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

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message 1: by Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Kim (kimbobo) I think I'm at 45 or so, it's been a while since I've counted.

message 2: by Steve (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:26PM) (new)

Steve I'm up to 60. There's 0 chance of me completing that list, though.

message 3: by Deanne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:27PM) (new)

Deanne | 683 comments Just finished reading 220.

message 4: by h (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

h (dragonbird) | 3 comments i was surprised that i've read a little over 100! i guess being an english major in college finally paid off (thanks, Rise of the Novel class, you really helped me out here). i'll probably be stalled out for quite some time though, since my schoolwork these days isn't lending itself to fiction reading.

message 5: by Robert (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Robert | 6 comments Not counting a few titles that I read so long ago I can't remember them, I've read 153. Actually, that's 153 1/3, as the list has I read Auster's "City of Glass" last week, but the list has the New York Trilogy as a single title...

message 6: by Stephanie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:37PM) (new)

Stephanie | 2 comments Just finished number 95, working on 96 (although its The Thousand and One Nights so I imagine that by the time I actually finish it, some other books will have displaced it to a higher number).

message 7: by Deanne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Deanne | 683 comments Finished Bonjour Tristesse a couple of days ago. I'm now reading two books, The plot against America and The god of small things.

message 8: by Jen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Jen | 6 comments What a great group - I'm trying to fill in my reading "holes" and whoa, do I have a long way to go! I'm at 93. There are lots of books on the list I look forward to reading, but I'm not reading any more Thomas Hardy, dammit!

message 9: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:38PM) (new)

Meghan I've read about 70ish, with about 20 or so that I've read so long ago or only half read. I'm currently reading Foucault's Pendulum by Eco. Reviews say it's the "thinking man's Da Vinci Code".

message 10: by Bibliosaurus (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:42PM) (new)

Bibliosaurus | 9 comments What a great idea for a group. I have read 124 and I am looking forward to discovering some new favorites.

message 11: by Yelena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 109 comments I just joined this group because it is the perfect way to keep my reading list full (even though having perused the full list there are a bunch of books by authors I have already read and hated). i didn't keep track of th actual number as I was going through the list, but I am at 23% of the list - so let's say 230.

Must rush to Amazon and load up.

message 12: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 18 comments I just joined I decided in January to read the 100 best novels of all time, according to 4 different sources, then I found your group and made one jumbo master list. Anyway, I've read 30 so far...I get distracted by other books that aren't on the list. Sorry for the long post.

message 13: by Danielle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Danielle | 5 comments I've read 54 off the list...for a former English major, that's pretty bad. Looks like I have some work to do!

message 14: by Clayton (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Clayton | 4 comments All of you have motivated me now. I had thumbed through the 1001 Books book before, but hesitated to buy it for one reason or another. However, after reading all the insights from members of this group, I ordered it and 1001 Movies.... from Amazon and cant wait for them to get here at the end of the week. One question though. If I remember correctly, some of the early titles are rather obscure and most likely out-of-print. How have you gone about buying, borrowing these? Or are there simply some titles that have to be bypassed as unobtainable? I realize some title availability depends on where you live, but which ones have you struggled to find?

message 15: by Danielle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:52PM) (new)

Danielle | 5 comments I've struggled to find even some of the newer ones on For example, you cannot purchase most of the Iain Banks books new through that website. I only just started looking for the books so I haven't tried other sources to get these books.

message 16: by Clayton (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:53PM) (new)

Clayton | 4 comments Thanks for all the suggestions. Once I familiarize myself with the list, I probably won't be able to pass a used bookstore without scanning for titles.I agree that trying to read them chronologically might be tough. Will probably pick up the most readily available ones first. Once 1001 Titles gets here, I am curious to see how many I already own.

message 17: by Doug (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:53PM) (new)

Doug | 1 comments I am at 181 books - though, I do think Proust's "Rememberance of things Past" should count for more than just one book. It took me about a year off and on to read the entire "book". I am not sure which I will takle next, any suggestions? Thank you, Doug

message 18: by Deanne (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:54PM) (new)

Deanne | 683 comments I've bought some, borrowed others from the library, in Auckland they have a great web site so that you can order the books from other branches. Also borrowed books from friends.
A lot of the old books are still in print but there are a few that are proving difficult. Taebek mountains is written in Korean, so either have to wait for a translation or start night school.

message 19: by Bibliosaurus (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

Bibliosaurus | 9 comments Alibris,, is a great resource for tracking down hard to find/out of print books.

message 20: by Clayton (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:55PM) (new)

