It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a good library, must be in want of more books.
Something like that, anyway.
This is getting more and more interesting. We seem to be having a real conversation about books, across multiple blogs and comments threads. I love it! And the really fun part is the sheer variety of tastes and opinions and experiences.
Your responses since last night have me reconsidering my position yet again. Is it important that I read many kinds of books, or only important that I read books, preferably ones I enjoy? How does quality factor in to it? What about cultural literacy? Is it important to read Moby Dick, as poet Thomas Lusk warns?
"Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals"
by Thomas Lusk
I, the final arbiter
and ultimate enforcer
of such things (appointed by the king!), make official
and binding this: that the eyes shall be gouged out
and replaced by hot coals
in the head, the blockhead,
of each citizen who,
upon reaching his/her majority,
has yet to read
Moby-Dick, by Mr. Herman Melville (1819-1891), American novelist
Or is it enough that I know the gist of it, the first sentence, the name Ahab and so on?
Isn't it equally valid to be a specialist, like Pat, reading in depth in areas of interest? Pat regularly introduces her readers to new books and new writers, most of them in the YA Fantasy field. That's got to be helpful both to readers of that genre and the writers themselves. I know more about the fiction of Madeleine L'Engle than 99% of her readers, and have written extensively on the subject. Surely that's valuable, too. And the generalists and binge readers among us, meanwhile, can point us in all sorts of directions with their recommendations.
Meanwhile, I have indeed saved a PDF of Pride and Prejudice, and dug up my paperback copy from the 1970s. I figured I could carry that around more easily than the laptop or a printout, and read it once I finished reading that Doctor Who book (which I've now done). But it turns out the first 20 pages of my old, yellowed, 50 cent copy (apparently purchased used for 25 cents) are missing, and pages 21-22 are loose. Maybe I'll print just the beginning of the PDF and then switch over at Chapter VI.
Or maybe I'll read some of my collected L'Engle nonfiction. I've been threatening to do that for years.