1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Here is the list, which is biased toward the present.  Here is information about the book offering the list.

Here is a good NYT article on the new fall book season.  Here is a (surprising) list of the top ebooks in recent times.

Comments

WHAT? NO Ellison, Sowell, Moholy=Nagy, or me? RK

Almost all of it is "literature" to be read because it is literature, with little entertainment value. I found a non-trivial number of books I have read, but also every book I ever tried reading and abandoned partway thru.

The list seems a little too biased towards recent years. Did anyone else notice that Shakespeare isn't on there once or do books with plays in them not count?

I've actually read 54 on the list, but concentrated toward the older books. There probably aren't more than 25 of the 947 I haven't read that are on my list of "books I should maybe read to some point." Triticale's ocmment is heartily seconded.

No Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, Hobbes, de Tocqueville, Adam Smith,
St. Augustine, or Tacitus, but Chuck Palahniuk and
"Memoirs of a Geisha" make the cut? This
guy is horribly ignorant.

The Bible's omission is inexcusable.

This belongs on my list of 1001 lists I never wish to see again before I die. Nor after.

Ykri, nope. Atlas is better than Copperfield. Say what you will about Rand, but she beats Dickens solid. Admittedly, that's not saying much.

One of my pet peeves is the degree to which the academy will sneer at Rand, while forgiving all other authors for worse sins. I have no problem with disliking Rand, but the Fountainhead is no worse than the Grapes of Wrath, and David Copperfield is worse than Atlas. I'd say Atlas and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle are about equal in quality.

Strange list. The biggest problem isn't that it's biased towards the present. It's that it leaves practically nothing out by his favorite authors--Coetzee, McEwan, Murakami, DeLillo, Perec, others. I admire Coetzee tremendously, but missing Elizabeth Costello wouldn't have been among my deathbed regrets. And the recent stuff is mostly heavily-reviewed middlebrow stuff you'd pick out for your book group.

There are some off-the-beaten-track gems in the list, like Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg. Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to identify promising titles one hasn't read in a list this long and indiscriminate.

Roth's Portnoy's Complaint sucks. Worse than Anthem.

And that Handmaid's Tale by Atwood?! Talk about your lame didactic polemics! And people give Rand crap? Total left-wing hypocrisy, man. I would really like someone to sit me down and explain what Rand does that's so awful that isn't done by Steinbeck, Atwood, and Dickens.

But Confederacy of Dunces is on there, and it's awesome.

Salinger's Franny and Zooey is there, and I agree, but I think Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters should be there, too. Frankly, all of Salinger's work with the Glass characters was better than Catcher in the Rye.

I always liked Gurganis' Plays Well with Others, which isn't on the list. But that may be a quirk on my part.

Never Let Me Go is a great book, though.

Surprising? why?most of them are high school books.And teenager are the most prone to download

The list would probably be more useful reinvented as authors you must read before you die.

I've read 16. Literature, as a rule, bores me. Ludwig von Mises' Epistemological Problems of Economics is worth more than all of Hemingway put together, times 1000.

I do find it incredibly odd that the King James Version of the Bible is not on the list, considering how much of post-1611 English literature draws from it. My only guess, with some of the more glaring omissions, is that the list's creator assumed that everyone has already read Julius Caesar, Hamlet, the Bible, The Divine Comedy etc.

- Josh

"1001 Bits of Ephemera That Will Help Pass the Time Until You Die"

I actually thought it was a pretty good list, mostly very entertaining books - no two people will ever agree on the best books, but there is a lot of variety here, including the best detective fiction (hammet & chandler) and science fiction, and a lot of funny books too: decline and fall, lucky jim, dance to the music of time

It is worth noting to those who complain of the absence of Chaucer, Shakespeare and the Bible that by "books" the compilers apparently mean novels, in which category none of Chaucer, Shakespeare or the Bible belong.

Trying to explain why van Mises isn't better than Hemingway, or why Rand is a bad writer--and Steinbeck isn't--is akin to explaining to a pig the problems with cannibalism.

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