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1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die by…

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006)

by Peter Boxall (Editor)

Other authors: Peter Ackroyd (Introduction)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: 1001 (Books), 1001 ... before you die, 1001

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,220764,810 (3.88)1 / 485
Offers reviews covering centuries of writing, with each entry accompanied by an essay describing the importance and influence of the work in question.

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English (63)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (76)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I mean, did I "read" this "books to read" book? These things mostly operate as big recommendation engines -- a leg on a greater anal, autistic (and more than slightly disqualifying, I would think) Journey through Literature, of which this account occupies no negligible place. Pearl: many recs, albeit clearly those of a librarian (for good and ill); Boxall: if you only have 150 words for each, stop spending the whole time just summarizing the shit; Mustich: at least there's an identifiable critical (?) voice here. ( )
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 5, 2019 |
This massive tome contains a list of books you should read voted on by respected editors and other folk. The list is easy enough to find I guess, and I don't feel like typing the thing out. This book contains the list, and each item of the list contains information about who wrote it and the approximate date of initial publication. The list is organized Chronologically by date of release and sometimes has an image relating to the book in question. Sometimes it is a cover, other times it is a work of art relating to it and so on.

It is really like a compressed printed form of Goodreads that has been printed out and curated.

If you want something to read, this book has 1001 suggestions for you. Five out of Five stars. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
About last night...I became so enthralled with this “big ole book” that I skimmed it from cover to cover. I learned a lot of different things including: I definitely will not and do not want to read all of these particular books; I even decided against some classics I thought I was gonna read; found books I had not heard of that I can’t wait to read; reading 1 page book reviews is fun. It’s really worth going through it, I think. ( )
  joyfulmimi | May 13, 2019 |
(Original Review, 2010-04-18)

I found this list rather heavy on very recent fiction. There is also no way of knowing whether books published a few years ago will withstand the test of time, and I suspect many won´t. This is a reason why, apart from a handful of favourites, I tend to restrict my (sadly limited) reading to more established authors. 4 times out of 5, when I believe the "hype", I end up disappointed.

I also found this list astonishingly weak on works not written in English. I certainly didn´t keep count, but it seemed as if about 2/3 of the books on this list were - this is a pretty arrogant and unbelievable figure - especially as many English-language writers appeared multiple times. As someone fortunate enough to have grown up bilingual, I know that some of the best books don´t translate well, but the real problem is that fiction in translation simply occupies not only a very limited market but also a low-status in the English-speaking world. In this respect, Boxall, a Brit, has definitely much to learn from us Continental Europeans.

Along this line, the book I’m glad Boxall didn’t miss the most was Fernando Pessoa´s “The Book of Disquiet.” This Portuguese writer may be largely unknown among Anglophones, but the Spanish, French, Italians and Germans have long since caught on. And not just them. Harold Bloom, who many would argue “knows a great deal” (he has read a lot) about literature, included Pessoa in his "canon" of the 10 (only 10!) writers everyone should have read! But I suppose the fact that this book has neither a definable plot nor belongs in any known genre would mean it's be too much for Boxall to handle. Still, please read it! (And when you do, choose the Richard Zenith Penguin translation, which in my opinion, is far superior to the Margaret Jull Costa one, which even translates the title as the far more awkward “The Book of Disquietude.”) This collection of notes, written around the 19-teens and twenties and published posthumously in no particular order, is by far the most philosophical and prematurely postmodern reflection on the self any of us are likely to come across. (Who else could imbue a sensation we all know with so much poetry - even in translation - and metaphysical weight as Pessoa, when he writes, for example, "... this was denied me, like the spare change we might deny a beggar not because we´re mean-hearted but because we don´t feel like unbuttoning our coat.") Anyone I know who has read it begins to integrate the adjective "Pessoa-esque" into their reflections on life, and I always say, if I had to choose one book to last me the rest of my life, this and certainly not the Bible, would be it. Shame on you Guardian books staff, for ignoring one of the undisputable (but tragically, non-English-language) masterpieces of the 20th century!

