1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Book Pdf ePub

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

3.822,336 votes • 338 reviews
Published 07 Mar 2006
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.pdf
Format Hardcover
Publisher Universe Publishing(NY)
ISBN 0789313707

For discerning bibliophiles and readers who enjoy unforgettable classic literature, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a trove of reviews covering a century of memorable writing. Each work of literature featured here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word.The featured works have been handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries, including Derek Attridge (world expert on James Joyce), Cedric Watts (renowned authority on Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene), Laura Marcus (noted Virginia Woolf expert), and David Mariott (poet and expert on African-American literature), among some twenty others.Addictive, browsable, knowledgeable--1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die will be a boon companion for anyone who loves good writing and an inspiration for anyone who is just beginning to discover a love of books. Each entry is accompanied by an authoritative yet opinionated critical essay describing the importance and influence of the work in question. Also included are publishing history and career details about the authors, as well as reproductions of period dust jackets and book designs.

"1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" Reviews

- Cape Town, South Africa
Sat, 26 Feb 2011

The secret to immortality is revealed ... read only 1000 of these. No more.

- Geneva, Switzerland
Thu, 07 May 2015

- Halethorpe, MD
Wed, 26 Jun 2013

Peter Boxall and his panel of high-falutin' lit'ry types got together and made a list of 1001 books they think everyone should read before they die. Now the title might rub some folks the wrong way - hey, who are you, you high-falutin' lit'ry types, up in your academic towers, telling us what we must read? Ultimately this list is probably no better or worse than any other "best books" list compiled by literary scholars, though it's certainly longer than most. (I'd be amazed if any of Boxall's committee really has read every single one of these books.)
The merits of the books chosen are of course open to considerable debate. They range from the big classics that every single list ever includes (Madame Bovary, Crime and Punishment, Moby-Dick, etc.) to a handful of modern genre classics (Neuromancer, Interview with the Vampire, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold) to some really obscure ones I have never heard of, nor met anyone who's read them (The Clay Machine Gun? Giles Goat-Boy? Yeah, I see some of you on my friends list are making a liar out of me...)
There are two main criticisms people usually make of the list: one is that it's very Western-centric, with very few non-Western novels on the list, even going back to the 17th century. No Tale of Genji, no Water Margin, to say nothing of anything more modern.
The other flaw is that it's pretty obvious that some of the literary panelists just stuck as many books by their favorite author as they could on the list. I mean, I like Charles Dickens, but I don't think he needs to be on the list 10 times. He does not make up 1% of the world's most important literature all by himself! Philip Roth: 7, Virginia Woolf: 9, Jane Austen: 6, etc. I know it's probably hard to choose which of Jane Austen's six novels are the best/most important, but come on — I'd agree everyone should read at least one or two of her books, but not all of them, unless you actually like Jane Austen (which I do, incidentally).
So, anyway, I understand the revised 2010 edition has addressed this a bit, with fewer Dickens and more non-Western inclusions.
The summary of each book is brief and not always very illuminating. None of them really argue passionately for why this particular book (especially if it's only one of many by the same author) deserves to be on your literary life list. However, in a brief allotment of words, each book gets a page on its qualities and what it has to offer.
So, this is the sort of book that's interesting to have on your shelves and to page through. And I have been semi-randomly making my way through it, sometimes choosing books I would never otherwise have read. You can see my list here. Some have been delightful surprises, some were just an opportunity to read one of those books everyone is supposed to have read in high school but I never did (hence my finally getting around to Wuthering Heights and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), and some I do not think my life would have been diminished by missing.
I still haven't read Moby-Dick or The Great Gatsby yet.
Personally, I found Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel a more engaging and personal read, with her list of a 100 books which she personally read (or reread) for their importance. But 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is a hefty doorstopper worthy of any book-lover's collection, though I'd like to meet the person who's actually read all 1001. I seriously doubt I will get around to all of them.

