I’m not particularly well read within my genre.
This relies on a couple of large assumptions:
1) that it’s possible to read the whole genre, and
2) that we’re even talking about one specific genre.
So if I break it down:
Classics of SF–no, hardly read any of the big names.
Classics of Fantasy–I’ve read a lot of these, but not many of the more recent ones.
Some people are scandalized when they find out that I haven’t read any of Terry Pratchett’s stuff or The Game of Thrones. Why haven’t I read everything by Neil Gaiman???
There are two considerations here:
1) There’s just too much out there to have read it all.
I found early on that I preferred some authors to others. If I didn’t like one, I didn’t bother reading on. So yes, I may not have that book you consider a MUST READ. I just don’t like everything.
2) I haven’t read a lot in genre recently.
By recently, I mean since about 2004 or 5. I’m finding that when I do have time to read stuff in genre, I’m scrambling to catch up on all my friends’s books. Getting around to a book by an author I don’t know is pretty rare. Note: I’m not saying that my friends are the world’s best writers*. I’m saying that they’re going to get preferential treatment in my TBR pile.
FWIW: I do read a ton of research stuff. That’s what takes up the majority of my reading time. I finished one of my research texts over the holiday (Catholocism for Dummies), and would have done some free reading, but discovered that I didn’t have anything new on my phone kindle…so I just re-read some mysteries. (Nell Sweeney!)
So please don’t be scandalized that I haven’t read _____________________’s book.
*but they are ;o)