30 April 2007

1,001 Books Online

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!

4 comments:

Arukiyomi said...

wow someone actually blogged my blog... I don't know what to say :-D :-D
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except thank you!

So, glad you liked the spreadsheet...

Lesley said...

I've seen the list online before but not in a spreadsheet format - very cool.

I don't take these kinds of lists too seriously but they're fun to refer to and see how I stack up.

I've thought about buying the 1001 book from time to time, as I've browsed through it and it has some great visuals and details on the authors and books, but I wish the US version's cover art was the same as the UK version.

CoversGirl said...

Arukiyomi: No worries!

Lesley: One of the fascinating things about running this blog has been seeing how often the covers on Amazon differ from the ones in my reading pile . . . I guess we get a lot of UK editions down here!

Dancin' Fool said...

Hey! I don't think you should feel bad about your 8.75%, I have just gone through the list and am almost embarrassed to announce my 1%, just 10 books!

I have seen a few more of them as films and won't be reading some of them as they are miserable and I hate to sob!

Anyway, I am heading for a sunny spot in the garden to remedy that and try and make it 11 books by the end of the day!

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776