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message 1: by Kayla (new)

Kayla | 130 comments Has anyone else been trying to make their way through the 1001 Must Read Books list? I came across it about 2 weeks ago. This is the website I got it from....

http://www.1morechapter.com/projects/...

I think that list is based off of the 2006 volume-the publishers come out with a new volume every couple of years and they always add new books and subtract others. It would be impossible to read all the books if you continued to go by the newest list, so I just go by the 2006.

Anyway, I have read 54 books off the list so far (and since I'm only 19, I don't think that's too bad). I am currently reading my 55th book now, Animal's People by Indra Sinha.

What about you guys?


message 2: by Mia (new)

Mia I love that Watchmen is on the list.

I think 55 books is pretty impressive. I read through some of the list and I've probably only read 20 at the most.

The thing with lists like this is it's someone else's idea of what should be read and I almost never agree. Plus, as there is a new list every year it seems like not even the writer can decide what should or shouldn't be read.



message 3: by Stefanie (new)

Stefanie (stefnord) | 3 comments I love lists like these! I discovered it a few months ago and since created a "shelf" 1001 on my profile to tag my books that are on this list. I have 37 read and then another 23 already marked as To Read. I think there is also a GoodReads group dedicated to the list.


message 4: by Kayla (new)

Kayla | 130 comments Stefanie, that's a great idea about adding a shelf dedicated to the list. I think I'll do that too, but I'll just add books that I have already read off the list so that I can keep up with it better.


message 5: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristilarson) I'm in that group. Of course the list isn't perfect, but I've read some great books that I wouldn't have otherwise. I don't actually expect to read all 1001+ books before I die.


message 6: by Kristel (new)

Kristel | 164 comments But, was anyone else surprised at how many have been made into movies? That it happens doesn't surprise me great novels make great movies, but it surprised me how many novels are turned into a movie.




message 7: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
This is one of the lists I work from, but I do not nor did I ever intend on reading the entire thing through. For one thing, a lot of the modern books are not my taste. I sort of have a "list within the list" I'm working from, and own a TON of them that I've yet to read - like hundreds. But of the ones I intend to read, it's fun having that list from which to check them off! My other two lists are Rory's original list, of course, and the BBC The Big Read Top 100. I'm kind of focused on the latter one currently, mostly because I have a load of them I'd requested that all came up at my library at once.


message 8: by Dottie (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 698 comments whichwaydidshego? wrote: "This is one of the lists I work from, but I do not nor did I ever intend on reading the entire thing through. For one thing, a lot of the modern books are not my taste. I sort of have a "list withi..."

Michele, can you please post a link to that BBC list? I've seen you mention it a few times now --where is it?

I'm in the 1001 group here and rarely active -- I'm not goiong to read all of those either -- but I did find a great Brazilian writer by one of my conversations there. I take lists and merge them -- more like my own ever expanding list -- and then there are all the other books I keep adding to the shelves so I won't forget titles, etc. I'll never get done reading -- but that's why I'm here and why I've been in Constant Reader online for over a decade. It's a healthy illness. Reading as oxymoron, in other words.


message 9: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Interesting. I've read over 80. So basically if I read about 20 of these books a year for the next 50 years, I'll finish the list. Not impossible, but unlikely. :)


message 10: by El (new)

El I'm a bit of a self-proclaimed list whore. I'm definitely chipping away at the 1001 Books list. I've read (approximately) 194... but I don't know just how accurate it is as the 1001 Books list seems to change on me from time to time. But I enjoy being able to cross books off the list as I come across them.


message 11: by Meghan (new)

Meghan El wrote: "I'm a bit of a self-proclaimed list whore."

Nothing beats the satisfaction of being able to cross something off on a list!

From what I gathered, the list changes every year (to adjust for new releases?).


message 12: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristilarson) I think there are only 2 versions of the list. I can't remember when the first came out, but the second is from 2008.


message 13: by Meghan (new)

Meghan What I find weird about this list is how many books by the same author are listed. I would think there are at least 1001 different authors whose books you should read. I mean, I know it's difficult to pick one book by a favorite author (like Atwood or Roth, who wrote scads). But then it's like, how could they leave this other book off? Oh, because then the list would be 2001 books you must read.


message 14: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 199 comments I hate such a lists cause I'm not able to get half of the listed books as most of them was published in UK or US and never published in Poland (or never reached my country eve in the original language).


message 15: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Dottie, here's the link for the BBC list: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top...

