On Being Well-Read

Forty Acres and a Starship

Ever since I began pursuing a career in academia—i.e., ever since I first had the crazy thought I might enjoy teaching students—I’ve wondered what it meant to be “well-read.” It’s a term that one should be careful to throw around. Extreme caution is advised when describing oneself as well-read. Because, chances are, there are at least a few books you haven’t read that someone will be startled to hear you haven’t read. When people marvel at what books one has—or hasn’t—read, it’s always important to see reading as the heart of a lifelong learning process.

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