On being "well-read"

I always feel pitifully under read. I have not read the classics. I have not found a genre that I am passionate about enough to focus my energies on to become "well-read" in at least a specific area. I don't know where to start on picking out a fiction book from a book shop (although I find it easy enough to pick non-fiction - why is that?).

My relocation to London means I have a commute that is perfect for reading as my recent "book reviews" show and I felt great about that until I saw some of the crazy reading challenges on goodreads. Last year I read 22 books. The average goal for all participants in the goodreads 2011 reading challenge is 70 books but some people are challenging themselves to 200 or more which seems phenomenal to me.

Linda Holmes' excellent article, the sad, beautiful fact that we're all going to miss almost everything brought the issue into clear perspective for me.

I need to surrender to the fact that I am not going to be an uber-reader. 200 books a year is not going to fit in with my lifestyle and who I am right now. It's entirely possible that I might get up to that level at some point but any time soon. However, if I continue with my current reading pattern, i.e. totally random, I am unlikely to progress to a point where I feel any more "well-read".

Instead, I need a plan of attack, a reading list, a bibliography, a kindle. Okay, I don't actually need a kindle, that's just something I want!

If anyone has any good book recommendations I would love to hear them so they can be incorporated into my reading plan. I love that I sound like I am going to actually write a reading plan - that is not going to happen I'm sure.

And in the course of writing this post about how I'm going to get all "quality over quantity" on the book reading front, I signed up for the aforementioned goodreads challenge and set myself the rather ridiculous challenge of 45 books. Way to go practicing what you preach!