Clayton | 4 comments Thanks for all of the suggestions for resources. Amazon just delivered my copy of 1001 Books and I have to say that after an initial perusal of titles, I am embarrassed at how few I have read.I certainly have my work cut out for me.LOL. I look forward to reading more reviews of these titles as I get started.

message 21: by Liz M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:58PM) (new)

Liz M I am not sure if I really am going to go through with attempting to read all 1001 books, but I do love having lists of books to read. I haven't gotten an actual copy of 1001 Books yet, just found a listing of the books included online. It's amusing to troll through the selections, without the accompanying rational behind the list. It leaves me wondering is J.M. Coetzee so wonderful (and prolific) that he ties with Charles Dickens for the most works included? Why is The Professor’s House by Willa Cather included and not My Antonia? And so on.

I've read (and remember reading) 153 books. There's about 30 that I can't remember if I have read: Remains of the Day -- did I read the book or just see the movie? Great Expectations -- did we read the whole thing for class or just an excerpt? Did I read Ethan Frome, Age of Innocence, or both?

Since the 1001 titles cover so many novels long on my reading list, hopefully I will be inspired to read or re-read more of them!

message 22: by Brittany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:59PM) (new)

Brittany | 1 comments Wow, I have a LONG ways to go looking at everybody else. I was only an English Minor in college, and a technical writing minor at that. I only ever heard of this list after joining goodreads and to my surprise, had only read .... 16. How sad?!?! And I consider myself well read!!! I am currently working on those that I have on my shelf, that I never got around to reading ... Memoirs of a Geisha, The Poisonwood Bible, and what I will probably finish tonight, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Wish me luck! I have a lot of catching up to do!

message 23: by Yelena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:59PM) (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 109 comments Finished Never Let Me Go over the weekend - reading a non-list book now, will come back with the Markson book later this week.

message 24: by Steve (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:00PM) (new)

Steve Brittany, I'm not sure this list is the be-all and end-all of literature. My rule of thumb is to read what you enjoy, if the books you enjoy aren't on this list -- oh well!

The same applies to those "100 Best Movies of All-Time" lists.

message 25: by Mariecar (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:01PM) (new)

Mariecar | 2 comments Gosh, I feel like such a slacker ... I just browsed the list and I think I've only read 32! Shame on me, I know ... if only I actually read the books assigned to me in school :/

message 26: by Christine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Christine | 5 comments only 971 to go!!!

message 27: by Sherry (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Sherry | 1 comments I've managed 53 of my own accord before this book came out. Lists are all relative though. Any arbiter of good books can create a list and it will be found wanting. As in the western cannon and the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list of a few years ago. I have fun measuring my choices against their's regardless.

message 28: by Mindy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:02PM) (new)

Mindy | 1 comments I've read 341, must be my English Lit. M.A. thing. I definitely agree with Sherry that all lists like this are arbitrary, but still are fun to work with.

message 29: by Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:08PM) (new)

Kim | 3 comments I've been looking for a new "reading list" - with only 837 left to read, I'll be busy. I was a little disappointed that Ayn Rand didn't have a book on the list but was pleased to see three of Doris Lessing's books. Out of respect to her winning the Noble Prize in Literature this last week, I'm off to the library/used bookstore to find her books.

message 30: by Keith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:15PM) (new)

Keith Betton | 1 comments I've read around 101 from the list. Man I have a long way to go :(.

message 31: by Lulu (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:23PM) (new)

Lulu | 5 comments Ouch. I only have 43 actually read. Although if you count Cliff notes as reading, and seeing the movie as being familiar with the material, I could probably oooch my number up to 65. Still, apparently I have a looong way to go.

message 32: by Carol (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Carol Evans I'm at 43, too. I'm not counting the couple that I started and gave up on.

message 33: by Zoe (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:25PM) (new)

Zoe | 5 comments I'm not counting books i've read but can't remember, or books i've read but haven't finished...and i'm not counting the books i saw as movies but didn't read. This SERIOUSLY cuts down my count! Eeek! But it's not really about counting anyway, is it. :)

message 34: by Dottie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) I have shelved on goodreads shelves -- 142 read and to read 71. As to the remainder of the 1001 -- I may or may not get to them one day. The book was a gift from my librarian daughter who knows I'm a bookaholic -- it is interesting but only as a dip into it from time to time reference book OR maybe I'll use the reviews on those remaining books to help decide whether I read them. SO -- that's where I am -- so far at least. It's interesting to see where y'all are and the various ways to go about it.

message 35: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Jessica Just found my way to the list. I think a number of the recommendations are kind of silly (American Psycho, anyone?) and/or totally unrealistic (I mean, has anyone actually in the history of the world finished Tristram Shandy?) but it's fun to think about working through it anyway.