I believe that the reason the 1001 list has so many books by the same authors is because the list was made to show the evolution of the formation of the novel. So often one author through the course of their works elevated and refined this process greatly. At least, that's the explanation I remember reading... somewhere.


message 16: by Katri (new)

Katri (Valancy) | 107 comments I can't help thinking 1001 books is really excessive for such a list. Say you read about 50 books a year - then you need 20 years to read all the books on the list (assuming you haven't yet read more than a modest number of them), or if you spent half of the year reading those books and the other half something you want to read without being told, it'll be 40 years before you've read them all - and all those 40 years you're spending half your reading time on something someone else told you to read.

I guess it's the rebel in me that hates the idea of reading books which somebody else thinks are smart and good for you - I'd rather read what I want to read. That doesn't mean that reading some "recommended" books isn't also good and doesn't expand your tastes and understanding, but a thousand is excessive. A list of 100 important books sounds reasonable to me, I could actually decide to read all of them. Enough to cover lots of classics and important modern works and give you an idea of what kind of literature truly gives something to humanity, but not so much that you spend most of your free time humoring the tastes of literary critics rather than finding your own.


message 17: by El (new)

El Katri wrote: "I can't help thinking 1001 books is really excessive for such a list. Say you read about 50 books a year - then you need 20 years to read all the books on the list (assuming you haven't yet read mo..."

I see what you're saying, Katri, but I think people have read more of the 1001 Books than they might realize just on their own time. There's also the Modern Library Top 100 List if you prefer shorter lists, but even then there's a bit of cross-over.

I don't agree, though, with your last sentence about "humoring the tastes of literary critics" necessarily. There are so many books on the list that I've never heard of, would not likely have found on my own, and yet love them now because I found it on the list. I don't always agree with the selections there, but sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised and wish more people would be familiar with a book because I thought it was so incredible. And then from there I may pick up something else by that otherwise unknown writer, in which case I consider that "finding my own". I don't spend much time searching out the books on the list, but through the normal progression of my perusal at the library I might stumble upon the same titles. Is the argument then that I'm catering to someone else's tastes, even though I came to it on my own?

I don't know anyone who reads from the list as if they are being "told" they have to read from it. Seems to me most people who choose to read as many books off the list as possible are doing it because it gives them some sort of pleasure. Some of us like the extra challenge. It's not like school where I'm being forced to read The Awakening or Beloved for the fifth time for different classes.

I also find a nice balance of reading some books off the list and yet finding so many books on my own that others have never heard of. I haven't come across anyone yet who will only read books from the list. I guess overall I have more respect for this list than I do a lot of the bestseller lists - that is more about humoring the tastes of "literary critics" (and I scoff at that phrase in the light of those praising the next Dan Brown, etc. book).

What I don't like about the 1001 Books list is the amount of books they already have listed for the 2000s. I just think it's entirely too early in the game to be able to consider a lot of them books that define the literary structure of the century. When you look at how many books are listed for the 1900s it makes you wonder just how many more changes the list will go through before the next 10 years or so, and that to me is frustrating. Aside from that I also have disagreed more with the books listed for the 2000s than any of the other centuries on the list. I still can't wrap my head around what makes Ian McEwan so wonderful. But I still enjoy looking at the list and seeing what I have read off of it.


message 18: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Katri, I really liked what you had to say... and I agree with that last statement about the critics. While I'm a list person, I'm also that "rebel" you talk about. I have found a couple great books on the list I'd never have read, though none from the 2000's - LOL.

El, you said: "I don't know anyone who reads from the list as if they are being "told" they have to read from it." I believe that Katri was saying that's what it felt like to her. And in fact, it does to me too. That's part of the reason I really have to work at not seeing that as one of my lists. I have a selected group of books from it that I want to read. That's my list. I like to check things off, but 1001 is crazy excessive - and I don't agree with some of it that I have read, so I'm pretty sure I'd not agree with many I haven't yet read.

