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Topic: 1,001 books you must read before you die

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Subject: 1,001 books you must read before you die
Date Posted: 4/12/2010 5:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
Posts: 3,574
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I was expecting to read this list with a lot of head nodding, but I have read, (and in many cases, not even heard of) a surprising few of these books. What do you think of this list?

Date Posted: 4/12/2010 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I have read surprisngly few titles myself. It is compiled by literary critics and edited by an Englishman. So there is probably a different focus.

My friend has this book, which is a nice book to flip through with a synopsis of each work. There are also slight modifications to the list with every new edition.

Date Posted: 4/13/2010 2:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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I have read. . .

0/69 from the 2000s, or 0%.

35/716 from the 1900s, or 0.049%.

15/157 from the 1800s, or 0.096%.

3/46 from the 1700s, or 0.065%.

0/13 from pre-1700, or 0%.

For a total of 53/1001, or 0.053%.

Pretty sad. . . though I do have about double that number already on my TBR stack. . . just stuff I haven't gotten around to yet. And of my pitiful total, only about 1/3 of those books were forced on me in school. . . that's REALLY sad. But the list is very Euro-centric, and I was part of the generation that had quite a bit of time set aside for multiculturalism in my English classes. . . I think I only saw one of those books on the list. (I make no statement as to whether that's a failing of the books or a failing of the list.)

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2007
Posts: 9,898
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I've read 64 of 1001 - 6 % .  Wow !

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,582
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I've read 105 of 1001. 

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,573
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I was surprised at how many I have read.  I was surprised that every book written by authors like Jeannette Witherspoon (sp) were on the list.  And come on now, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?  Only a few did I think were misplaced.  

Lots of gay novels on the list from today to 1800.  Lots of gay authors on the list from 1800 to 1AD.  Lots of Russians and hardly any Spanish?  I was impressed that so many women made the list.  I loved seeing old favorites like Cannery Row and Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels.  But I don't really think that A Home at the End of the World is a book that anyone will miss reading.  And I liked it just fine, but, you know?  The other glaring omission (unless I just missed it) is Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness.     I was really happy to see so many of Alice Walker's books on the list.

And how about the highly over-rated Delta of Venus by Anias Nin.  Willard and His Bowling Trophies and Watermelon Sugar by  Richard Brautigan.  Yuck.   I just think there are more wonderful and interesting novels.  One's that don't depend on loco weed to make them palatable.   When I have some time I will edit this post to suggest them.

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2007
Posts: 5,272
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Last year, I had a brave thought to try and read all of the books on the list.  I actually bought a hardcover copy of the "1001 Books". And decided to keep a blog about how I was doing, sort of an ongoing book report thing.

Yeah, that didn't work.    I decided to go alphabetically, for simplicity's sake.  And promptly got bogged down in Aaron's Rod.  Quite dull.

End of project.  :/

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,536
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I have to admit that I have not heard of many of these authors. 

I read 17 from the 1800s and 20 from the 1900s.  I didn't count the several that I started but could not finish.

Date Posted: 4/17/2010 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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I've read 67 of them, but to be fair, several of the "books" listed are actually short stories--all of the Poe stories,"Hound of the Baskervilles," "The Yellow Wallpaper"--so if you wanted to give yourself a couple more notches on the list, you could easily read all of those (probably on-line right this minute) and add to your total painlessly!

I'd heard of a lot more of them than I expected to, and there were several that I honestly couldn't remember if I'd read or not. And many more that I'd like to read someday...and many that I could care less about, LOL.


Date Posted: 4/21/2010 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2009
Posts: 9
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I read few...but #24 Fingersmith is an amazing book!!

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2005
Posts: 27
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I read 98 of them but most of them while in school or right after I graduated - when I actually had the time to read.