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501 Must-Read Books
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501 Must-Read Books

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  313 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Paperback, 544 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Bounty Books (Octopus Publishing)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,050)
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Mary
Jul 07, 2008 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of authors and bibliophiles
Recommended to Mary by: the good people of goodreads
I picked this book up in the bargain books area of Borders this past weekend. Several people on Goodreads suggested this as a good reference to find good books and I can see why now after devouring the whole thing in one weekend. In the process I was able to find 12 books to add to my "to read" list - My Left Foot, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, Brain Wave, It, and Unless among others.

Anyone who is interested in the lives of authors will love this book. I expected to only find lists of book
...more
Karen
Jan 08, 2008 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Renata, Marty, Kathi
This is a beautiful book for anyone who loves to read. In my opinion, their selections in the 2 areas with which I am quite familiar, (SciFi and Children's Lit), were extremely accurate. I therefore trust that their choices in other categories, such as History, Memoirs and Diaries, Contemporary Fic, etc., will be just as worth reading when the mood strikes me to venture out of familiar territory. The book is also a sheer physical pleasure to hold and look through.
James M. Madsen, M.D.
I just ran across this book at a local bookstore and quickly snapped it up. The list contains several books that I've read, more that I haven't, and many that I didn't recognize at all. I'm not simply going to import the list of books into my to-read list, but I do intend eventually to read them all. The list seems like a pretty good one, and the one-page book descriptions (complete with nice illustrations) are very helpful. Not the only possible reading guide, but a very good one!
Mariam
What a beautiful treasure!
Review coming soon!
Melinda
I used to read Guiness and the Book of Lists, all the editions, as a kid, so you know this is the kind of book I can get totally absorbed in. This collection is a great reference and jumping-off place if you want to expand your literary horizons. There are full color, page-long write ups of great books from around the world, all conveniently separated into categories like Children's Classics, Science Fiction, Classic Fiction, Modern Fiction, and Mysteries. The articles are smart summaries writte ...more
Janlen
I do not profess having read each and every description (at times deliberately, to avoid having entire plots being laid bare). It is a decent enough reference book but I encountered one particularly chilling error which seriously brings into question the credibility of the work as a whole - in the description of 'Slaughterhouse 5' by Kurt Vonnegut, the main protagonist is stated to be "Billy Piper". Holy mother of Zeus it's Billy "Pilgrim" not "Piper". It begs the question, did this particular c ...more
Myles
This is a decent sort of reference/flip book to while away spare moments. The entries are arranged by genre and include brief essays along with publication information, further works by the same author and pictures of the author and/or a picture of an edition of the book.
Bagger
Feb 05, 2008 Bagger rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Good Reads Members
Shelves: nonfiction
This should be a required book for all goodreads members, not only does it give descriptions of the books, it organizes them into catagories. Reminds you of books you haven't read yet, and of those you've forgotten to put on your lists.
Laura
I keep this on my coffee table all the time! It is an amazing book which gives some wonderful insight of what to read (when you feel like something that isn't on the current best sellers)
Shannon
This is a great book for book lovers who are interested in the works of the greatest authors. Like movies, there are just some books that everyone must read, especially those who classify themselves as a bookworm, or the like. Most people from my generation have seen Jurassic Park; most avid readers have read ‘Catcher in the Rye’.

501 Must-Read Books outlines a collection of books from different genres and time periods that have withstood the test of time and still are considered great works of a
...more
Artemis
My 100th Goodreads review - what better book to talk about than one that is a list of books?

'501 Must-Read Books' is a present from my grandfather for my 22nd birthday. It's a good, comfortable and informative read containing reviews of critically-acclaimed literary works since 2006.

However, it doesn't include Classics such as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'The Count of Monte Cristo', surprisingly. And there aren't many genres that are categorized: some Fantasy novels fall into the Children's and
...more
Traveller
While I often agreed with the authors chosen, I did not always agree with the specific books of these chosen as their "best" works.

I also personally would have re-arranged the genre sections to have a proper non-fiction section.

