Wednesday 17 February 2016

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall

I have absolutely no intention of reading all 1001 books inside the covers of this brick.

In fact, I will most likely never read the 1001 individual entries unless I get stranded on a desert island!

I refuse to sign on for another impossible-to-finish reading challenge.

But I do want to decrease my TBR mountain...which is why I picked this book up in the first place. I'm hoping it will prompt me to read the books I have so that I can tick them off this list.

Last night I was feeling a little bored and unable to settle to anything constructive, so I decided to count just how many of the 1001 I have read so far.

My list looks a little something like this:

Dangerous Liaisons
The Sorrows of Young Werther
Pride and Prejudice
Emma (there were not many authors who had four of their books listed in here - just saying #janeaustenrocks !!)
Oliver Twist
Jane Eyre
Vanity Fair
Wuthering Heights
David Copperfield
Madame Bovary
The Woman in White
Mill on the Floss
Great Expectations
War and Peace
Anna Karenina
Portrait of a Lady
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Jude the Obscure
Wings of the Dove
House of Mirth
The Forsyte Saga
A Room With a View
Howards End
Ethan Frome
Sons and Lovers
The Thirty Nine Steps
The Age of Innocence
A Passage to India
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Cold Comfort Farm
Brave New World
Of Mice and Men
The Grapes of Wrath
Animal Farm
If This is a Man
Brideshead Revisited
Love in a Cold Climate
A Town Like Alice
The Lord of the Rings
End of the Affair
Day of the Triffids
The Story of O
Lord of the Flies
The Leopard
Catch 22
The Quiet American
Doctor Zhivago
Midwich Cuckoos
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The French Lieutenant's Woman
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
The Shining
Delta of Venus
The Beggar Maid
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller
Schindler's Ark
The Color Purple
The Drowned and the Saved
If Not Now, When?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Handmaid's Tale
Love in the Time of Cholera
The New York Trilogy
Oscar and Lucinda
Like Water For Chocolate
Remains of the Day
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow
Wild Swans
Written on the Body
The English Patient
Possessing the Secret of Joy
Remembering Babylon
Shipping News
The Reader
Felicia's Journey
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Alias Grace
Fugitive Pieces
The God of Small Things
Enduring Love
The Hours
The Namesake
Suite Francaise
Inheritance of Loss

That's 120 book out of 1001 - that's only about 12% in 48 years of life.
At this rate I will have to live to be 435 years of age to read the rest!

However, on my current TBR pile I have:

Tale of the Genji
The Princess of Cleves
Moll Flanders
Robinson Crusoe
Dream of the Red Chamber
Le Pere Goriot
The Devil's Pool
Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Count of Monte Cristo
Moby Dick
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Last Chronicle of Barset
Therese Raquin
The Death of Ivan Illyich
La Bete Humaine
Picture of Dorian Gray
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Diary of a Nobody
The Time Machine
What Maisie Knew
War of the Worlds
The Hound of the Baskervilles
Heart of Darkness
The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Death in Venice
The Home and the World
The Return of the Soldier
The Good Soldier
Kristin Lavransdatter
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Waves
The Professor's House
Mrs Dalloway
To the Lighthouse
Remembrance of Things Past
Independent People
Goodbye to Berlin
Pippi Longstocking
Under the Net
The Talented Mr Ripley
The Tin Drum
The Siege of Krishnapur
The Commandant
The Singapore Grip
On the Black Hill
Cider with Rosie
The Golden Notebook
The Virgin in the Garden
The Bell Jar
Master and Margarita
A Dance to the Music of Time
Quartet in Autumn
The Sea the Sea
An Artist of the Floating World
Flaubert's Parrot
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
The Unconsoled
What I Loved
Cloud Atlas
The Master
Elegance of the Hedgehog
The Reluctant Fundamentalist

That's another 78 books - another 7%

Have you read any of the books lurking on the shelves and in the cupboards around my house? Which one should I tackle next?

My edition of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is the 2009 Australian one with a preface by Jennifer Byrne.


  1. These are the books I have read from the list you put:
    Sense and Sensibility
    Pride and Prejudice
    Jane Eyre
    David Copperfield
    Madame Bovary
    The Woman in White
    Great Expectations
    Little Women
    The Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
    The Great Gatsby
    Of Mice and Men
    The Grapes of Wrath
    Animal Farm
    Lord of the Rings
    One Hundred Years of Solitude
    Far From the Madding Crowd
    Picture of Dorian Gray
    The Bell Jar
    Kafka on the Shore

    And these are the books I haven't read yet but I watched the movie versions( Does it count? lol)
    Anna Karenina
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    The English Patient
    The Reader
    The Hours
    The Talented Mr Ripley
    Cloud Atlas

    You shouldn't miss out The Bell Jar, because it is the core book to understand the life of Sylvia Plath, and it is also amazing! The talented Mr Ripley is one of my favorite movies, so I'm sure its book is more beautiful than the movie. I mean the story is quite interesting.

  2. Aren't these 1001/1000 lists so depressing?! I have a Guardian's 1000 list and I've only read 93 books from it. As for your TBR List, I'd recommend: Robinson Crusoe, Les Miserables, Diary of a Nobody (for a laugh), The Picture of Dorian Gray, Out of Africa, The Master and Margarita (if you was something kind of odd), and To The Lighthouse (if you're ready for a challenge for your mind). I'll be interested to see what you choose to read next!

  3. Ha! I just acquired this book a couple of weeks ago and its playing havoc with my TBR! I haven't finished my list of what I've read yet, but I suspect I'll come in at around the same as you. I think I might be able to resist the 15th century Catalan stuff though... ;)

    1. Yeah! And some of the post-modern ills-of-society stuff won't make it onto my reading list either ;-)

  4. I've read BELOVED (very deep about slavery); THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG (on my top ten favorites books but I read it with a dictionary nearby); THE BELL JAR (Sylvia Plath could flat-out write. Such a pity.) Les Miserables (I read the abridged version but it was still over 800 pages so I don't feel like I cheated much.)

  5. I love these lists and I love these types of book.

    I am also very partial to Howard Bloom's Western Cannon as well as Clifton Fadiman and John S. Major's Lifetime Reading Plan.


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