I downloaded the Excel spreadsheet, which is great. I have 122 books read (12.19% of the list, it says) and didn't count books I didn't finish or books I only saw in the movies. It's a shame there are no drama books on the list, because that would have been good for my stats!

message 36: by Lulu (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Lulu | 5 comments Aren't there 1001 authors in the world? What's with the repeats?

message 37: by Eileen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Eileen | 2 comments Only 79, and I have an MA in English. Perhaps my laser focus on 19th Century British female writers hobbled me a bit.

message 38: by Arukiyomi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Arukiyomi | 260 comments American Psycho? Well, have you read it? It may be absolutely grotesque but Easton Ellis does a remarkable job of creating the character and I was astonished at the ending. I would't recommend it to everyone because of the content but as good writing, I'd rate it worthy of the list.

message 39: by Cairnraiser (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new)

Cairnraiser | 3 comments I'm at 75, that I'm sure of, there are a number of books that I'm almost positive I've read and a few I don't think I've read, but seen the movie.

message 40: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Jessica American Psycho? Yes, I have read it. I can probably think of 1001 other books that I'd rather read, and that put their finger on the 80s better. That Bret Easton Ellis has three entries on this list is beyond insane.

message 41: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 18 comments The reason American Psycho is on the list is because when it was published it caused a huge stir in the public due to the language and the violence to women. It's one of those books that is worth reading because it caused so many debates.

On a side note, I'm surprised Naked Lunch by Burroughs isn't on the list.

message 42: by Yelena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 109 comments I think three entries from Mr. Easton Ellis might be pushing things a little, but I have more than a small soft spot for American Psycho. I think it's a lot more complex than a lot of people give it credit for as it can be difficult to step outside the violence and think of why he chose that paradigm for his novel.

There are a lot of inclusions and exclusions on the list that trip me up, but I like the idea of the list as a jumping-off point.

And I did finish Tristram Shandy; I just can't tell you I liked it enough to do it again.

message 43: by Dottie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) I think most lists are best utilized as just that, Yelena. But then I just thought this 1001 Books to Read Before You Die followed relatively close on the book touting 1001 Places to See Before You Die if I'm not mistaken. Lists are cyclical beasts -- and new versions come up regularly.

And I also wondered at some of the choices of works and numbers of volumes included for certain authors such as Burroughs and Bruce Chatwin, and others. Still, it serves the purpose and gives us a look at the reviews by these people to use in our own choices.

message 44: by Arukiyomi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Arukiyomi | 260 comments Bronwyn, Naked Lunch is on there at number 461... bizarre read though... if read is the right word

message 45: by Bronwyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Bronwyn | 18 comments Arukiyomi, thanks for pointing that out. It's hard to absorb that whole list.

message 46: by Michelle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Michelle (literarilyspeaking1) I just joined the group today, and I have read 61 books, and am in the middle of reading number 62.

Thank goodness for an English major in college, or I don't think I would have read most of these books!!

It was really funny to look through the list and see how many of the books are currently sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read, and how many others are on my ever-growing "To Read" list...

message 47: by HoMa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

HoMa Me | 1 comments I just joined the group now, and i have read a few book till now and also I have a big to-read list.
but I hope to read all of books that i want, before become late.

message 48: by Tani (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Tani Wow, I'm so impressed by everyone who's read 60 or 70 or even more of these books without ever seeing the list. I'm at a measly 27, working on 28 and 29 at the moment. Clearly, I have some catching up to do. ;)

message 49: by Jennifer (JC-S) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Jennifer (JC-S) (jenniferjc-s) I have read it, and I agree with you. It is not a comfortable read but Easton Ellis creates a world for his 'hero' that is utterly and disturbingly believable.

message 50: by Jennifer (JC-S) (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:34PM) (new)

Jennifer (JC-S) (jenniferjc-s) Greetings all,

I joined the group a little while ago but it has taken me a while to read through some posts and get some sense of group discussions. Firstly, my thanks to the person who posted the 1001 books in an accessible spreadsheet format. I can remember reading 220 of these books. I know that I've read some others but I would need to read them again.

I don't necessarily agree that these are 1001 books I *must* read, but any list is a good starting point. I've been reading a long time (over 40 years) and I am seriously undisciplined and eclectic reader.

Will I read the full 1001? Possibly not. But I'll have a lot of fun thinking about it.

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