Tuesday, May 06, 2008

1001 List

Everyone is by now very familiar with the1001 Books to Read before you die list, which can be found here (this is mostly for future reference for myself). I'm going to note here which of the few from the list I've read so far. As lists always are, this one is skewed to the compilers' tastes, and some are widely divergent from mine. Still, there are more than ten unread titles which appeal to me.

The 1% Challenge based on this list has been tempting me, but with the ongoing Russian Reading challenge and the Canadian Book Challenge, both of which I'm loving, I don't really want any more 'scheduled' reading in my future. Danielle has mentioned how attractive this challenge is, however, and has made a list of possible reads even if she isn't officially signing up. I like that idea!

So my hope is to read 10 of the multitudinous books on this list that I haven't cracked open as yet. I may still sign up officially if I ever feel capable of participating, but for now I'm just going to list 10 possibles (and a couple of alternates) from the list that I hope to read in the next 10 months. We'll just see how it goes.

Already Read:

The Double – José Saramago
Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
The Hours – Michael Cunningham
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Silk – Alessandro Baricco
Hallucinating Foucault – Patricia Duncker
Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
Written on the Body – Jeanette Winterson
Possession – A.S. Byatt
Sexing the Cherry – Jeanette Winterson
Like Water for Chocolate – Laura Esquivel
The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul – Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams

The Passion – Jeanette Winterson
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
The Midwich Cuckoos – John Wyndham
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Bonjour Tristesse – Françoise Sagan
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The Pursuit of Love – Nancy Mitford
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
At the Mountains of Madness – H.P. Lovecraft
The House in Paris – Elizabeth Bowen
Miss Lonelyhearts – Nathanael West
The Waves – Virginia Woolf
Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust
To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Garden Party – Katherine Mansfield
Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
Summer – Edith Wharton
The Golden Bowl – Henry James
The Wings of the Dove – Henry James
The Awakening – Kate Chopin
The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Diary of a Nobody – George & Weedon Grossmith
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
The Woodlanders – Thomas HardyThe Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
The Death of Ivan Ilyich – Leo Tolstoy
The Portrait of a Lady – Henry James
Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
The Moonstone – Wilkie Collins
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell
Walden – Henry David Thoreau
Cranford – Elizabeth Gaskell
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Mary Barton – Elizabeth Gaskell
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
The Purloined Letter – Edgar Allan Poe
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe
The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo
Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
Candide – Voltaire
A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift
Metamorphoses – Ovid
Aesop’s Fables – Aesopus

Thinking of Reading Soon:

The Golden Notebook / Doris Lessing (also up for Annie's What's in a name Challenge)

The Master & Margarita / Bulgakov (one I'd like to read for the Russian Reading Challenge)

Dead Souls / Gogol (ditto)

The Go-Between / L.P. Hartley (I've been planning to read this FOR EVER)

Nights at the Circus / Angela Carter (great writer)

Anagrams / Lorrie Moore (I'm continually being told to read her, already!)

Miss Pettigrew lives for a day / Winifred Watson (charming book & movie, or so I've heard)

The Last September / Elizabeth Bowen (since reading The House in Paris for the Outmoded Authors challenge, I've wanted to read more, especially this book)

Embers / Sandor Marai (my husband loves this one)

We / Yevgeny Zamyatin (I have to read this dystopian classic this year of reading Russian)

and then maybe just for fun:

The Riddle of the Sands / Erskine Childers

She / Rider Haggard

The Third Man / Graham Greene (I adore the film)

That's 93 read, or around 9%. Not too bad, I guess, but there are many more to tackle. To feel more well-read, perhaps I should be looking at this book -- even if I have read fewer of her suggestions.


  1. Quite honestly, I *loved* Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. It's short and lively and so sweet.

  2. I love some of your future reads! :) And I read The Well-Educated Mind a couple of months ago, and I was less than impressed. While the histories of various types of books are very helpful, instead of providing any critical themes/questions/etc for the books she suggests reading, she just provides a plot summary. Personally, I don't want to know the ending to a book before I read it! So this disappointed me a lot...she never provided any examples of what a reading journal and dialogue between reader and author might look like.

  3. Jill - I can't wait to get to this one :)

    Eva - thanks for the analysis -- I really don't want to know the ending before beginning the book, either. From what you say, was it more a 'what to read' than a 'how to read it'?

  4. I'm currently hovering at 2.7% There's a spreadsheet that you can download from somewhere. It tells you how many books you need to read a year to complete the list.

    As for the 1% challenge that's so weird I was just looking at it yesterday. I'd love to sign up but I already have too many books on my plate.

  5. Duck Thief - I should look for the spreadsheet but I'm scared to think how many books a year I'd need to read to complete this list! Besides, there are quite a few of the recent books on the list which I have no interest in reading.

    I also feel a bit overwhelmed with the number of books I have in progress - think I need to slow down and tackle one at a time for a bit.

  6. I wonder how many I've read. I know I counted when the book first came out, but now I forget. Definitely read Miss Pettigrew--it is a fast and charming read. And Elizabeth Bowen is great, too. Hopefully I'll be joining you in the Go-Between!

  7. Wow. I keep seeing the 1% Well-Read Challenge all over the blogs.

    I've been told that I need to read Lorrie Moore too. heard she's REALLY good. But alas.

  8. Found it! I haven't read very many but I apparently only have to read 17 a year to complete the list. Yay!


  9. This is a great idea. I don't think I can really commit to the challenge but I am going to try to work my way both through this list and through some of my TBR pile as well. I have only read 51 on this list and that is just sad considering I was an English major!


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