry James, or Wallace Stegner make me ‘not’ well read? Are the people who struggled through any of the “greats” really better read than I am because they read such difficult work? There were SO many people in my college classes acting like they absolutely worshipped the ground these people walked on. I couldn’t get what was so amazing about them.
I have been a bit of a book snob in the past. I’ll admit it. Hell I still am. I just called a comic book a graphic novel for pete’s sake. But I found that reading what the “better read” people were recommending was making me read slower, enjoy it less, and feel just plain awful. At some point last year I decided the hell with it, I was going to read what grabbed me and if it didn’t grab me within the first few pages I was chucking it. And for the first time in 3 years, I met my reading goal; 52 books for the year.
I think what I am trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how well read I personally am. I have enjoyed every single book I’ve read this year. I will continue to try new things. I plan on reading more by Joyce Carol Oates this year. I plan on trying Margaret Atwood, who scares the bejesus out of me. But I’m not going to make myself miserable anymore. I’m not in college. I’m not writing reviews for anyone but myself really. I do have an awful tendency to worry about what other people think, but I’m working on that too. I don’t care if I’m well read. I care if I read well.