Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1001 Books You must read Before You Die

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
by edited by Peter Boxall [809.3 Box]

This monstrously huge volume (2" thick!), composed from the recommendations of over 100 international literature critics, tries to identify the 1001 books that any true student of world literature should have read during a lifetime's worth of reading. The tome is arranged into sections: pre-1700s, 1700s, 1800s, 1900s and 2000s. Although there are some non-fiction titles included, the vast majority of the 1001 titles listed are fiction. The list is in true chronological order by the included works' publication dates. In addition to titles and authors, for each work included, some statistical data is provided -- the birth and death dates and locations for the author; the original publisher; original book title (if changed); author's full and/or original name (if changed); and any awards for which the work was nominated and/or won. Following this data, each book receives a critical essay from one of the literary critics who recommended its inclusion, providing sometimes dry, sometimes entertaining snippets about the plot, meaning and significance of the work. Most importantly, the critics identify the "appeal factors" for most of the books -- why you would enjoy reading these titles in the first place. As a librarian, in many ways I feel considerably under-read after looking through this list. I've only read 47 of the 1001, and sampled a handful of others. While I doubt I'll get to everything on the list, I've found several to add to my list of must-reads. This isn't a book that's easy to read cover-to-cover, but it's definitely a fun book to browse, especially if you consider yourself "well read." -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

How many of the 1001 have YOU read???

[ The List of 1001 Books on Listology.com -- with reader comments ]

Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?

New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide web site. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month.

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