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Are there books you feel like you HAVE to read to be considered 'well read'?

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I've noticed some of the older fans of fantasy (not necessarily old in years of age, but fans of fantasy written previously) think that if you haven't read Tolkien or a series like Wheel of Time you shouldn't be talking about fantasy.  There are people who think genres like dark fantasy or grimdark are too realistic or rooted in some kind of desire to be edgy or something.

Do any of you ever feel the need to read a certain series or author to be considered 'well read'?  It's a question we talked a little bit about a few fridays ago with @EpicTalez and @MaedBetweenthePages but wanted to hear your thoughts on it.


Steve IRL

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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To be ‘well read’ is down to subjective parameters. Based on mine, I don’t feel like I have to read a series or author to be considered ‘well read’ but I read such series or authors to understand the ‘corner stones’ of fantasy culture specifically for my developing writing style. 
 

For instance, after I read Dune (I know it’s Sci-Fi not Fantasy) I immediately understood why it inspired a lot of Fantasy literature. By the way, the quality of writing in Dune is 🤯🤯

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I always feel like people who think that way take themselves way too serious. It's not that deep. :P We're all just a bunch of nerds who like to read. None of us is trying to get a PhD in it or become THE expert in the field. People know what they like and what they don't like and I don't really see the point in forcing yourself to read something that you're probably not going to enjoy. I could force myself to read books I've DNFd in the past... What new knowledge would that bring me? If anything it's unfair to the book/author, because I'm not the target audience and I'm going in with low expecations as it is. You wouldn't 'force' someone to read grimdark books if they don't like explicit content, so why would you do it with other subgenres? And why would you need to be well read in any subgenre/timeperiod of fantasy to say something about *a specific book*? I would also like to add that nobody is going to be well read in everything because we just don't live long enough. So I'd rather listen to someone who knows which things they like, and they read a lot in that area, than someone who feels they have to read everything, don't enjoy half of what they read, and are a Jack of all trades, master of none-type of person. But, and this might be an unpopular opinion, I feel like people put too much importance on understanding influences etc. For the average reader, that doesn't matter. Ofcourse someone can be interested in that and read books with those questions in mind, that's fine, but when I'm reading I just think 'am I enjoying myself?' if the answer is yes, I continue reading. That's also what I want to know from reviewers (whose taste I know). I don't care if it's inspired by Tolkien or Greek tragedies or... Maybe if I have all of that information I can appreciate better what an author was trying to do, but at the end of the day: if I don't enjoy your work I can appreciate it all I want, I'm not going to continue reading.

 

So long story short: for me it really doesn't matter as long as you don't give the impression that you DO have that knowledge. People do this all the time with YA for example. They talk bad about it and the only one they can name is Twilight.

 

If you're doing research for something specific, like Epic who is looking at books from a writer perspective, I can see why you like to see this evolution and look at it from a different POV.

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On 6/15/2022 at 4:09 PM, EpicTalez said:

To be ‘well read’ is down to subjective parameters. Based on mine, I don’t feel like I have to read a series or author to be considered ‘well read’ but I read such series or authors to understand the ‘corner stones’ of fantasy culture specifically for my developing writing style. 
 

For instance, after I read Dune (I know it’s Sci-Fi not Fantasy) I immediately understood why it inspired a lot of Fantasy literature. By the way, the quality of writing in Dune is 🤯🤯

Good point!

 

16 hours ago, Jolien Reads said:

I always feel like people who think that way take themselves way too serious. It's not that deep. :P We're all just a bunch of nerds who like to read. None of us is trying to get a PhD in it or become THE expert in the field. People know what they like and what they don't like and I don't really see the point in forcing yourself to read something that you're probably not going to enjoy. I could force myself to read books I've DNFd in the past... What new knowledge would that bring me? If anything it's unfair to the book/author, because I'm not the target audience and I'm going in with low expecations as it is. You wouldn't 'force' someone to read grimdark books if they don't like explicit content, so why would you do it with other subgenres? And why would you need to be well read in any subgenre/timeperiod of fantasy to say something about *a specific book*? I would also like to add that nobody is going to be well read in everything because we just don't live long enough. So I'd rather listen to someone who knows which things they like, and they read a lot in that area, than someone who feels they have to read everything, don't enjoy half of what they read, and are a Jack of all trades, master of none-type of person. But, and this might be an unpopular opinion, I feel like people put too much importance on understanding influences etc. For the average reader, that doesn't matter. Ofcourse someone can be interested in that and read books with those questions in mind, that's fine, but when I'm reading I just think 'am I enjoying myself?' if the answer is yes, I continue reading. That's also what I want to know from reviewers (whose taste I know). I don't care if it's inspired by Tolkien or Greek tragedies or... Maybe if I have all of that information I can appreciate better what an author was trying to do, but at the end of the day: if I don't enjoy your work I can appreciate it all I want, I'm not going to continue reading.

 

So long story short: for me it really doesn't matter as long as you don't give the impression that you DO have that knowledge. People do this all the time with YA for example. They talk bad about it and the only one they can name is Twilight.

 

If you're doing research for something specific, like Epic who is looking at books from a writer perspective, I can see why you like to see this evolution and look at it from a different POV.

We're all just a bunch of nerds that like to read, perfectly said!


Steve IRL

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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On 6/20/2022 at 5:37 PM, JosephRcarrel said:

There are definitely series that when people hear that you haven't read them think oh my gosh you haven't read anything then. That's a little bit of a reason I made my last video kind of outed myself LOL

It's better to out yourself than have someone else do it!

walter white GIF


Steve IRL

► Personal Links:  YouTube (booktube)OTBSteve YouTube (MTB and cycling) ●  Strava  ●  Last.fm  ●  GoodReads ● Vero

 

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There are books I HAVE to read so I can feel "well read" for myself.

The list expands with every book I read and am like wow are there more like this and where did it all come from, then I do the research.

If people say to me I have to read this to be "well read", that will always have the opposite effect of yep never going to read that.

On the other hand if you tell me these are the books that another book are based on and I might like it, that is a definite check and maybe read for me.

I have to admit that I catch myself multiple times if I see/hear something that I know is wrong or like Jolien said they don't have the knowledge but act like they do (Twilight example)...then I'm like, nope not listening to or reading anything from this person again until they correct that.

This goes for any info about books/games/boardgames/movies/series (stuff I like).

I'm elitist like that 🤪.

Full disclosure... I know nothing

game of thrones you know nothing GIF

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I don’t think there are books you have to read to be well read but there are books that are good to read to gain perspective and a sense of history for literature and the genre. Kinda like having a baseline helps but not necessary. Every perspective has value, whether they have read popular books/authors or not imo

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