How great is this? You’ve heard of 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die; well, here’s the online version. You can download the 1,001 Books Spreadsheet, which packs them all neatly into an Excel file in reverse chronological order. And it’s got some technological wizardry added in so that, if you follow the instructions, it’ll tell you how many you’ve read, what percentage of the total that is, and how many per year you’ll need to read to finish them if you live to exactly the average life expectancy for a Westerner of your gender.
Like every other list of books I’ve come across, it served to make me realise that I’m really not that well-read. My total to date? Just 88 (I thought it was 82, but a second look at the list turned up half a dozen I’d missed). That’s 8.75%. And a lot of them I’ve never heard of, or heard of only because of the earlier 100 Books meme. I was encouraged, however, to lose count of the number of books listed that are currently in my TBR box or library pile. I rechecked the list tonight and came up with a total of 19 waiting to be read this year - more than my yearly average of 16. That average, of course, assumes that I intend to read all 1,001; and since Vonnegut, Woolf, and Dickens (just to name a few) have seldom if ever agreed with me I most likely won’t.
But it’s provided a lot of interesting ideas for further reading (as if my Wanted list wasn’t long enough already!) and reminded me that I really must start looking for some of those Margaret Atwoods I haven’t read. I might look for the book, too, to read what was said about the selections - and to see how Peter Boxall justified including three of Edgar Allen Poe’s and one of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories in a list of books!