Having said this, and to be honest, this whole idea of a "thousand novels to read before you die" is so bloody middlebrow and offensive; it just cannot be taken seriously, especially when the list that resulted from it is so tedious and slapdash. To read through a 1,001 novels just because some bugger says they're important, but with no real and based explanations given as to why they are, nor any idea as to why this particular list of novels should be read, is silly.

I'm sure there are worthy authors missing on this list, but it won't be improved by their inclusion. The whole idea is just patronising.

1,001 books to read... at my age, I don't know if I'd get through them all unless I live till my early 100s (by which time there'll be others on the list). And reading only a handful of novels a year? Please!! That's slacking. I’m reading around 100 a year and I want to read stuff not in this book… 2 stars for the inclusion of Pessoa…wait, wait…No Shakespeare, no Dante, no Marlowe, no Virgil, no Homer, No Plato, no Socrates, …, forget it, 1 star! Boxall is crazy! ( )
  antao | Dec 2, 2018 |
I did a very naughty thing today. In fact I'm still hiding the evidence from my husband. I bought a book. Not any old book. An expensive "do I really need another?" book, aptly named "1001 books you must read before you die" - Preface by Peter Ackroyd, and general editing by Peter Boxall. Advertised as a comprehensive reference source, chronicling the history of the novel and it's an absolute beauty.

For a smallish book it's thick, weighing the equivalent to two, or three 1lb bags of sugar. (I don't know, I'm useless at things like that - they either heavy or they're not!) By the way, as it's so weighty it's
definitely not for reading in bed when you are sleepy, unless you want to knock yourself out for a week!

Not only does it look good with a cover designed (in primary colours) by David Pelham for A Clockwork Orange, written by Anthony Burgess (1972), it's smooth, shiny and smells good, too!

I plan to go through the book and read every single novel the two Peter's recommend, and share my findings on my website. Starting from Aesop's Fables, (4BCE), which I own and have never read - to Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) that I admit to avoiding when it first came out because it sounded too pepped up by those wealthy critics I love to hate.

It's going to cost a fortune if I can't these recommended books in any of my local libraries, however, I'm a bibliophilist and it's the price I'm (almost) willing to pay! Anyway, I'm a reviewer. It's my job!

From what I have read so far, this is worth every penny.I'm not bothered if I do or don't ag
ree with the two Pete's findings - it will be fun testing each and every book out.

This book alone gives a bibliophile a sense of direction, a new chance to discover critically acclaimed masterpieces, cult classics, and an introduction to some contemporary fiction titles that may have passed you by.

Featuring over 600 full-colour images of books covers and frontispieces, posters and other contextual images, this is a dream come true for me. It also supplies you with quotes from authors and their novels, which makes this even more of delight to read, considering this is a reference book. I gave this book five stars because just the thought of it gets me excited!

Incidentally, as I rushed out of the shop with my book clutched tightly to my chest, scanning the car park for my car (wishing I'd taken more notice where I parked), I couldn't help but wonder how ironic it would be if I died in a car crash on the way home, and they discovered this book "10
01 books you must read before you die" in the boot of my car... ( )
  SassyBrit | Nov 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
An odd book fell into my hands recently, a doorstopper with the irresistible title “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” That sounds like a challenge, with a subtle insult embedded in the premise. It suggests that you, the supposedly educated reader, might have read half the list at best. Like one of those carnival strength-testers, it dares you to find out whether your reading powers rate as He-Man or Limp Wrist.


» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Boxall, PeterEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bassie, SimoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borghi, AntonellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Byrne, JessicaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calzada, Francisco JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crossley-Lamin, PatriciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
d'Ormesson, JeanPréfacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamin, LorenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcy-Benitez, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Philipse, MartheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is an ancient connection between death, storytelling, and the number 1001. (Introduction)
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