- Nottingham, England, The United Kingdom
Wed, 26 Sep 2007

Has anyone thought of this already? Surely they have....
I wonder if it would be possible here on Goodreads to have a page listing all the 1001 books and - here's the thing - links to our own reviews of them (maybe with a limit in the case of famous books with a zillion reviews). It would be an interesting resource and would encourage people to review those which haven't got any reviews at all - say, for instance, The Taebek Mountains by Jo Jung-rae or Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga. It would add to the GR fray, and that is what we are here for : the fray.
(if you weren’t wondering then move along, nothing to see here, this is for terminal list geeks only)
The original edition came out in 2006 and got a lot of stick for its eurocentricity and eccentricity – what? 10 Coetzee novels and 8 McEwans? It looked a little like bribery and corruption, or maybe the editorial board had just gone mad. So in 2008 they rethought the whole list. 282 books were dumped and new ones added.
2008 additions
1. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2. Falling Man – Don DeLillo
3. Animal's People – Indra Sinha
4. Carry Me Down - M.J. Hyland
5. The Kindly Ones - Jonathan Littell
6. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
7. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
8. Against the Day - Thomas Pynchon
9. Mother's Milk - Edward St Aubyn
10. The Accidental - Ali Smith
11. Measuring the World - Daniel Kehlmann
12. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
13. Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
14. 2666 - Roberto Bolano
15. Small Island - Andrea Levy
16. The Swarm - Frank Schatzing
17. The Book about Blanche and Marie - Per Olov Enquist
18. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
19. The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
20. Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
21. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
22. A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz
23. Lady Number Thirteen - Jose Carlos Somoza
24. The Successor - Ismail Kadare
25. Snow - Orhan Pamuk
26. Your Face Tomorrow - Javier Marias
27. I'm Not Scared - Niccolo Ammaniti
28. Soldiers of Salamis - Javier Cercas
29. Bartleby and Co. - Enrique Vila-Matas
30. In Search of Klingsor - Jorge Volpi
31. The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugresic
32. Pavel's Letters - Monika Moron
33. Dirty Havana Trilogy - Pedro Juan Gutierrez
34. Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano
35. The Heretic - Miguel Delibes
36. Crossfire - Miyuki Miyabe
37. Margot and the Angels - Kristien Hemmerechts
38. Money to Burn - Ricardo Piglia
39. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
40. A Light Comedy - Eduardo Mendoza
41. Democracy - Joan Didion
42. The Late-Night News - Petros Markaris
43. Troubling Love - Elena Ferrante
44. Santa Evita - Tomas Eloy Martinez
45. Our Lady of the Assassins - Fernando Vallejo
46. The Holder of the World - Bharati Mukherjee
47. Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light - Ivan Klima
48. Remembering Babylon - David Malouf
49. The Twins - Tessa de Loo
50. Deep Rivers - Shusaku Endo
51. The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll - Alvaro Mutis
52. The Dumas Club - Arturo Perez-Reverte
53. The Triple Mirror of Self - Zulfikar Ghose
54. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
55. Memoirs of Rain - Sunetra Gupta
56. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture - Apostolos Doxiadis
57. Before Night Falls - Reinaldo Arenas
58. Astradeni - Eugenia Fakinou
59. Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell
60. The Laws - Connie Palmen
61. The Daughter -Pavlos Matesis
62. The Shadow Lines - Amitav Ghosh
63. The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor
64. Gimmick! - Joost Zwagerman
65. Obabakoak - Bernardo Atxaga
66. Inland - Gerald Murnane
67. The First Garden - Anne Herbert
68. The Last World - Christoph Ransmayr
69. Paradise of the Blind - Duong Thu Huong
70. All Souls - Javier Marias
71. Black Box - Amos Oz
72. Ballad for Georg Henig - Viktor Paskov
73. Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto
74. Of Love and Shadows - Isabel Allende
75. The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman - Andrzej Szczypiorski
76. Ancestral Voices - Etienne van Heerden
77. Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
78. Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid
79. Simon and the Oak Trees - Marianne Fredriksson
