Random Thoughts

What exactly is “well read”?

I found a very interesting post on another book blog I follow. Here is the link: http://101books.net/2014/12/31/3-in-2014-what-does-it-mean-to-be-well-read/ . It is an interesting look on what it means to be “well read”. I then found another similar post on Book Riot: http://bookriot.com/2012/07/10/what-does-it-mean-to-be-well-read/. It got me thinking on the topic and I did a little snooping around the web to come up with what I think defines someone as “well read”.

Here are the definitions I have found on the web (I kept it at five definitions, there are several others but they are repetitive):


  1. well-informed or deeply versed through reading  (Merrian-Webster)
  2. having read widely and intelligently; erudite (Free Dictionary by Farlex & Dictionary.com)
  3. knowledgeable and informed as a result from extensive reading (Oxford Dictionary)
  4. someone who has learned a lot of information on different subjects by reading (Cambridge Dictionaries Online)
  5. someone who has read many books and knows a lot about different subjects (Longman English Dictionary)

Most of these definitions use “extensive”, so I then found definitions for that as well because it could easily be interpreted differently by each individual.


  1. of great extent; wide; broad (Dictionary.com)
  2. far reaching; comprehensive; thorough (Dictionary.com)
  3. having wide or considerable extent (range, distance, space) (Merriam-Webster)
  4. very full or complete (Merriam-Webster)
  5. large in amount or scale (Oxford dictionary)

In my opinion, I am going with the idea that “well-read” is to have read books/literature that cover a wide variety of intellectual topics, but includes, at its base, the core topics such as philosophy, history, classical fiction/literature, poetry, theater, different cultures, geography/environmental, and politics (although I absolutely cannot stand politics). I think that “well-read” should imply the books and literature read were things read to increase the mind and intellect, not completely fiction. Fiction is a way to expand one’s mind, however, it is more beneficial to improve oneself by non-fictional books due to the accuracy of information. Additionally, it is important that this wide variety is also read in depth, not just a sprinkling of items in each category, but enough for a good knowledge base and the ability to converse intelligently and thoroughly on the topic. I know that I am not well-read as of now. If you have even looked at my “Read” list on Goodreads, you will notice the vast majority of books are romance or sci-fi LOL. However, I am working on expanding my reading to start becoming so. I have started to branch into the classics, which I am finding quite enjoyable, as well as moving into historical mysteries. Now I know historical mysteries are not the intellectual vibe I was going for, but I am hoping that I will work my way through this category into history. I am hoping to be a well-read individual later on in my life, and to do this I must start working my way towards this now. So, I am taking a step away from my traditional reading selections and incorporating more recommended books from friends and places like Goodreads and Amazon. So, if anyone can recommend a few books that would add to someone being “well-read” please feel free to comment and suggest titles and/or authors. I am always up for a good book!


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