1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

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1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (cover).jpg
Language English
Series The 1001 Before You Die series
Subject Best books
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Cassell Illustrated
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-1844037407
OCLC 796279966

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (ISBN 978-1844037407) is a literary reference book compiled by over one hundred literary critics worldwide and edited by Peter Boxall, Professor of English at Sussex University,[1] with an introduction by Peter Ackroyd. Each title is accompanied by a brief synopsis and critique briefly explaining why the book was chosen. Some entries have illustrations. This book is part of a series from Quintessence Editions Ltd.

The list[edit]

The list contains 1001 titles and is made up of novels, short stories, and short story collections. There is also one pamphlet (A Modest Proposal), one book of collected text (Adjunct: An Undigest), and one graphic novel (Watchmen).[2] The most featured authors on the list are J. M. Coetzee and Charles Dickens with ten titles each.[3]

The 2010 revised and updated edition of the book is less anglocentric and lists only four titles from Dickens and five from Coetzee, who has the most of any writer on the list. It also includes a collection of essays by Albert Camus, The Rebel.

There have been two major revisions of 280 odd titles, one in 2008 and one in 2014. Minor changes of fewer than 20 books were made in 2010 and 2012.[4] After both major revisions, a core group of 708 titles has remained constant.[4] Based on the existence of this 708 title core list after two major revisions have replaced close to 300 titles, it is clear that many of the titles added in the 2008 revision were replaced in 2014. In fact, the only title from the original 2006 list that was removed in the 2014 revision was Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.

The clear shift within the list over time has been the initial removal of 300 works almost entirely by English language authors who have more than one title on the original list in favor of lesser known works, often by non-English language writers. [4] The replacement of nearly all of the new works introduced in 2008 by different works in 2014 strongly suggests the existence of a "core 700" work canon and a 300 work fringe.[4]


  1. ^ "Volumes to Go Before You Die" by William Grimes, New York Times, May 23, 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
  2. ^ Boxall, Peter, ed. (2006). 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. New York, NY: Universe Publishing (Rizzoli International). p. 960. ISBN 978-0789313706. OCLC 64385200. 
  3. ^ ukaunz (2006-03-01). "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die". Listology. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  4. ^ a b c d Reviews, Bucket List Book (2011-02-06). "Differences Between the Original and Current “1,001” Lists". Bucket List Book Reviews. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]