80. Half of Man is Woman - Zhang Xianliang
81. Professor Martens' Departure - Jaan Kross
82. The Young Man - Botho Strauss
83. Love Medicine - Louise Erdrich
84. Larva: Midsummer Night's Babel - Julian Rios
85. The Witness - Juan Jose Saer
86. The Christmas Oratorio - Goran Tunstrom
87. Fado Alexandrino - Antonio Lobo Antunes
88. The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa
89. Baltazar and Bleminda - Jose Saramago
90. Memory of Fire - Eduardo Galeano
91. Couples, Passerby - Botho Strauss
92. The House with the Blind Glass Windows - Herbjorg Wassmo
93. The War of the End of the World - Mario Vargas Llosa
94. Leaden Wings - Zhang Jie
95. Clear Light of Day - Anita Desai
96. Smell of Sadness - Alfred Kossmann
97. Southern Seas - Manuel Vazquez Montalban
98. Fool's Gold - Maro Douka
99. So Long a Letter - Mariama Ba
100. A Dry White Season - Andre Brink
101. The Back Room - Carmen Martin Gaite
102. The Beggar Maid - Alice Munro
103. Requiem for a Dream- Hubert Selby Jr.
104. The Wars - Timothy Findley
105. Quartet in Autumn – Barbara Pym
106. The Engineer of Human Souls – Josef Skvorecky
107. Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor
108. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami
109. Kiss of the Spider Woman - Manuel Puig
110. Woman at Point Zero - Nawal El Saadawi
111. The Commandant - Jessica Anderson
112. The Year of the Hare - Arto Paasilinna
113. The Port - Antun Šoljan
114. The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin
115. The Diviners - Margaret Laurence
116. Day of the Dolphin - Robert Merle
117. The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty
118. The Twilight Years - Sawako Ariyoshi
119. Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro
120. Cataract – Mykhailo Osadchyi
121. A World for Julius - Alfredo Bryce Echenique
122. Play It As It Lays - Joan Didion
123. Fifth Business – Robertson Davies
124. Jacob the Liar – Jurek Becker
125. Here's to You, Jesusa - Elena Poniatowska
126. Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih
127. The Case Worker - Gyorgy Konrad
128. Moscow Stations - Venedikt Erofeyev
129. Heartbreak Tango - Manuel Puig
130. The Cathedral – Oles Honchar
131. The Manor - Isaac Bashevis Singer
132. Z – Vassilis Vassilikos
133. Miramar – Naguib Mahfouz
134. To Each His Own - Leonardo Sciascia
135. Marks of Identity - Juan Goytisolo
136. Silence – Shusaku Endo
137. Death and the Dervish - Mesa Selimovic
138. Closely Watched Trains - Bohumil Hrabal
139. Back to Oegstgeest - Jan Wolkers
140. Gardens, Ashes – Danilo Kis
141. Three Trapped Tigers - Guillermo Cabrera Infante
142. Dog Years – Gunter Grass
143. The Third Wedding - Costas Taktsis
144. Time of Silence – Luis Martin Santos
145. The Death of Artemio Cruz - Carlos Fuentes
146. The Time of the Hero - Mario Vargas Llosa
147. Memoirs of a Peasant Boy - Xose Neira Vilas
148. No One Writes to the Colonel - Gabriel García Márquez
149. The Shipyard - Juan Carlos Onetti
150. Bebo's Girl - Carlo Cassola
151. The Magician of Lublin - Isaac Bashevis Singer
152. God's Bits of Wood - Ousmane Sembene
153. Halftime – Martin Walser
154. Down Second Avenue - Es'kia Mphahlele
155. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon - Jorge Amado
156. Deep Rivers - Jose Maria Arguedas
157. The Guide - R.K. Narayan
158. The Deadbeats - Ward Ruyslinck
159. The Birds - Tarjei Vesaas
160. The Glass Bees - Ernst Junger
161. The Manila Rope - Veijo Meri
162. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands - Joao Guimaraes Rosa
163. The Burning Plain - Juan Rulfo
164. The Tree of Man – Patrick White
165. The Mandarins – Simone de Beauvoir
166. A Day in Spring – Ciril Kosmac
167. Death in Rome – Wolfgang Koeppen
168. The Sound of Waves - Yukio Mishima
169. The Unknown Soldier - Vaino Linna
170. The Hothouse – Wolfgang Koeppen
171. The Lost Steps – Alejo Carpentier
172. The Dark Child – Camara Laye
173. Excellent Women - Barbara Pym
174. A Thousand Cranes - Yasunari Kawabata
175. The Hive - Camilo Jose Cela
176. Barabbas – Par Lagerkvist
177. The Guiltless – Hermann Broch
178. Ashes and Diamonds - Jerzy Andrzejewski
179. Journey to the Alcarria - Camilo Jose Cela
180. In The Heart of the Sea - Shmuel Yosef Agnon
181. This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen - Tadeusz Borowski
182. Froth on the Daydream - Boris Vian
183. Midaq Alley - Naguib Mahfouz
184. Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzákis
185. House in the Uplands - Erskine Caldwell
186. Andrea – Carmen Laforet
187. Bosnian Chronicle - Ivo Andrić
