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1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  847 ratings  ·  263 reviews
Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends.

Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You D
Hardcover, 960 pages
Published October 2nd 2018 by Workman Publishing Company
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Chris I'll bet you've read some of the books listed, so it's not as daunting as you might think. Y
Anyway, it's just a suggestion....not a command.…more
I'll bet you've read some of the books listed, so it's not as daunting as you might think. Y
Anyway, it's just a suggestion....not a command.(less)

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Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
1,000 Books to Kill You.

7/2/18 - By request, I counted how many of these I've actually read.
The number, as of today, sits at a modest 205.

This is NOT a challenge for me. I have cherry-picked about 20-30 books out of this reference book to look into at a future date, and I am NOT planning on finding all the rest. :)

Original Review:

I don't know if this list is quite as life-changing as it purports, but I will grant it this: It is very eclectic and a wide-reaching list of true classics interspersed
Leonard Gaya
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the quiet delights of any bibliophile is to wander between the shelves of a library (sometimes one’s private collection, and sometimes more extensive public libraries or bookshops), examine the backs of books, feel the grain of their covers and, more often than not, read the back cover blurbs, in careful search of the next read. Making lists of books to read is a hopeful by-product of this obsession. James Mustich’s book provides a sort of blurb orgy, with a blend of “to read before you d ...more
Paul Bryant
The breakdown of what’s in here is roughly as follows

Novels – 382
Memoir/autobiography – 154
Short stories – 40
Religion – 10
Children’s – 47
Plays – 36
Travel – 33
History – 72
Biography – 32
Essays – 35
Poetry – 38
Other including all the sciences – 118

It doesn’t add up exactly, because of my bad counting!


This is a gorgeous book – it’s so diverse one’s little head is spinning. I think you probably need it!

It is true that Mr Mustich’s enthusiasm for each and every one of th
Paul Bryant
I thought this might be useful for those who like lists but have been condemned to live only one life. (That’s a tough break.) In this beautiful 1000 Books volume there are included about 380 novels. Now some of them are monstrous, like A Glastonbury Romance by John Cowper Powys – 1100 pages! But I spotted a handful that are actually under 200 pages each. I mean, to make it into a guide like this they must have something going for them, you would think, so it’s a new year revolution of mine to r ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference
OK, bibliophiles, drop everything you are reading and grab this massive reference of the greatest books ever written according to the author. You will probably find some of your favorites missing but you will also agree with many of his choices. It may also surprise you that some are totally unfamiliar.

He covers everyone from Aristotle to Virginia Woolf to James Thurber to Rex Stout to Jane Austen. The book is arranged alphabetically by author, with a short description (but not necessarily the p
E-galley generously provided by the Author, James Mustich, Netgalley and workman Publishing. Pub date October 2, 2018

Are you a bibliophile? If the answer is a resounding yes, then this book is a must for you. From the opening quote by Virginia Woolf, “How Should One Read a Book?” to its last pages acknowledgments, of indexes and checklist for you track your progress if you wish, 1,000 Books To Read Before Your Die: A Life-Changing List is the best I've read of its ilk. James Mustich's introduct
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, netgalley
The author's goal was to make this book "expansive in its tastes, encompassing revered classics and commercial favorites, flights of escapist entertainment and enlightening works of erudition." I think he succeeded, in that his list of 1000 books is much more eclectic than similar lists I have seen. I loved that about this book, because I am always looking for books about which I have never heard. The book covers both fiction and nonfiction, and a wide range of genres, including: children's , ad ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent resource and unmissable for any real bibliophile! I already have a ridiculous amount of books on my to-be-read list (both on Goodreads and on the bookshelves in my bedroom) but I am always looking for more. There are a lot of interesting titles featured here.

I very much appreciated the way it was set out too. There are books from across the genres and era's meaning it will appeal to a multitude of people. Each title has information about the plot and the author and are arra
Let me say what already should be obvious: 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is neither comprehensive nor authoritative, even if a good number of the titles assembled here would be on most lists of essential reading. It is meant to be an invitation to a conversation – even a merry argument – about the books and authors that are missing as well as the books and authors included, because the question of what to read next is the best prelude to even more important ones, like who to be, and how to
Mila Reads Alot  ☕
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great selections of books to choose to read next.
Literary Soirée
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing

1,000 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE is a gorgeous compendium by James Mustich, co-founder of the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader. This must-read guide to must-reads features a rich eclectic mix, each title described as only the most enthusiastic reader would recommend a beloved book to a friend.

Following each entry are endnotes with pub dates, preferred editions, other books by the same author, related books, and adaption listings that include movies and audiobo
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book probably is not life-changing but it clearly sticks out among others of its kind. It doesn‘t exclusively list novels as does Peter Boxall‘s work with the very similar title. It also describes books from a great variety of other genres and types, including dramas, poems, philosophical texts, history and science books, reports on recent events (e.g. 9/11), etc. I liked this combination because I clearly missed many of these works on other lists. However, I sometimes found that Mr Mustich ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great list that you can use to lead you in all sorts of reading directions for the rest of your life. I will cherish this book and refer to it often.

beautiful book!
such a book lovers dream book!
so many recommendations, such fantastic reviews for the books and basically every genre in covered with at least one book in here!

