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1001 Books: You Must Read Before You Die (1001 Before You Die)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,768 ratings  ·  267 reviews
For discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable classic literature, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a trove of reviews covering a century of memorable writing. Each work of literature featured here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word.The featured works have been handpicked by a team of international critics an ...more
Paperback, 960 pages
Published March 9th 2006 by Cassell Illustrated, a division of the Octopus Publishing Group (first published 2006)
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Emily May

I have never had a problem finding books to read.

My whole life, I've never had a problem finding books to read and love. Of all kinds. Of all genres. I would seek them out, one way or another; they couldn't hide from me. From the Goosebumps books I found lying around on the shared shelves in the classrooms of my first school, to my pretentious swanning around my local library in search of those books called "classics" which meant you were totally smart if you read them (oh yes, I was a real deli
Edited 8-11-2010 to add Comment no. 4 (below) in response to Paul's follow-up question.

First of all, don't tell me what I "must" do before I die.

Just fuck off.

At Paul's behest, I'm writing my reactions to this list (not really the book, but give me a break - the book is just a bunch of pretty pictures and blurbs defending their idiotic choices). What's important is this shit-for-brains list.

Comment no. 1:

First, they need a subtitle for “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.” I’m thinking “I
Paul Bryant
Feb 04, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people needing something to step on to reach the top shelf in the kitchen
Has anyone thought of this already? Surely they have....

I wonder if it would be possible here on Goodreads to have a page listing all the 1001 books and - here's the thing - links to our own reviews of them (maybe with a limit in the case of famous books with a zillion reviews). It would be an interesting resource and would encourage people to review those which haven't got any reviews at all - say, for instance, The Taebek Mountains by Jo Jung-rae or Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. It
I joined the 1001 Books group here on Goodreads, thinking, "What a great way to get exposed to a ton of books!" so I thought I better take a look at the actual list.

Pros: Little descriptions of a lot of classic books. Lots of books described here that I have never heard of, and that I might not have known about otherwise. In fact, I may discover some new favorites through this list. Also, it appeals to my 12-year-old self, who loved to write lists of books I wanted to read. Overall, inspiring, i
Yeah, I know, we GR readers already have too many books on our To Reads list! :-)

As I get older my literary tastes change. I've been a little disgruntled with reading lately and thought I'd check this reference guide out. The first thing I did was to go through my home library and check off how many of these books I actually had. I'm embarrassed to say less than 50! So I'm going to use this list as a guide to broadening my reading horizons, together with recommendations by GR friends.

The 2013 ed
Paul Bryant
Further note, for Ben and anyone else interested in what they've added - here are 20 recent titles they've added to give you an idea. I'm sure a comprehensive list will pop up somewhere soon.

Professor Martens' Departure : Jaan Kross
The Young man : Botho Strauss
Love Medicine : Louise Erdrich
Half of Man is Woman : Zhang Xianling
Black Box : Amos Oz
The First garden : Anne Hebert
The Last World : ChristophRansmayr
Obabakoak : Bernardo Atxaga
Inland : Gerald Murnane
The daughter : Pavlov Matesis
Memoirs of
First of all, it should have been titled 1001 Novels You must read..
Not Books. Because Origin of Species, The Bible, The Koran, The Rigveda and The Odessy and The Iliad were/are also apparently in the form of Books. And so is the great bathroom book. But not according to this *book*.
I learnt from this *book* that women's reading market is doing good. Lots of women read books.There were many women writers in the past centuries that were amazing and some of them were even better than Tolstoy. For
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
May 19, 2008
After reading or attempting to read a fairly large number of books listed in this book, I have come back and removed two of the stars I originally gave it. Many of the books are terrible, and many of the ones that aren't terrible are not "must reads".
Below is my original review from before I'd tried some of the suggested books.


March 16, 2008

I can't believe I read the WHOLE thing! I have it from the library, so I wanted to g
Of course I didn't read this front to's a reference book, and a wonderful one at that. Besides, there are plot spoilers! The artwork from first and rare editions and photographs of authors are especially nice. This belongs on every bibliophile's shelf.