188. The Death of Virgil - Hermann Broch
189. The Tin Flute – Gabrielle Roy
190. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
191. Chess Story (Royal Game) - Stefan Zweig
192. Broad and Alien is the World - Ciro Alegria
193. The Harvesters – Cesare Pavese
194. The Man Who Loved Children - Christina Stead
195. Alamut – Vladimir Bartol
196. On the Edge of Reason – Miroslav Krleza
197. The Blind Owl – Sadegh Hedayat
198. Ferdydurke – Witold Gombrowicz
199. War with the Newts – Karel Capek
200. Ricksaw Boy – Lao She
201. Untouchable - Mulk Raj Anand
202. The Bells of Basel – Louis Aragon
203. On the Heights of Despair – Emil Cioran
204. The Street of Crocodiles – Bruno Schulz
205. Man's Fate – André Malraux
206. Cheese – Willem Elsschot
207. Joseph and His Brothers – Thomas Mann
208. Viper's Tangle – Francois Mauriac
209. The Return of Philip Latinowicz – Miroslav Krleza
210. The Forbidden Realm - J. Slauerhoff
211. Insatiability - Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz
212. Monica – Saunders Lewis
213. I Thought of Daisy - Edmund Wilson
214. Retreat Without Song - Shahan Shahnur
215. Some Prefer Nettles - Junichiro Tanizaki
216. The Case of Sergeant Grischa - Arnold Zweig
217. Alberta and Jacob - Cora Sandel
218. Under Satan's Sun - Georges Bernanos
219. The New World - Henry Walda-Sellasse
220. Chaka the Zulu - Thomas Mofolo
221. The Forest and the Hanged - Liviu Rebreanu
222. Claudine's House - Colette
223. Kristin Lavransdatter - Sigrid Undset
224. Life of Christ - Giovanni Papini
225. The Storm of Steel - Ernst Junger
226. The Underdogs - Mariano Azuela
227. Pallieter - Felix Timmermans
228. The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore
229. Platero and I - Juan Ramon Jimenez
230. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge - Rainer Maria Rilke
231. Solitude - Victor Catala
232. The Way of All Flesh - Samuel Butler
233. The Call of the Wild - Jack London
234. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness - Daniel Paul Schreber
235. None But the Brave - Arthur Schnitzler
236. The Tigers of Momopracem - Emilio Salgari
237. Dom Casmurro - Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
238. Eclipse of the Crescent Moon - Geza Gardonyi
239. As a Man Grows Older - Italo Svevo
240. The Child of Pleasure - Gabriele D'Annunzio
241. Pharaoh - Boleslaw Prus
242. Compassion - Benito Perez Galdos
243. The Viceroys - Federico De Roberto
244. Down There - Joris-Karl Huysmans
245. Thais - Anatole France
246. Eline Vere - Louis Couperus
247. Under the Yoke - Ivan Vazov
248. The Manors of Ulloa - Emilia Pardo Bazan
249. The Quest - Frederik van Eeden
250. The Regent's Wife - Leopoldo Alas
251. The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas - Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis
252. The Crime of Father Amaro - Jose Maria Eca de Queiros
253. Pepita Jimenez - Juan Valera
254. Martin Fierro - Jose Hernandez
255. Indian Summer - Adalbert Stifter
256. Green Henry - Gottfried Keller
257. The Devil's Pool - George Sand
258. Facundo - Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
259. A Hero of Our Times - Mikhail Yurevich Lermontov
260. Camera Obscura – Hildebrand (aka Nicolaas Beets)
261. The Lion of Flanders - Hendrik Conscience
262. Eugene Onegin - Alexander Pushkin
263. A Life of a Good-for-Nothing - Joseph von Eichendorff
264. The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr - E.T.A. Hoffman
265. Michael Kohlhaas - Heinrich von Kleist
266. Henry von Ofterdingen - Novalis
267. A Dream of Red Mansions – Cao Xueqin
268. Anton Reiser - Karl Philipp Moritz
269. The Adventures of Simplicissimus – Hans von Grimmelshausen
270. The Conquest of New Spain – Bernal Diaz del Castillo
271. The Travels of Persiles and Sigismunda – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
272. Thomas of Reading – Thomas Deloney
273. Monkey: Journey to the West – Wu Cheng'en
274. The Lusiad – Luis Vaz de Camoes
275. The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes - Anonymous
276. Amadis of Gaul - Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo
277. Le Celestina – Fernando de Rojas
278. Tirant lo Blanc – Joanot Martorell
279. Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Luo Guanzhong
280. The Water Margin – Shi Nai'an
281. The Tale of Genji – Murasaki Shikibu
282. The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter - Anonymous
Then, only two years later, a third edition, another revamp, but only ELEVEN titles were changed … that’s weird!
1. Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
