Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

1001 Book List > How do I approach this?

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message 1: by Stacy (new)

Stacy | 9 comments Hi all!

I just joined and I am super excited to start reading. I looked at the list and I was wondering how you all approached it. Did you print it out and then check off the ones that you've already read? Are you re-reading the ones you've already read because they are on the list? Did you just start from the top and dig in? Let me know I am excited to get started.


message 2: by Stewart (new)

Stewart (booklit) Well, I've only recently discovered this list. I've read 51 of the books, but have only reviewed 10 of them on my blog. So, it looks like I'll be reading 41 of them again at some point over the years in order to ensure I have reviews of them all.

My approach is to set up a page on my blog (below) and then, as I read the book, write a review, post it, and then change the text to a link to that review. Until I have all 1,001. Well, it seems a good idea at the moment. Will see how far I get.

message 3: by YorkshireSue (new)

YorkshireSue | 5 comments Hi! I too would be interested in hearing how others have approached this rather daunting list! I joined the group as I'm presently reading Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (inspired by the movie The Hours) and I thought that might be on the list. Next I'm planning to read the novel The that's my start!
I printed the list and am pleased to be able to cross some off already and was thrilled to just discover that one of my favourite books, Kes: A Kestrel for a Knave is on here! Yes!

message 4: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) I posted this on another thread, but thought I would post it again here in case you don't make it over to the other thread.

Words to live by when attempting 'The List':

Henry Miller once said...

'A man should begin with his own times. He should become acquainted first of all with the world in which he is living and participating. He should not be afraid of reading too much or too little. He should take his reading as he does his food or his exercise. The good reader will gravitate to the good books. He will discover from his contemporaries what is inspiring or fecundating, or merely enjoyable, in past literature. He should have the pleasure of making these discoveries on his own, in his own way. What has worth, charm, beauty, wisdom, cannot be lost or forgotten. But things can lose all value, all charm and appeal, if one is dragged to them by the scalp.'

message 5: by Yelena (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 109 comments Far less eloquently than Charity (and I love that quotation), I also started at the present and am working my way back. I'm finding there are far more questionable inclusions in the present, but I'm also discovering authors I wouldn't have necessarily made time to read previously (whereas if you haven't read Charles Dickens or Emile Zola, chances are you are aware of them and aware of your not having read them).

message 6: by YorkshireSue (new)

YorkshireSue | 5 comments Thank you both! I just noticed the other thread now and will meander over there. That is a great quote. The present day approach makes a lot of sense but as I'm in the 1900s now with Mrs Dalloway I think I might just pick a book from a page with no books crossed off on it and so on. (I printed the list off the net and have 20 pages of titles) I dread getting left with all those more ominous older tomes towards the end!

message 7: by Barbara (new)

Barbara <>

I just read your review of Slaughter House Five. I'm glad I did. I have that book sitting next to my bed and have read about three chapters and couldn't take any more. I thought it was me being ignorant of the style or something.
Anyway, I like your idea of reviews and will look at your site more for opinions.
Happy Reading.

BTW I'm not reading a book on the list at the moment. Kind of being led as Henry Miller mentions (love that quote). I've just finished The Moveable Feast and am reading The Sun Also Rises both by Hemingway.

message 8: by Cathy (new)

Cathy | 31 comments I checked off all the ones I'd read, although there are some where I'm honestly not sure! Then I've gone through the remainder and started with books that I already had copies of, had always meant to read, or had never heard of but thought they sounded intriguing when I looked them up.

message 9: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I printed out the list and crossed off all the ones I had read already. now I just flip to a page randomly and select the first one that I have on my bookshelf or that the library has!! We'll see how that goes!

message 10: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh (ashgood) | 2 comments I too printed the list (I also imported it into Excel and made a worksheet with the books listed as they are numerically and another worksheet listing the books by title, I'd like to do yet another worksheet that lists them by author - anal... I know!) then checked off the ones I have read - being an avid reader I was a bit disappointed in the results. I think I was barely in the 30s then I just started reading some of the classics that I knew people read in school but for some reason we didn't in ours. I think from typing the list into Excel and playing around with it so much I seemed to have memorized quite a bit of it so when I'm at the library if I recognize a book that's on the list I grab it. This seems to have worked well and I just finished my 100th book. I still let books jump off the shelves at the library but I also make lists of the books I'd like to read and work off of that. Good luck!

message 11: by Hashi (new)

Hashi I sorted the list alphabetically by author's name (FIRST name, that is) and I'm working down from the top. Unless I really love a particular author, I probably won't read more than one in a row by any particular writer. I'm also limited by what my library has its shelves.

message 12: by Dragon (new)

Dragon Tran (j_tran) I've also just started the list (I figured, first of the month, good day to start something!) and I'm planning to read all 1001, including the ones I've already read; I'm going to reread those when I'm old and gray. :)

Anyway, my question was that I don't exactly want to force myself to go systematically down the list chronologically--that would make it into too much of a chore and not as much a pleasure for me!--but at the same time, I want to read blocks of books that "go together." For instance, if some books are really similar in style or content, or are part of the same literary movement, I want to read them together so that I can get a little bit of perspective about the time period and some historical context.

I realize that this is a really vague question, but does anyone have any thoughts about some significant, very "pillar" books on the list that would go together like this? Any thoughts would be welcome!

message 13: by Jen (new)

Jen | 7 comments Yay, i am new to this online group, but have been reading from the list for about 6 months or so. I would recommend not re-reading the books you have already read (unless you really liked them). I dont have a set pattern for the books i choose. if im going to read a book that seems difficult or is long, the next book is usually smaller and by an author i like or in a style i enjoy. its less of a chore for me if i just read whatever sounds good to me at the time than if i made long lists.

message 14: by Judith (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 1203 comments Although I took the same steps as several have described here of printing the list, marking the ones I've read and checking to see which ones I already had on my self that were unread, mainly I just let a book or someone else' review of a book "call to me".

I have to admit that this "method" doesn't keep me tied to the list all the time as books from other lists and discover in book stores call to me also!

I also take "Books" periodical which includes wonderful reviews each month, but that's another thread for another time.

I love Henry Miller's quote as well. Thanks for posting it, Charity. You always make such good contributions to our discussions.

message 15: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) Thank you, Judith...I try. :-)

message 16: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 140 comments ...mainly I just let a book or someone else' review of a book "call to me".

That's generally how I pick a book to read from my to-read stack(s). Generally I'll pick up a book anytime someone recommends it to me, but then it will have to be recommended to me again in order for it to move to the top of the queue. Sure, sometimes it means that I miss out on a fantastic book for a long time (The Bell Jar and The Brothers Karamazov have lingered in the stack for years now) but I generally find that I come to a book at a time when it will have the best possible effect on me.

message 17: by Kate (new)

Kate (kateduttera) I downloaded the spreadsheet that someone was kind enough to post a link to in one of these forums, it does the math for what percentage you've already read and how many a year you have to read to finish it in your lifetime. Right now I'm going with the ones I already own, then I'll probably open to a random page and point.

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