I totally get what you mean about books you have to read a half dozen times or more for different classes. That's why I hate The Great Gatsby so intensely. I didn't think it was all that in the first place, and HATED that it is continually called "The Great American Novel." Bollocks. There are far better American novels, and far better American novels that sum up the American dream and the American experience. Stop force-feeding that slop!

To all of you who adore it, be glad you didn't study literature at several different schools. Even if you loved it, I think you'd hate it after 9 scouring readings! Yuck. Oh, and I'm sorry for berating a favorite of yours!


message 19: by Kayla (new)

Kayla | 130 comments I agree with both El and whichwaydidshego. I, in no way, intend to read all 1001 books from the list. There are plenty on there that I have no interest in reading and there are books on there that don't deserve to be called "great literature". However, I enjoy checking off a book that I do happen to read from the list, and it is a great source for discovering new authors. This is where I differ from El and whichwaydidshego,though, because most of the new authors that I discover from the list are the contemporary ones.

I do love the classics! Don't get me wrong. In fact, when I counted up how many books I had read from the list, I was quite pleased to see that my choice of books were pretty evenly spread out throughout all the time periods.


message 20: by El (new)

El I think the point is the book/list itself is a marketing ploy. There are other 1001 books out there. I think I saw one for music and one for movies as well. And of course there's the one about the places one should go before one dies. I can't help but look at it like I would any other list. The list I mentioned above - The Modern Library Top 100 - is a good list, but is basically just a list of dead white guys with maybe a couple women thrown in for good measure. With 1001 Books there is at least such a great variety, and by that I mean by ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, creed.

Maybe one shouldn't look at it as they "must" read all the books, despite the title. Maybe one should look at it as suggestions for good books. Isn't that what lists are all about anyhow? (Unless you're looking at a list of Required Reading for school that is.)


message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 199 comments Everyone can make their own 1001 books you must read before you die list.


message 22: by Meghan (new)

Meghan whichwaydidshego? wrote: "Dottie, here's the link for the BBC list: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/bigread/top...

I believe that the reason the 1001 list has so many books by the same authors is because the list was made ..."


Oh. Well, that makes sense to some degree. Now I'm conflicted. It would be good for one to appreciate a writer's progression by reading their works over time. But then again, it feels a bit like overkill, when there are so many good reads out there!

But thanks for the clarification.


message 23: by Meghan (new)

Meghan El wrote: "I still can't wrap my head around what makes Ian McEwan so wonderful."

LOL. I'm with you on that one.


message 24: by Meghan (new)

Meghan El wrote: "I think the point is the book/list itself is a marketing ploy. There are other 1001 books out there. I think I saw one for music and one for movies as well. And of course there's the one about t..."

I would have to agree (with it being some kind of marketing ploy).

But you know what? I love these stupid lists. I love looking at what someone else thinks is "great" and going "hey, I've read that one and that one and that one too." Doesn't mean I necessarily thought the book was great (or awful), but just that I read it. And unlike some who do view it as a status symbol, I liken it to someone's top movie list--just fun to compare and maybe pick up a couple of new "to-reads" to throw on that ever-growing pile!


message 25: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Anna wrote: "Everyone can make their own 1001 books you must read before you die list."

That would be an interesting thing to do some rainy day. I wonder if I've even read 1001 books worth recommending?


message 26: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 199 comments Meghan wrote: "Anna wrote: "Everyone can make their own 1001 books you must read before you die list."

That would be an interesting thing to do some rainy day. I wonder if I've even read 1001 books worth recommending"


Some rainy days................


message 27: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Meghan wrote: "Anna wrote: "Everyone can make their own 1001 books you must read before you die list."

That would be an interesting thing to do some rainy day. I wonder if I've even read 1001 books worth recommending?"


I think the key would be "worth recommending," for sure!


message 28: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
It'd be a fun challenge, though...


message 29: by pianogal (new)

pianogal My book list would be called the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (Because You Paid Good Money for Them and All They've Done is Sit on Your Bookshelves All These Years!!!)


message 30: by Meghan (new)

Meghan But that would make it 10,001 books! lol


message 31: by pianogal (new)

pianogal LOL. That's funny b/c it's true...or is it just sad! :)


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