1001 books you must read before you die

Posted on November 6, 2006. Filed under: Books |

I was inspired by ragdoll to see how many of the 1001 books you must read before you die I had read. babygotbooks even created a handy spreadsheet for your use.

Sadly, I’m only at 49. But, I ask, does it count if you own more than half of the list, with the intention of reading them some day? This must be my new mission — to at least count down what I would consider to be classics on this list.

Here’s what I’ve read so far.

• 2000s
On Beauty – Zadie Smith
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
The Blind AssassinMargaret Atwood

• 1900s
DisgraceJ.M. Coetzee
Memoirs of a GeishaArthur Golden
Alias GraceMargaret Atwood
Written on the BodyJeanette Winterson
Regeneration – Pat Barker
The Handmaid’s TaleMargaret Atwood
Nights at the Circus – Angela Carter
Shame – Salman Rushdie
Slaughterhouse-five – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
• The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
• The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
• Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
• To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
• The Bell – Iris Murdoch
• Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
• Lord of the Flies – William Golding
• Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
• The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
• Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
• Animal Farm – George Orwell
• Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
• Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
• Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
• The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
• To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
• The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
• Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
• The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
• A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
• The Good Soldier – Ford Madox Ford
• The Secret Agent – Joseph Conrad

• 1800s
• The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
• Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
• The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
• Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
• Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
• The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
• The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
• Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
• Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

• 1700s
• Evelina – Fanny Burney
• The Castle of Otranto – Horace Walpole
• Candide – Voltaire
• Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
• Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
• A Tale of a Tub – Jonathan Swift

• Pre-1700
• Oroonoko – Aphra Behn

At least the 1900s are well represented… How many have you read to date? I’ll have to check in next year and see if I’ve improved.

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9 Responses to “1001 books you must read before you die”

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Thanks for linking to us. It’s been fun sizing up our collective shortcomings. I was checking out your reading list. I just finished Suite Francaise and loved it.

Thank you for posting the list in the first place! And Suite Francaise was so beautiful — I only wish she could have finished it! I loved it! An english edition of another one of her books is coming out in the Spring. It’s called David Golder (http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780676979459) and I can’t wait to read it!

You have to add the life of pi it is an amazing book. I just can’t remember the author right now. Have you read the Alcamist?(think that’s how it is spelt)

If you actually buy your books let me know I can help you get some good deals.

Another good read for a long road trip(since you are planning on taking one soon) is War and Peace I read it on my flight(16 hour flight) to and from India last year and really enjoyed it. I think you would like it based on your list.

Thanks Neetu! I have always wanted to read War and Peace, and even though Life of Pi isn’t on the list, I’m going to read it soon (I think). I have a copy of it on my shelf and it’s on my brother’s curriculum for English next semester, so I might read it with him.

Thanks for coming by! I didn’t know that you still did 🙂

[…] read from the list of books included in book titled 1001 books you must read before you die both on my blog and on the good ol’ thinkubator. I found it interesting that the post on my blog yielded no […]

I stopped when I found that none of that written by william shakespeare is included in the list. Above 1001 I recommend “The Guide” written by R K Narayan.

Well — there’s a pretty damn good reason why Shakespeare isn’t on the list — it’s a list of BOOKS. He wrote poetry and plays.

Neetu, Life of Pi is by Yann Martel. Born in Spain & currently living in Saskatoon Sk Canada, my hometown. YOu might like his new illustrated Life of Pi. I can’t wait for his new book The 20th Century Shirt due out next year.


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