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Monday, March 26, 2007

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

I have various feelings about books of this sort. One is deep cynicism ('Great Books' and there are apparently only FOUR Australians?! You've got to be kidding) and it would be easier to debate the omissions rather than the inclusions. Then the morbid part of me questions whether, once you're dead, you're really going to care if you've read one or all 1001 anyway.

If not, I'm sure God will fill you in on all the grey areas you missed. I'm sure he's amenable in that respect.

They're the quibbles.

On the other hand, the competitive, knowledge-thirsty part of me wants to tackle the challenge. I doubt I will ever, ever, finish them all because I have already begun many of the titles only to put them down for various reasons: boredom being the most prevalent. Yes, OK, 'Art' should be celebrated, but most titles have greater meanings and destinies than to find a place in my humble little soul. Besides, (my) life's too short for books that aren't engaging.

So my goal is to review books from the list that I believe ought to be there. This is my version of this particularly detailed meme (examples of which may be found here and here) that is currently doing the rounds and make my eyes crust over with the obvious labour of compilation.

I will make this a continuing project, and put it on the sidebar so those of you who are interested can chart my progress. Or put in your own two-cents worth. Or do your own. Here, I'll make it easy for you. Here is the complete list of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

How many have you read? You may be surprised.

Read: The Monk, Dracula, Wide Sargasso Sea, The end of the affair, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lolita, Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird , What Maisie Knew, King Solomon's Mines, The Secret Agent, Middlesex

Abandoned: Fear of Flying and Captain Corelli's Mandolin

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Comments on "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die"


Blogger bubandpie said ... (9:04 am) : 

Well, I've read just over 100 of those books, so if I live to be 350, I should have time to get through them all.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:26 am) : 

Wow. Uh... does watching the movie count?

These kinds of lists always make me feel like shit.

Aside from the books I was forced to read in high school (Mockingbird, Jungle and Scarlett Letter) I have only read Lord of the Flies and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. heh.

I started Catch 22, A Prayer For Owen Meany and Cry, The Beloved Country but never finished any of them.

I'm pathetic. But I should get points for at least being married to a man that has read probably over 200 of them. I have seen many of them in my own library at home, so I should also get points for owning a good portion of them too, I feel.

I always said that Mike was responsible for teaching our kids how to be smart and well read and I would be responsible for teaching them how to be popular.

You're welcome kids. We planned it so that you would be well rounded little individuals.



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9:49 am) : 

YES! VALIDATION! Mike pointed out that I have read Franny and Zooey as well as The Little Prince.

Ha! That makes 7! Out of 1001!



Blogger cipriano said ... (10:17 am) : 

You REALLY know you are on the complete other side of the world when you read a blog-post dated March 26th, and you've still got a whole bunch of candles to burn before March 25th is over!
I want to read ALL of those books before I die!
If I stay where I am over here.... will I always have ONE EXTRA day to do it?


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (12:39 pm) : 

bub - I'll be that old too, probably.

jamie - I have a lot of these books on my shelf too, unread. Like you, I've hoped to absorb their matter by close proximity. I haven't read Zooey or Prince, so you're beating me there!

cipriano - that's the spirit!


Blogger Libby said ... (3:14 pm) : 

Thanks for the list, I've printed it out. This is a book that I've been tempted to buy for a while, and have occasionally browsed it. I'd say that I've read about two hundred of the books and put down about forty or fifty after browsing mostly because for one reason or another they didn't appeal to me, of course I've had a few more years of reading time than you. There are quite a few must or should read books on the list. But I can think of a few 'why not?' books, sometimes an author has been considered but not his/her best book, or so it seems to me. I've always been a sucker for the classic English novel, about 100 of my reads were pre 1900. Thanks again, I'll keep the list in mind when I next go to the library.


Blogger Elizabeth said ... (4:00 am) : 

It was a surprise. I'd read more than I had thought probable and left even more unfinished.


Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said ... (9:56 pm) : 

I'm embarassed to say I've only read 48 1/2 of these. That is pathetic.

(I'm reading "Life of Pi" right now.


Blogger Oh, The Joys said ... (10:53 am) : 

I'm going to check it out.


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (12:31 pm) : 

Word is spreading, I see. Don't be discouraged people!! Lists are so arbitrary anyway, so long as you like what you DO read!


Blogger Larry Keiler said ... (1:08 pm) : 

----only 1 out of the first 50 -- Life of Pi.

Too busy reading the books I want to read, I guess, rather than someone else's list.


Anonymous Sherri Caldwell - The Rebel Housewife said ... (1:18 am) : 

I didn't look at the list -- I can't, as it would be too overwhelming. I have been looking at a lot of lists lately, as I've taken over coordinating a local offline Book Group and now I'm responsible for selecting GREAT books each month for a very diverse group -- ah, the pressure!

But I started this comment to ask if, as an obvious Oprah fan (by the quote in your header), you've seen her book list, which is currently about 60 books, a good mix of classics & new, my favorite list so far, much less demoralizing:

Live, Love & Laugh,


Blogger Pour of Tor said ... (6:29 am) : 

I too am a list addict, and have been working on this as a (very, very) long term project since the book came out. [I will even admit that I have been working on the "1001 Movies" project for a little longer, and haver finally reached the halfway point after several years of watching. The books project will, obviously, take several decades longer.] I have a lot of disagreements with the list, but I appreciate that it has already introduced me to quite a few books that I would never have read otherwise.


Blogger Busy Dad Mumbles said ... (12:59 am) : 

Could we go to 1002? How about Dr.Suess' Green Eggs and Ham. A classic.


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