Lets start with the "negative":
- Of course not every book in here is for every reader!
And not every recommendation/review is what every reader thinks about the books mentioned. For example at least 20 books in here are books i read and didn't like and so i actually don't think the same as the author of this book says. Bu
I've renewed this book 6 times!!! And then, best ever gift exchange happened, and a very thoughtful friend bought me my own copy!! Hot Damn, that's a great gift. AND, at the back of the copy is a poster/chart one who is obsessed could actually post on a bedroom wall!!! That has been done, and to my utter shame I have only read 87 of the 1000. So begins my journey in 2020 to mend my ways. I've actually read more than 87, those 87 are ones I count as read, and will not be re-reading. You know, lik ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
If there is anything better than a book, it's a book about books. The joy of reading is suffused with the anticipation of reading the amazing titles put before you. Wishlists and bookshelves fill along with our literary hearts.

There are similarly titled books-on-books out there, sure, but I'm really liking this one. Let me list the reasons why:

- Other tomes list what you should read, like literary brain veggies. Mustich takes a different tack: if he had a bookstore that held exactly 1,000 books
Jill Mackin
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: books
Found some interesting books to add to my tbr list.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have nothing but admiration for this compendium and especially for the author who not only selected a thousand books but also wrote essays for every book. He covers fiction and nonfiction from Dante to Shakespeare to Bill Bryson to Anne Tyler and includes books for all ages.

This book is recommended to anyone who wants to organize a reading list of literary titles and is also perfect for every home library. Book groups will also want a copy for future reading selections. Plus with the holidays
I swear we like reading books about lists so we can quibble over the lists. Mustich is the man behind the Common Reader book catalog, which went out of business in 2006.

This actually is a pretty good list of books to read before you die. Unlike other books of similar titles, with a few exceptions, Mustich confines it to one book per author. There are 71 exceptions to this, including Shakespeare and Dickens. 58 of the 71 are male, 13 female. The list breaks down to roughly 663 men and 204 women,
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
James Mustich is truly an avid reader! He’s loved to read since he was a child. One of his first jobs was at a bookstore where his love of reading was encouraged and enhanced. He ultimately became the cofounder of The Common Reader, a mail order catalog which provided commentary on books.

His idea of writing about “1,000 books to read before you die” was a challenge to say the least! It took fourteen years for him to finally publish his list. It contains book titles that range from children’s boo
Donald Powell
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other, favorites
A wonderful reference book about books. I have added a shelf with these books. I will see how close to death I can come to this list. It will be fun. This is a well researched list of its author, a book seller for his working years. It is as good a compilation for an American as I can find. It is well organized with lots of useful information besides just a listing of the books.
Margaret Gerberding
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I have always considered myself a fairly well read person, but I have only read 51 books on this list. Challenge accepted! Honestly though, some of the books are ones I tried to read and abandoned. Life is too short for books you don't like.
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read for every bookworm, written by an acclaimed bookseller and avid reader who suggests a vast number of books, covering a wide variety of genres. The categorization of the titles is simple as it follows the alphabetical order and proves that Mustich's aspiration was not to introduce just one more book list but to give the reader an initiation in order to explore further his own reading interests and preferences. This is not a book that you can read in one sitting but rather acts ...more
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book!

I had the previous edition as well, but the updates on this are spectacular.

Honestly, I read it and immediately download sample after sample to my kindle. It's only a great resource for what to read, but for *why* to read it.

You also get interesting notes on the authors.

This belongs on every reader's shelf!

*ARC Provided via Net Galley
Paula Cappa
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a library on your bookshelf and no bibliophile should be without it. From Aristotle to Virginia Woolf, you’ll find authors here you know and some you don’t. A valuable and beautiful compendium by Mustich—My only criticism is that he did not include May Sarton, which I consider essential to read before you die. I especially like how Mustich gives you a magnified quick insight about the authors as well as the titles. Lots of books like this out there and most have the same authors and ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I was so glad I had listened to a podcast interview with the author before I read this book. He said his intention was for a reader to open the book, find a favorite author, read his brief essay about their work, and look at the recommendations for similar titles that the reader may enjoy. He would hope that everyone could peruse at leisure and not feel compelled to read all the books or even read his book cover to cover because he had gone to exhaustive lengths to make sure there were suggestio ...more
Ashraf Bashir
Oct 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
The author stated that recommendations are equally distributed between fiction and nonfiction, this is not true, most of recommendations are novels! Also some of the reviews are not matching the contents of books, which flags that with high probability the author reviews something he didn't read. Descriptions are very brief and not giving the real message of each book! A suggestion to editor, to group recommendations by genre not alphabetically. & My suggestion to you as a reader: Use Goodreads ...more
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is an interesting book, but rather esoteric. I know I'm not a well-read as I ought to be, but even so, out of the 1,000 books mentioned here, I've only read seventy-six.
Peter Tillman
May 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
Progress report:
I'll need to renew this one. New book, had to return. Fun to browse!
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even if this is a very personal opinion, the 1000 books you should read, this book present a vast and quite good selection of book. Fiction and non-fiction. Classic and more «underground». Well know author and some more obscure. There is book for everyone. It goes over the naming the book part, with a long enough description of it, it gives their genres, their author of course, and just enough information to allow you to form your opinion and see if this book is for you or not. A interesting boo ...more
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James Mustich's 1...: NOMINATIONS for January 2020 Selection 7 17 Nov 30, 2019 02:16PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: New Book with 1,000 Books to Read 4 205 Nov 05, 2018 07:21PM  

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James Mustich began his career in bookselling at an independent book store in Briarcliff Manor, New York, in the early 1980s. In 1986, he co-founded the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader, and was for two decades its guiding force. He subsequently has worked as an editorial and product development executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his wife, Margot Greenbaum Mustich, in Conne ...more

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