"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Reading Equals Culture

My comments in answer to this post on reading.

I haven't read Moby Dick, either, nor do I plan to ever read it. Reading it doesn't interest me. Neither does reading Hemingway (not after managing to read only 3 pages of one of his books in high school). I can always find information about those books should I feel the need to have that knowledge.

As a librarian, I want people to read. Anything. I don't care what. After all, Charles Dickens was once the pulp writer of his time. Classics aren't written as classics. That happens decades later. They're books that stand the test of time. Who knows how Danielle Steel and Stephen King will be viewed 50 years from now.

A society that reads will retain knowledge. I'm much more concerned about retaining scientific knowledge in society than a taste in "classic" literature.

Lists of Books Everyone Should Read are nice if you're looking for recommendations. But to consider them required reading once you're out of school and not getting them as assignments is to be bullied by people you give authority over you for your "cultural" well being.

Read what you enjoy. As long as you're reading, you can't go wrong. And yes, that goes for porn, too. Or perhaps, just erotica. ;)