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III. Goodreads Readers > what it means to be well read?

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message 1: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments What books one must read that would qualify them as well read?
what books would you consider a staple in world class literature?

message 2: by Feliks (last edited Aug 29, 2013 07:21PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) Great question--one which I wish a lot more people would be curious about. Its one thing to read for entertainment and distraction; its quite another to read for self-improvement. How many people today have worked their way through the Western Canon? How many people even try? Wiki 'Western Canon' or 'intellectual heritage' to learn more about the concept. It was never perfect but at least its some kind of measure.

A couple of other places to start:

Modern Library

Everyman library

Scribners Classics

Penguin Classics

Grove Press

Harvard Classics

message 3: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments I did study British literature in college, but am no means well read. I will definitely check your links out and get back to you.

message 4: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments I do have another question. what would one need to read to be considered well read in all countries, I.e. Russia or new Zealand. or is the idea lumped into one group of literary works?

message 5: by Feliks (last edited Aug 25, 2013 10:51AM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) While many of the most famous works of non-Western countries are often included in libraries like Everyman..some are assuredly omitted; and so my answer is no. That's part of why the western canon is considered limited; because it does not give truly world-wide scope. You need to devote separate time pursuing studies in specific countries possessing their own literary traditions and milestones.

message 6: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments that's what I thought. I wondered that because in British literature and American literature often times overlap. I was just curious if there was a selection that would be world wide. thank you, you have answered my question. :)

message 7: by Arabella (new)

Arabella Thorne (arabella_thornejunocom) | 354 comments to be well read to me is to be happy with the scope of what you have actually read. I know there are gaps in my book reading...I have always read by following threads--I liked this author...this author is similar and someone speaks up and tells you about yet a third.
Curiosity makes you constantly seek out things...wanting to know what's important to the Indian sub continent mindset or what's on the shelves of folks in Singapore... I haven't read every thing...but I would like to think I am a well-rounded western reader willing to take on anyone's literature as I come across it. I haven't read a lot of Japanese or Chinese authors--but I have read a lot of Russian (In translation)
Its an adventure I enjoy...I always wanted in another life to teach 19th century English literature. Im 61 a little too old to go back and get another degree and teach college....but I have always enjoyed discussing and even arguing about the merits of one author over the other..

message 8: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 509 comments thank you Arabella. well said and I concur

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