2. The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt
3. Invisible - Paul Auster
4. An American Rust - Philipp Meyer
5. Cost - Roxana Robinson
6. The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga
7. Home - Marilynne Robinson
8. Kieron Smith, Boy - James Kelman
9. The Gathering - Anne Enright
10. The Blind Side of the Heart - Julia Franck
11. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz
1. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
2. Animal's People - Indra Sinha
3. The Kindly Ones - Jonathan Littell
4. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
5. Small Island - Andrea Levy
6. The Plot Against America - Philip Roth
7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
8. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
9. Islands - Dan Sleigh
10. The Heart of Redness - Zakes Mda
11. Small Remedies - Shashi Deshpande
This is like porn for us book-geek types, it's so pretty and it's full of sexy pix of books in all states of dress, some with their jackets on, some off, some bound, some unbound. And lotsa pix of authors too, although, you know, authors are usually not the most gorgeous of people, and if you think that's stereotypical this book is here to prove it. (Exception : Edna O'Brien, total babe.)
Anyway, this 1001 Books tome did turn my head when it was first published. It didn't, however, make me read anything I wasn't going to, which I guess is its point. Or maybe, its point is just to lie in the corner of your room and purr.
Everybody will be shouting at this book before long as they look through it along the lines of "what's this? You've got three in here by Douglas Adams, and NONE by Roddy Doyle? you arrant dunderheads!" I mean, Douglas Adams is good for one, but not three... And if Douglas Adams, then Garrison Keillor...
Each book gets about 300 words which editor Peter Boxall describes like this : "What each entry does is to respond, with the cramped urgency of a deathbed confession, to what makes each novel compelling, to what it is about each novel that makes one absolutely need to read it." But, you know, they don't actually do that. It's just another pretty lie.
1001 books - it's a lot. If you had the time and money to read every one at a rate of one per week, you'd need 19 and a quarter years, so you better get going. But unless you're in a cult, you aren't going to do that. The pre-1700 section, in particular, is strictly for students of literature - I stick my neck out and say that very few will be reading "Euphues : The Anatomy of Wit" by John Lyly or "Aithiopika" by Heliodorus for fun. And then the dogged reader will be coming up against the rarely-scaled Everests of literature such as Dorothy Richardson's "Pilgrimage" (13 vols, thousands of pages) or Proust (likewise) or "Infinite Jest" (one volume, 1100 pages). Each of which are going to take you 3-6 months solid.
Rules are broken randomly - the word "books" certainly appears to equate to "novels" in here, BUT "Like Life" by Lorrie Moore is included - a collection of short stories, not a novel. So okay - why no Raymond Carver, America's greatest short story writer? Stupid bastards. And sometimes it's hard to see that the reviewer even likes the book in question - "The Secret History" is described as "quality trash for highbrows"! Or take this: "As with his other writing `The Book of Laughter and Forgetting' raises questions about the representation of female characters, and invites accusations of latent misogyny. These are valid objections that may engender fruitful considerations of this novel as a historical document as much as a work of experimental fiction." Well, that's hardly an enthusiastic endorsement.
Some authors are wildly over-represented, such as J M Coatzee, Ian McEwan and Paul Auster, all of which have more titles in here than Henry James. It's interesting to check if the Booker Prizewinners are included - 20 are out of 37 and there are some strange omissions - no room for "Vernon God Little" (quite right too) or "The True History of the Kelly Gang", "Sacred Hunger" (nothing at all by Barry Unsworth in fact - what's wrong with him, he's great, you dunderheads!), "The Famished Road" or "Hotel du Lac". So this is a guide with enough in it to get everyone's backs up and please hardly anyone except Coatzee and McEwan fans. Therefore I recommend it for everyone, but particularly those who have just been sentenced to a long stretch of solitary confinement.
Having said that, please check out my GR friend Ellen's fantastically vitriolic review - I don't agree with her but her views are BRACING

