Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Let's Retire the Expression "Required Reading"

Not all writings are equal. Some necessarily have more merit than others; some are more edifying, well-written, accurate, entertaining, informative, or whatever is reflected in the original purpose of the writing. And some are better ways to spend your time with than others.

But there seems to be this overused expression that seems to have grown like kudzu all over the writing landscape: To often, if a book or article is judged favorably by someone and she or thinks other should read it, the lackidaisical line calling it "required reading" is used, as in, "This book should be required reading for all novice strippers" or "This article should be required reading for all high-minded, politically in-tune, progressive individuals who might otherwise be affected by the wrong thoughts or views that they might otherwise have come up with।"

I am not saying that it is wrong to like some writing, or to say that people might enjoy it. Saying "this should be required reading" makes the user of this expression into a demigod or some cheap autocrat as well as being an unwarranted grabbing at authority.


  1. Basically, isn't the expression, "required reading" a cliché. Clichés should be avoided like the plague.

  2. I agree. I always thought it was a stupid expression also.

  3. I have just installed iStripper, so I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers strip-teasing on my taskbar.