A few years ago my husband bought me a stainless steel bookmark that listed 50 books to read before you die. It was mostly contemporary books and included all of the Harry Potter’s, but it reminded me that some day I would attempt to tackle the longer, 1001-long, list. Of course, things came up and I forgot about it, but then a few things happened in a row that I decided were signs that I should at least have the list and glance at it sometimes.
First, I flipped through Rebecca from Love at First Book‘s hard copy of the book. Then, she introduced me to Heather at Between the Covers, who has a handy widget AND the entire list that includes the books from all four editions (which is actually 1305 books, not 1001). She was gracious enough to share the list and the widget coding with me, so I am much more likely to tackle the list now.
I went through the list and marked all of the books I had read. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed. I really thought I had read more than the 30 that I checked off. I’m sure, with it being such a long list, that I missed a few, but I can’t believe I have read less than 2% of the entire list. I have my work cut out for me!
A lot of the books on the list are fairly predictable, such as The Great Gatsby, anything by Philip Roth and some of the required reading from high school (Pride & Prejudice, 1984). But I was really surprised to find that Ayn Rand hadn’t made the list. I know that her books are somewhat controversial as of late (thanks to Paul Ryan’s ringing endorsements), but they really are stellar stories. Some other books that didn’t make the list (including the Harry Potter’s) were The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, As I Lay Dying, Sophie’s Choice, Valley of the Dolls, and Fahrenheit 451.
Regardless, I am looking forward to making my way through the list. I am not going to only read books from this list, but I am going to try to fit in one a month. There are a few on the list (such as The Shining) that I know I won’t read because I’m a big scaredy cat, so it it should only take me about 108 years to finish them all at that pace (maybe later I’ll start reading two per month).