- Tuscaloosa, AL
Tue, 02 Aug 2016

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die: An Indispensable Guide
Of course, I didn't read this 960 page behemoth in one day. As a matter of fact, the selected edition is the second of two copies in my library, my personal one, and the one I share with my dearest reading friend and partner, Lynda.
Rather, this is my indispensable guide to broadening my literary horizons. The pictured edition is that published by Cassell in 2012. However, my first edition was the first published in 2006.
I emphasize that this is an evolving series. As such, as successive volumes have been published, some works have been removed while others have been added. My first edition was rather a comfort to me. For it reinforced my selection of books I had read over the course of my life. Let's say the initial volume was "Anglo-centric." Here were the classics of American and English Literature on which I had cut my bookish teeth. The usual suspects are here. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, William FaulknerErnest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck.
As the series has progressed, the 1001 have taken on a decidedly international flavor. That is an exceptionally good thing. For I have begun to read much further abroad than English and American Literature. These major revisions have occurred in the 2008 and 2014 editions.
This series should not be dismissed as simply another "List of Books." It is far more than that. This series comes with the Literary Chops of Editor Peter Boxall a professor of English in the Department of English at the University of Sussex. He works on contemporary literature, literary theory and literary modernism. The series is further advanced by the work of innumerable scholars, specializing in the works of included authors.
Some readers may well be put off by a book of this scope. Many readers always take exception to works included and excluded. Yet, it must be accepted that Literature is a constantly changing way in which the world is viewed: historically, philosophically, politically, and socially. Otherwise Literature would not have the impact on us as readers it undeniably does.
Those who may be dismayed by the exclusion of beloved works previously included in earlier editions should be assuaged by knowing that most works excluded in later editions are works by authors who have had multiple listings in previous editions. By example, at one time Charles Dickens and J.M. Coetzee were the writers with the most entries; ten for each. Those have been reduced to make room for authors of significant works from different cultures and eras. That suits the mission of this series.
For the Bibliophile, each edition has been a treasure trove of artwork from contemporary editions of the works reviewed. The accompanying artwork for each entry makes this an entrancingly beautiful book on, well, the beauty of books and their wonderful graphic design.
If one were to make a comparison of the various editions in this series, it actually lists in excess of 1300 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
It is quite doubtful I will ever read each and every volume listed in this all encompassing series of books. However, it is a work I return to time and again in looking for that next book to be read. On the other hand, I have frequently said, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that the key to immortality is a stack of unread books. "Wait, wait, Death. I'm not done here."
Yet, this guide has led me to books I might not ever have read otherwise. This series has pushed me beyong the limits of my usual literary comfort zone. For that, I'm exceedingly grateful.
Should you decide to embark on this magnificent Literary Exploration, you, too, may find this your guide for volumes to increase your library for years to come. Oh, I highly recommend delving into this series. It is a joy.

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