My three complaints:

1. The awful cover, which looks like a cross between a New Age pamphlet and a college text book. Why?

2. It seems as though every work by some authors is included, so that it could almost be condensed into "500 Author
Jun 25, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people whose TBR lists aren't long enough
Peter Boxall and his panel of high-falutin' lit'ry types got together and made a list of 1001 books they think everyone should read before they die. Now the title might rub some folks the wrong way - hey, who are you, you high-falutin' lit'ry types, up in your academic towers, telling us what we must read? Ultimately this list is probably no better or worse than any other "best books" list compiled by literary scholars, though it's certainly longer than most. (I'd be amazed if any of Boxall's co ...more
As a contributor to this, and having seen a few of the reviews, I thought I could clear a few things up:

1. The title – The publisher commissioned this book as part of its larger series of "1001…before you die". Having this "before you die" was a decision made in the publishing/marketing section as it was decided it would sell better/get more discussion going. It is also, obviously, a little tongue in cheek. "books" rather than "novels", as "novels" was seen as potentially turning people off as
If you want a compact (well, 900+ page book) list of the books that many people consider to be "classic literature," then sure! Check this book out. It gives a general synopsis of 1001 "classic literature novels" that "you MUST read before you die". For that, it is useful. But it is not even close to being complete.

Surprisingly, the editor has organized the books by century, which I found encouraging, because at least I know they appreciate older literature for its value and influence over the f
Skylar Burris
Sep 10, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Modern book nuts
Shelves: reference, criticism
It's always fun to read some random academic's random list of the books one supposedly should read. It either bestows a sense of satisfaction in seeing one's tastes validated or inspires a pleasing self-righteous indignation at seeing certain books excluded; usually it does a little of both. "1,000 Books You Must Read Before You Die" includes contributions by over one hundred international critics, and, in addition to serving as an amusement, it also serves as a handy reference with summaries of ...more
Marius van Blerck
The secret to immortality is revealed ... read only 1000 of these. No more.
3-3.5 stars. A great place to harvest fodder for your to-read list. The listings are organized by century of publication (the pre-1700s, 1700s, and 1800s sections are pretty skimpy compared to the 1900s). Each listing is accompanied by a synopsis and pretty pictures. 1001 Books introduced me to some authors and titles that I might not have stumbled upon on my own. It would have received more stars, too, if it presented a more balanced list. I just find it hard to believe that I "must read" TEN I ...more
This is a reference book on, as the title suggests, 1001 very important books. I have to admit, I was skeptical about this book. My first thought was, roughly, "Why should I pay for a book that's just a big list of better books?"

Well, thanks to the Orange County public library system, I don't have to pay for it. So now I have it (for three weeks, anyway), and I'm actually enjoying it a lot.

It's very browsable — it's easy to flip through and skim, and somehow it doesn't feel overwhelming. Each pa
Jeanette (jema)
Not read every word of the whole book but this is more the kind of book you keep on your coffee table to savor now and then. On the downside, they added not just one but 2 Coelho books *gasp* that is 2 too many if you ask me. And none of them is the 'best' one: The Alchemist. Oh well...
Of course the point of this book is to make you want to do your own 1001 list. It begs to be challenged.

(added from my update)
I read some of the reviews here and people just need to chill out, they are taking the
It's pretty, but... A list of the titles is more than sufficient for me. I got the impression that the titles were selected less because the author likes them and more because they're historically significant books. Which, believe me, is not a bad thing, and good tends to go hand in hand with significant. However, they're going to be the same titles you'd see on any other Must Read list, but compiled in one expensive book. I much preferred Nancy Pearl's Book Lust titles. Her suggestions are much ...more
Oct 31, 2008 Bader marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
The idea of this book is awesome. 1001 books of the greatest books ever written. This is ofcourse can be judged and be faced with a defending opinions but I see that no body can say that this book is not helpful. with just a quick look, I found Robinson Crusoe, pride and prejudice, frankenstein, Oliver Twist ... etc with summary and reasons which make these books valuable and with nice illustrations and photos.
Lisa Vegan
There’s no question that this is a beautiful book. There are many wonderful photos, drawings, book covers, etc. that enhance the text/book descriptions.

I had every intention of reading this book cover to cover, and some day I might do that; I do read many so-called reference books (such as cookbooks) 100%. But, it’s a 960 page book and I’ve decided I’d rather use this as a traditional reference book and read other books instead.

