1001 Books to Read Before You Die

1001 booksI like lists. More importantly, I like crossing things off of lists. It feels like I’ve accomplished something, a visual representation of a task completed. So, when I discovered the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, I jumped at the challenge.

At first, I just printed the list and manually crossed off the books I had read. Then I bought the book to see why each book was worth reading. Eventually, I realized there were multiple editions of the list/book, with additions and deletions being added every couple of years, which admittedly made my printed list a little unwieldy. Enter the marvels of technology: a spreadsheet which tabulates the number of books you have read, a “master” list which includes all books ever on the list (it currently totals 1305, which is my new goal, making the 1001 book list a misnomer in my case), and a way to rate each book as well as track statistics on your progress.

There is much debate about the usefulness of such a list. It was, after all, compiled by a group of people with their own biases, and the list is admittedly flawed in many ways (no Canterbury Tales?). However, reading books off of the list has been beneficial to me in at least two ways: 1) I get to cross things off lists. 2.) I have been exposed to a number of phenomenal books I might not have picked up otherwise. Due to the nature of this type of list, there will be books you won’t enjoy as much, or even those you will wonder how they got on the list at all. I belong to a group on Goodreads that discusses the merits of the books, as well as strategies for tackling the lists. There are some readers who abandon the list books when they’re not getting anything out of them. I see the logic in this, but I haven’t been able to do that myself (I couldn’t cross it off the list then!). So, sometimes I slog away to finish a book that’s “not my style,” but usually even these books have some value, even if they seem tortuous as I’m reading them.

Some of my favorite books — ones I may never have picked up if not for the list — have included Ian McEwan’s Saturday, Muriel Barbery’s Elegance of the Hedgehog, and Unless by Carol Shields. I could have done without Life of Pi and Dashiell Hammett’s The Red Harvest. Reading other people’s reactions, I know many hated the books I loved and adored the books I hated. Obviously, it’s subjective, and one benefit of the list is the broad type of books and authors included, so there are certain to be books that really speak to you personally, even if there are many that miss the mark. Plus, there’s the whole crossing things off a list thing.

Trackback URL

, , , , ,

7 Comments on "1001 Books to Read Before You Die"

  1. Cheap Oakley Sunglasses
    22/05/2013 at 7:12 am Permalink

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this web site before but after looking at some of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  2. ray ban brille
    16/06/2013 at 9:31 am Permalink

    love this site ! it’s a great site may i suggest you get an rss feed.

  3. made in sport maillot
    19/07/2013 at 9:43 pm Permalink

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  4. iherb.com coupon
    20/08/2013 at 10:54 pm Permalink

    Can I just say what a comfort to find somebody who
    actually understands what they’re talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people must read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you surely possess the gift.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 1001 Books to Read Before You Die May 10, 2013 [...]

  2. » Nicholas Nickleby glo knows 24/05/2013 at 8:51 am

    [...] 1001 Books to Read Before You Die May 10, 2013 [...]

  3. [...] 1001 Books to Read Before You Die May 10, 2013 [...]

Hi Stranger, leave a comment:

ALLOWED XHTML TAGS:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Comments