Thursday, September 10, 2020

1000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich



"For years a thousand books felt like far too many to get my head around, but now it seems too few by several multiples. So 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 live."

I'm a list person. The minute I first heard about this book at a library conference, I knew this would be a book I'd love to read. And reread. And reread.

It's true. I put this book on hold at the library long before it was published. I checked it as soon as it was available for me. I bought a hardcover copy of it. I bought it in an e-book. 

James Mustich is a name I recognized. Long, long ago, Mustich created a book catalog, A Common Reader. I received that catalog. I bought many of the books Mustich recommended. 

And now I've decided to join in for a challenge with this book. It took me a morning to make my own copy of the list, and then save it to my ongoing challenges list. Now I'm going to take my time with the list, and go through the book again, and add reviews on Goodreads for books on the list I've read in the past. That will take a while. Then I think I will (slowly) start reading books on the list that I haven't read. 

Here's a nice clean copy of the list, if you'd like to take a look. James Mustich has a site online for this book, too, and if you go there, you can make your own online list of the 1000 Books. You can add comments about the books you have read there. You can also help Mustich make his next list.


Will I read all the books on this list before I die? Unlikely. Not sure I even want to. But to give it a try will definitely add something good to my life.

Have you read it? Do you like big challenges like this?

28 comments:

  1. I'll pass on the challenge -- so many books, so little time. But it sounds like a good one and yes, I've heard of the book and maybe even seen the list. Sounds familiar!

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    1. I looked everywhere to find a copy of the list itself to use for checking off titles, but I couldn't find one. So I'm happy that I have made one for myself.

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  2. I copied and printed out the book list in the back, and like to check off the books as I read them. But I know I shall never read all of them.

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  3. A thousand books is daunting! A ten year prospect for most of us, I would link, assuming we read nothing BUT those books.

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    1. Sidenote: as an Episcopalian, I thought it was lovely that the Book of Common Prayer made the list..its language seduced me ten years ago, and it's even more spellbinding for older versions, especially the marriage and Eucharist liturgies. I don't know that's "readable" the way a novel is, though...interesting to see regardless!

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    2. The Book of Common Prayer is a great example of a surprise on the list that I would probably love, but would not have put on the list myself.

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  4. WOW, I just went through the list and was amazed by how very few I've actually read. Probably 10-12%. I'm too old to commit to this challenge, too many other books I want to read LOL

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  5. I've known about this book and taken a look at the 'list' more than once. I don't think that it contains enough of the books that I prefer, but I think it's a great well-balanced list of books for a lifetime of reading. Good luck with it, Deb!

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    1. I like the balance, too, Kay. It has many books I might not pick up were they not on this list.

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  6. I love book lists! This one is especially comprehensive, isn't it? I find that I've read quite a few of them but there are many, many more that I haven't. Something to aspire to perhaps in the years to come.

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  7. I love that book, I'm fortunate to have my own copy, it;'s a gorgeous book in itself. but wow, though tempted, I never took the tie to make my list or count the ones I have read. maybe when I'm retired, lol.
    so are you going to fill in the ones you haven't read by alphabetical order, or chronoogical?

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  8. Hi Deb! Good grief... I'm still struggling to complete my list of 50 books for The Classics Club. But just like you, I am a list person and I just know that I am going to take a peak and the most probably start making my own list.... Oh the perils!!

    Hope your week was good, will chat again over the weekend.

    Elza Reads

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    1. I will use this book to help me make my future Classics Club lists.

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  9. Oooh! Once I realized it was different from the 1001 books that came out a while ago, I immediately downloaded the spreadsheet & checked off books.

    I've got another list of a thousand books, different from this and different from the 1001 that I'm not even sure where it comes from anymore...

    Clearly I love a list!

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    1. I do, too. It's from lists that I seem to find my best books.

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  10. From Rae
    Too much of a challenge for me.

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    1. I don't see how I can possibly read 685 books before I go. Nevertheless, I shall try.

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    2. If anyone can do it, girl, you can!

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  11. I like lists. Come on I'm a Virgo. Thanks for supplying us with the List. I think I will print it out and cross off ones ... that for whatever reason I don't think I need to read .... and keep the ones that I really want to or feel I should read. Then perhaps I can add ones ... since I crossed off others.

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  12. I love book lists and have a few posts, from back in my very early blogging days, which I had fun with. Love crossing off titles as I read them. I'll give this one a look, but it may feel a bit daunting. 1000 books? Eeek!

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  13. I love lists like this, but then I get frustrated at the list when it doesn't have my favorites or if I feel like it's biased or leaves out certain types of books. I guess it's a love/hate relationship.

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  14. I'm going this with another blogger friend! The pandemic put a bit of a damper in it for a bit but I hope to get back on track soon. I've got another list on Goodreads that I follow as well for 501 and books to read before I die and they split it up into a bunch of categories. I enjoy these kinds of challenges cuz I get to read about books I've never heard of and I also like to see how many I've read or even heard about. I doubt I'll ever read most but like you said it's fun to try!

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