Making good on an earlier note to be active on LibraryThing, I went to the 1001 Books to read before you die group to look for suggestions on what to read next. In the past three weeks, I read Mother Night and A Man Without a Country by Kurt Vonnegut and The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (all three highly recommended). I wanted something new, something unexpected, and getting a friendly nudge from a suggested list seemed like a good place to start.
So, I went to the Harris County Public Library on Monday and picked up two books from the list. I have no idea what either of the books are about -- it's nice to start with no expectations.
- The World According to Garp by John Irving
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
In the group on LibraryThing, I learned about a nifty spreadsheet by Arukiyomi that lists all of the 1001 books. An updated version in the group discussion list even included 1283 books, since the list was created in 2006 and revised in 2008 with additions and subtractions. (1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, the inspiration for the group, is a book by Peter Boxall.)
I made a few modifications and, with inspiration from the Google Spreadsheet version posted to the group, I created a interactive version of the spreadsheet that differentiates between the 2006 and 2008 editions of the list.
- View the spreadsheet
- Copy a version of the spreadsheet (if you have a Google account, this will copy the spreadsheet to your Google Documents)
- Download the spreadsheet as: .xls - .csv - .html - .ods - .pdf - .txt
Similar to the original by Arukiyomi, it calculates the percentage of the 1001 books that you have completed. In addition to that version, I am collecting links to the books (on LibraryThing) and the years of publication. I don't think I'll finish all 1001 books, but I am interested in reading a subset of the books that spans all of the time periods included in the list.
If you want to help me work on the spreadsheet, first I'd recommend that you join the group. Else, if you're not interested in that but want to help, email me and I'll give you edit access to the spreadsheet. It is a work-in-progress. If someone somewhere out there finds it useful, let me know -- suggestions and collaboration welcome.
As of... now, I have read only 19 (1.90%) of the books in the 2008 edition. My progress on this list can be seen here.
(Note: I've never seen the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I've only latched onto it as a way of finding books to read that I otherwise never would have found. I have no opinion of contents or omissions of the list, except that I regretfully noticed it was missing my second favorite book, Desert Solitaire, by Ed Abbey.)