Read or YOU DIE

I saw this bookmark on my brother’s dresser:

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And I began to wonder… who made this list?  Why must we read anything before we die?  Why 50 books?  Why THESE 50 books?  Why did this bookmark appeal enough to my brother that he now owns it?  Has he read any of the books on the list?

Really though.

I’m a reader.  I have spent hours upon hours reading, as a little girl, as a teenage girl, as an English major in college, and now, as a graduate student.  My reasons for reading have changed, as would anyone’s reasons while they grow.  Of the books I’ve read, I can say that I have not read all 50 of those books.  Does that make me any less of a well-read person?  Of the 7 books you can see above, I’ve read 5.  Does that make me more of a well-read person?  What does “well”-read even mean?

This could be said of a lot of things..  but it’s funny how someone’s opinion determines the choices you make.  I mean… fiction… literature… it’s supposed to be completely subjective, correct?  Why is this list of 50 books any better than a different list of 50 books?  I agree that maybe this list is one full of books that portray the progression of authorial styles in literature, of genres in literature; they may illustrate important parts of history, religion.  These books may be precedents.. but that means there are other books that could be on this list.  Just because The Beatles popularized rock and roll… doesn’t mean rockers like Breaking Benjamin or Senses Fail are lessers.

If there are 50 books that you should read before you die, that means there are 50 times more that have followed and are just as great.  To me… this bookmark isn’t a representation of all the reading you should do…  or even could do.  To me, a well-read person continues to read what they can, when they can, because they can..  not just because the book is recommended and not just because the book is required.

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Video games are great.  Television is great.  These show you what the human mind is capable of creating.  But, books expose you to what your own mind can create, and encourages you to further create.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned.  Or maybe I’m a bit rebellious.  I like to think that I …. go my own way 😉  And you can’t tell me you don’t hear Fleetwood Mac in your head right now…  You’re welcome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjh5M-PuBRs

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