..and how come we are doing SF and thrillers, but no horror or fantasy? ...for Pete's sake - an iconic author such as Tolkien is included under children's fiction...!! Could the "children's" section not rather have been named: "fantasy" which could have included children'
...more
Stevedutch
No reader will ever agree on which books ought to be classified as ‘must read’. I don’t know about anyone else but as soon as someone recommends a book to me it puts me off reading it. This means, of course, that I have missed out on some excellent reads in the past, that only much later, I have found to be so. But that generally depends upon who recommended them and my age and the context in which they were recommended. I remember a work colleague about twenty years ago being horrified by my ad ...more
Monica Cox
A Must-Have Book. Well organized into categories by genre. Summaries of each book include character descriptions, plot, and theme or author's intent. This is a book that was difficult to return to the local library. It is definitely one to have as a reference. I especially enjoyed the Classic fiction entries, and the Modern Fiction entries; and to realize books read and those I intend to read in the future.
Kim
Gives you an overview of what kind of literature is out there in the world, and a lot of the summaries and reviews that come along with the books they listed gives you a taste of what is to be expected. Basically, it's a really good guide to point you into new directions in what kinds of books or authors you want to read about.
Julie
May 24, 2010 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, book
I LOVE book list and books about books. I'm the type of person who strives to own (and read) all the Pulitzers. This book was fun to go through and mark what I've read and what I own and plan to read, and it lead me to make many new literary discoveries. However, when I actually began reading it, I found the text itself was sub-par. The synopses of the individual books spend far too long describing the beginnings of books, but rush through the main plot, followed by a two-sentence “review” on wh ...more
Natalia
I'm constantly looking for best of lists... Best fiction of... Year, all time best fiction, bestbiography, etc.... on the internet. I usually am dissapointed. I love, love, love this book. The books are great and I've discovered so many new favourites. A great gift for any book lover and lover of lists:-D
Jody Spencer
I really have to wonder about some of the choices that made it into this book but it is definitely expanding my reading styles!
Kris
4.5 STARS

A great reference book for must reads! Great to have on hand.
Joy Ramlogan
just got this book of lists of books today for the most selfish reason of liking the format with pictures. And now am completely seduced by the History list and am wondering when to go to the library and see if by chance any of these fascinating books are there - particularly interested by Carcopino's Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Ferguson's Colossus : The rise and fall of the American Empire and I have to read Bartoleme de las Casas' A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. One day. This ...more
Steffi
I really enjoyed to read this book. As a German I know a lot of german anthologies and best-book lists, but here I could see another perspective, a perspective from the point of englisch-speaking nations. I rediscovered a lot of good old friends - not only Germans like Erich Kaestner's children books, but also novels like 84 Charing Cross Road, Disgrace... The chapters are very well definded in some fiction and non-fiction areas.
Of course, I missed some of my favourites, but every list has to re
...more
Vincent
Great coffee table book. 501 Must Read Books is divided into the following categories: Children's, Classics, History, Memoirs, Modern Lit, Science Fiction, Thrillers and Travel. The author lists the "must read" book, giving some background on the author and the book, as well as a short list of other notable books by the author. I had planned to dip in and out of this book, but found myself actually reading it straight through.
Jesse
It's my own fault for not realizing this book was published in the UK, but unfortunately, that makes some of the "must-read books" skewed, in my opinion. While some of them would certainly also make it into a US "must-read" book, I doubt all of them would. Therefore, I don't believe this book applies to me, however it does include the Harry Potter books, so that makes it relevant on some level.
Jessica Thurlow
I love this book! It's a short (yes, 501 choices is short) collection of book titles with short descriptions. It feels like such an accomplishment to tick off one of these titles. My copy has post-it tags sticking out every where and I've probably read it many times. I got through it every so often to update the books I happen to have read. It's a must-have for book lovers!
Courtney
Love this book. I found it at Walden Books, on clearance. It gives a very well rounded look at every category of literature. Whenever I don't know what to read next, I whip out this book and in no time, I find myself looking for one of the 501 books at the library. Perfect.
Simon
It was neat to discover all these titles that I never knew existed. I was happy to find some of my favorites in there and was surprised that others were not.
I assume this book is 501 so and so, because the 1 on the end is the actual book itself.
Just my guess.
Hank Wyborney
One of my favorite coffee table books in a long time. Lovingly told with cool pictures of old covers, this book is divided by genres: classics; thrillers, sci-fi, modern novel, etc. Even on rereading it, I get immediately hooked and intrigued to try some new books.
Jennifer
I read through this book a couple years ago and I did not strictly adhere to it, but it gave me some good ideas for books I could read. Sometimes you need to read something other than your Patterson clone or your Stephen King classic...This is truly a neat book.
Danine
This book is a book that doesn't need to be read from cover to cover. It is a book to expose readers to other books. It's like '1001 Must Read Books before you Die' but it's shorter and there is no pressure to read all the books before your death.
Linda
Note to self....check the publishing site before investing in a book of great books! Very heavily slanted towards Great Britain authors but I did some add some classics to my read list. Donated to public library.
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