Saturday, November 25, 2017

Well - Read


I was reading another literary blog that I absolutely love, and she was discussing being Well-Read. This got me to thinking about what does it mean to be Well-Read?

I proudly flaunt my Well-Read Black girl t-shirt, and now, after reading that post, I have been doing some really serious thinking about what it means to be Well-Read?

I use to think that being well-read meant that a person had read and had some level of  understanding of the classics such as at least two or three plays by Shakespeare, The Scarlett Letter, Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre, and a whole bunch of other books written a LONG time ago by a whole bunch of dead white people. I remember feeling guilty, because I was an English teacher and had not read Waldon by Henry David Thoreau. So, I attempted to read it. I am happy that I read it, but I must admit that I skimmed most of it, and I didn’t understand or enjoy most of it. However, I could check that book off my list, and join the Well-Read club. (Whatever!)

However, I know tons of folks who read a whole lot, and many of them have never, ever read any of those books that I thought made folks Well-Read. However, those same folks can talk about books that I have never, ever heard of  and have me making my reading list even longer. So, what makes a person Well-Read?

I have totally let go of the idea that folks have to read the books in the 'literary canon' in order to Well-Read. I even gave my students and myself permission to decide upon our very own literary canon and include all of the books that speak to our hearts. I wrote about that here.

I am thinking that being Well-Read may have something to do with the number of books that a person reads a year? So, what would be a magic number? Twenty or thirty? But, what if that person only read science-fiction books, or books by only White writers, or books by only Black writers... You get my point?

Now, I prefer fiction books written by folks of color; however, I will read just about any book under the sun. Folks tell me to try books, and if they about talk the books with a lot of love, then I will definitely read them. For instance, last summer I was at Texas Christian College, and this teacher mentioned the Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. You should have seen the joy on her face when she talked about it. She even sent me an email to ask if I had read it. So, you know what I did, I read that book and loved it. I must admit that I did not think highly of Jodi Picoult as a writer. Not sure why, but I thought her books were fluffy books, and I had no desire to read them. But, I sure did love every single word of The Storyteller. Like I said before, I will read just about anything.

For the past two years, I have read tons of Young Adult (YA) novels, and those YA authors are bringing IT. Those YA writers are writing and writing courageously. I am not sure about other folks students, but my students are eating those books up, and they are sparking some of those conversations and writings that causes my students and me to dig deep within.

I do consider myself to be Well-Read, and I am still not quite sure what that means. However, what I do know is that I read all of the time: books, newspapers, articles, my students' writings etc. When I really want to explore my feelings and thoughts, I turn to books. When I want to know more about the world in which I live, I turn to books. When I want to know more about human nature, I turn to books. So........

What y’all think about being Well-Read?


Darkowaa said...

Thanks for reading the posts! I love your response to the question. Being 'well-read' is very, very personal and a lifelong journey. <3

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for that post.

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