Well-Read Woman

A while ago, I saw a post on Facebook by Grammarly that said,

“A well-read woman is a dangerous creature.” — Lisa Kleypas, A Wallflower Christmas.

A few comments mentioned that a well-read woman didn’t read just romance or one genre. It got me thinking how unfair of an assessment that was. What really constituted well-read?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature meaning I’ve read everything from Beowulf to Shakespeare to Chinua Achebe in school. I’ve taken courses in Medieval, Renaissance, Restoration, Romantics, Children’s, African, Comics, American, Irish, British, Canadian, Modern Fiction, Shakespeare, and Environmental Literature, on top of two theory courses. Although I have read everything, and enjoy plenty of things I never thought I would, I do have a preferred genre to read in (and ultimately write in). I’ve also read a lot that I didn’t like, and I mean a lot. I love to read fantasy, paranormal, supernatural based books. Give me magic, dragons, werewolves, vampires, knights, or assassins, it draws me in and I usually devour it. It can be adult fantasy, paranormal romances, or young adult. I have recently downloaded an e-book of supernatural suspense and a medieval mystery.

I will let you in a not-so-secret, during and after doing my English degree I found it hard to read for pleasure or leisure. I found myself getting annoyed with plot twists, getting disinterested in characters and plot lines, over analyzing the novel until I had figured out how it ended (even if I may be wrong and will never know as I never went back to finish those novels). I managed to finish reading a few books during or after my studies: Eon by Allison Goodman and The Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houch during my studies, and The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials by James Dashner in the August of last year. I started The Death Cure but my final program began and I never got around to picking it back up.

I did find bookbub.com which established a kind of addiction of downloading e-books for my commute to and from classes. What was I reading? Paranormal romances in adult, new adult, and young adult genres. My new go-to for something quick and easy to indulge in that doesn’t take me forever to read or stop in-between. In February, I finished 4 novels. If I only have a few minutes, I indulge in manga and comics. I have managed to finish another paranormal romance over the summer but I was working so much that I didn’t get much time either.

So who are well-read women? Don’t most of us have a preferred genre or two that we go to in our busy world?

I believe a well-read woman is a woman who simply loves to read, who loses herself in book after book — world after world. She has been in a thousand different people’s shoes. Lived a thousand lives. She’s fallen in love over and over again, she has saved lives and helped others, and she has also been selfish and a bad ass. She’s been a woman, a man, a child, a hero, a villain, and the sidekick. Maybe a well-read woman is a woman who reads what she wants, devours books like her favourite meal, and finds a new favourite. She’s the woman who itches to go into a bookstore, has a to-read book pile that will never go down because she reads one and buys three more in its place.

I don’t think it matters how or what she reads as long as she does. It calls up, Rosemarie Urquico’s quote (misquoted as Robert Pattinson).

“Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read…
See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice…
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because, for a while, they always are…
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”

Maybe the simple truth of all of this is anyone who reads has a rich life that can enrich the lives of others. Read what you want and don’t worry about what anyone thinks. Simply, read.

Or write your own story.

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