If I refer to it too often I’m afraid my to-read list will get mor
Miłośniczka Książek
recenzja pochodzi z mojego bloga:

Nie da się stworzyć idealnego zestawienia książek, które powinno się przeczytać w swoim życiu; takiego, które odpowiadałoby gustom wszystkich czytelników. Jest to po prostu niemożliwe. Peter Boxall - wykładowca literatury angielskiej na Uniwersytecie Sussex oraz redaktor "1001 książek które musisz przeczytać", sam mówi o tym w swoim wprowadzeniu do drugiego międzynarodowego wydania tej książki. To, co jednych zachwyca, inn
This is a book I really could not keep my hands off. It divides the 1001 books by time periods, most in the 1900s. Each page has a summary/review of one book, a picture of the book, or the author, or from a movie made from the book. The author and general index is very helpful for quick browsing. Since I am a Classics lover, I felt good seeing I have read quite a few books listed here. More than that I loved going through the glossy pages, intriguing pictures (havent seen many author photos!) an ...more
So many criticisms of this book are about one thing only, and that is so and so didn't get a certain book in. While I do feel that putting every single Virginia Woolf in is a little too much, it can easily be improved by limiting one book per author. That way, even Ayn Rand might have a change of nomination.
I just bought this book used for $2.99. It's the 2008 edition. I have read 67 of these books. I see there's a group out there on Goodreads reading through this, I am going to check them out.

It's a surprising list. Some books are obviously on there. Other books - well? I can't give an opinion yet on some of those I've never heard of. It must all be ultimately subjective but some books have stood the test of time and some of the more recent ones - who knows? Will we be reading them 100 years from
Scott Nelson
Rubbish, for the most part.
This book lists, as the title says, 1001 books which have been influential or stand out in any other way. The editor Peter Boxall is a Professor of English at Sussex University in the UK. The books are listed chronologically and start with Pre-1700 with Aesop's Fables (which I have actually read I can proudly announce!). The following 900 pages cover 1700's, 1800's, 1900's and 2000's. At the end, there is an author index and general index with a title index at the beginning for easy searching.

ok, first off, i'm including this in the classics smarty-pants category since almost every single book in here is a classics smarty pants book.

i was surprised at how many of the 1001 books i'd actaully read....unfortunately, when i counted all my read books, it really wasn't all that impressive considering there's 1001 books.

my biggest problem with the books included here, is the fact that they seem to really like certain authors, and then multiple books by said author is then included. for ex
Sep 14, 2011 Yuki rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: good readers looking for a new challenge (and door stop)
This revised edition came out just when I was casting about for a new direction with my reading. Over the three years I've been on GoodReads I feel my choices have improved dramatically, though I am still a sucker for "buzz" about books which are being adapted to film. I've come to realize most commercial fiction is just not for me, including the books I "could not put down." This list of 1001 pivotal and/or seminal books has introduced me to genres I had not considered before, and for that I am ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Jenny rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who LOVES books!
Shelves: non-fiction, us_2000s
I adore this book. Any avid reader should own a copy. It's huge, decorated with pretty pictures and contains excellent, thought-provoking mini-essays on the reasons each book is included, and thus makes an excellent coffee table book - which is great because I consult it often. I've read 57 of the books it suggests and not ONCE has it led me astray. I've enjoyed everything so far. It's my personal goal to read them all, or at least all of the ones that seem semi-interesting, and it's going fairl ...more
Rewrite: I found this book after reading a few books that were very disappointing. My thinking was this is going to solve my dilemma of what to read next. I decided to start at the back and work my way to the front. I was encouraged because I had already read a few of the books and found them delightful. But alas my strategy had a major flaw. I came across a few that we just depressing and long winded and not at all what i would call a good book. And for the life of me I'm not able to figure out ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The 2015 Reading ...: Boxall and his 1,001 Books 5 35 Aug 24, 2014 01:52PM  
Short & Sweet...: 1001 Books to Read 43 58 Aug 13, 2014 04:23PM  
*~Can't Stop Read...: Liz's 1001 list 3 16 Jun 15, 2014 11:58PM  
*~Can't Stop Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. May Nominations - 1001 Books 10 42 Apr 22, 2014 12:47AM  
*~Can't Stop Read...: This topic has been closed to new comments. April Nominations - 1001 Books 8 38 Mar 15, 2014 04:26PM  
Aussie Readers: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List 68 87 Jan 26, 2014 10:16PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: 1001 Books, 2006 edition cover 1 60 May 05, 2013 11:13AM  
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1001 Before You Die (1 - 10 of 29 books)
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