Too Many Books

Like many people I keep a list of books that I hope to read in the near future. Whenever I come across a book
that looks interesting the title gets added to my ever growing list. After thumbing through Peter
Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die my list has grown tremendously.
I can only hope I live a very long time.
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die is great fun to browse. Arranged chronologically, one can trace the history and development of storytelling and the novel. Each of the 1001 books is described by a short yet insightful essay. The book is loaded with illustrations, photographs, and author quotations.

All the expected classics are included (Dickens, Austen, Twain), but the real fun is discovering offbeat titles and neglected classics. I also enjoyed seeing which titles published in the last 50 years made the list. I was delighted to see some of my recent favorites: Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. But why was T.C. Boyle’s Drop City included, but not his Tortilla Curtain (a much better book in my humble opinion).

If you like the format of 1001 Books, you might check out others in the series: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die, and the intriguingly titled 1001 Foods You Must Eat Before You Diet.

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