Does there, I wonder, exist a being who has read all, or approximately all, that the person of average culture is supposed to have read, and that not to have read is a social sin? If such a being does exist, surely he is an old, a very old man, who has read steadily that which he ought to have read sixteen hours a day, from early infancy. … My leisure has been moderate, my desire strong and steady, my taste in selection certainly above average, and yet in ten years I seem scarcely to have made an impression upon the intolerable multitude in volumes which ‘everyone is supposed to have read.’

— Arnold Bennett, Journal, Oct. 15, 1896