1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge

1001 Books You Must Read Before You DieStarted in 2007

This post is taken from my old post. Will update the list here from now on.

From the book published with that title, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list was handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries (some 20+ of them). You can get the full list here.

I’m interested to (sort of) follow this list and see how far it could take me (literary-sense wise). Let’s just say it’s my personal lifetime challenge. So I’ll keep track of books in the list that I’ve read, or sometimes, which I’m planning to soonish.

Update 25/04/2010

Since the original list published in 2006, there have been updated 1001 list published in 2008 and 2010. Some books were left out and some added. The total combined list of all three is a whooping 1294 books. I’ve decided to count my total against the combined list, as I cannot make myself waive the ones that I have read from the original list and since then have been removed. Since it gets very tricky to both obtain and keep track of the lists, I’m using arukiyomi spreadsheet to help out. With a small donation you can get it too. For the sake of organization, I’ll update this page following the 2006 list and mention if the book is added in 2008 or 2010.

Update 06/12/2014
Started to consider the newest edition from 2012 (4th edition). Took the total amount of books from 1294 to 1305. Had only read 1 book from the books added in the newest addition.

Books read in 2015: (7 books)
Everything Is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
Spring Snow – Yukio Mishima (book 1 of The Sea of Fertility tetralogy)
Chess – Stefan Zweig
Silence — Shusaku Endo

Books read in 2014: (9 books)
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
The Outsider – Albert Camus
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Driver’s Seat – Muriel Spark

Books read in 2013: (8 books)
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Watchmen – Alan Moore
To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells
The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe (short story)

69 out of 1305 books (5.28%)

Read (2006 list) – 1st edition

63 out of 1001 books (6.3%)

2000s (8 books)
1) Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
19) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
24) Fingersmith — Sarah Waters
26) Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
28) Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
33) Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
42) Atonement – Ian McEwan
49) Life of Pi – Yann Martel

1900s (40 books)
77) Disgrace J. M. Coetzee
78) Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
80) Intimacy – Hanif Kureishi
90) Veronika Decides to Die – Paulo Coelho
93) Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
101) Silk — Alessandro Baricco
116) The Reader – Bernhard Schlink
117) A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry
125) The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
142) The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
147) The Secret History – Donna Tartt
190) The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro
223) Beloved – Toni Morrison
227) Watchmen – Alan Moore & David Gibbons
242) The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood
256) The Unbearable Lightness of Being — Milan Kundera
272) The Color Purple – Alice Walker
300) If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler — Italo Calvino
301) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
362) The Sea of Fertility — Yukio Mishima (Book 1: Spring Snow)
363) The Driver’s Seat — Muriel Spark
378) Portnoy’s Complaint – Philip Roth
399) One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel García Márquez
450) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie — Muriel Spark
456) To Kill A Mockingbird — Harper Lee
467) Breakfast at Tiffany’s — Truman Capote
472) Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
496) Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
521) The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
529) The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
564) Animal Farm – George Orwell
572) Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
574) The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
579) The Outsider — Albert Camus
603) Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
608) Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
686) To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
699) The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (Read this as compulsory novel for my English literature class in college. Didn’t enjoy it though.)
717) Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
770) The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton

1800s (14 books)
791) The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells
794) Dracula — Bram Stoker
796) The Island of Dr. Moreau – H.G. Wells
801) The Yellow Wallpaper — Charlotte Perkins Gilman
854) Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
868) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll
876) Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
880) The Woman in White — Wilkie Collins
902) Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
905) Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
913) A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens
916) The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe
931) Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
938) Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen

Pre-1700s (1 book)
996) The Thousand and One Nights – Anonymous (Read this when I was in primary school, in the form of many many thin books, in my mother tongue, Indonesian. I wonder if that counts? I’m not sure if I have really completed the whole series. I remember all the stories were really good that I couldn’t stop going to the library and reading.)

Read (2008 list addition) – 2nd edition

5 books

pre-1700s (1 book)
13) Monkey: Journey to the West — Wu Cheng’en (I devoured the Monkey King series since I was very little from countless medium: illustrated books, series, film adaptations, derivations, so I’m crossing this off my list)

1900s (4 books)
410) Chess — Stefan Zweig
417) Pippi Longstocking — Astrid Lindgren (read in childhood)
602) Silence — Shusaku Endo
819) Kitchen — Banana Yohimoto

Read (2010 list addition) – 3rd edition

Read (2012 list addition) – 4th edition *newest

2000s (1 book)
976) The History of Love — Nicole Krauss

Planning to read soonish (several years out of date…)

13) Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
64) After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
92) The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
110) The Unconsoled – Kazuo Ishiguro
143) The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
165) Wild Swans – Jung Chang (On my shelf)
230) An Artist of the Floating World – Kazuo Ishiguro
236) Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
274) A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
320) Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice (I reckon I should also read Anne Rice’s books a couple of times in my life)
494) The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien (I don’t know whether I will ever read this book or it will be in my to-read list forever)
610) The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (same comment with The Lord of the Rings)
744) Kokoro – Natsume Soseki (Just picked it up from this list because I’ve been lately pulled by strange force to Japanese authors)

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18 thoughts on “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die Challenge”

  1. hello!
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  2. I like your idea for this challenge. I’ll have to take a look at that list. I am reading my way thru the Modern Library’s Board’s list of the Top 100 books and am on #97. Is “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” on that list? It is one of my all-time favorite books that I have read recently.
    .-= [Socrmom78´s last blog: ] =-.

    1. No it’s not there. The 1001 Books list contains more classics I think. But I do have Jonathan Strange on my physical shelf! I’m excited to read it since you and a couple more people gave the votes of confidence :)
      The Modern Library’s list looks interesting too. Thanks for sharing. I love list!

  3. I am so glad to see you are joining this challenge! How is the spreadsheet? I have heard mixed reactions to it. I like that it has all of the books, since I only have the one book to compare it to, but don’t want to donate money and have issues.

    After the Quake is fantastic, I am a big fan of Murakami!

    1. Hi Caitie, thanks for visiting! The spreadsheet is great and arukiyomi is a great guy too, he responds well when you have question or problem. He even added the rating column for me (he didn’t include it in the master spreadsheet because the order by rating didn’t work well, but I don’t mind). And I’ve been a follower of his blog and spreadsheet for years so I didn’t mind donating :).

      I have After the Quake on my shelf, as with a couple more Murakami books. I’m gonna get to it eventually as I plan to read all his books (I’ve read 4 so far :)

  4. Hey! I love your blog – I can’t wait to follow your reviews of books. I’m also attempting to read the 1001 books..I think I’ve only read 14 so far though. I also created a blog for the purpose of tracking my progress. It’s been really fun so far. Thanks for a great blog and excellent suggestions of books, I can’t wait to read more of your reviews!

    – Michelle

    1. Michelle, thank you for visiting! I’m glad to find another like-minded reader. I think I read about the same amount of books as you from the 1001 list when I started, or even less. (Actually I just checked my old post that I read 9 books when I started in 2007!) I have made progress since then, slowly but sure. Look forward to sharing reads with you!

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