1,000 Books to Read Before You Die
James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is the fifth title in the best-selling ‘Before You Die’ series.
Fourteen years in the making and fifth in the series that has over 4.4 million copies in print, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is an eclectic and extraordinary book about books, as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising and enlightening as the 1,000-plus volumes it recommends.
James Mustich has been a bookseller for decades, including 20 years running the acclaimed independent book catalogue A Common Reader, and 1,000 Books is like his personal store, where every book is excellent. Mustich’s incomparable writing – lively, informed, erudite yet with an undisguised enthusiasm – not only reveals why a particular title is vital but also gives you the urgent feeling that you need to drop everything and read that book immediately. The expected pillars are here – Dante, Proust, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Woolf, Joyce, Kafka – but all are made completely fresh in these animated essays. And in between, the unexpected titles – from Harold and the Purple Crayon to Fun Home and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to Tell Me a Riddle – are made completely essential.
The alphabetical listing by last name results in the joy of juxtaposition – Grimm next to Grisham, Clarice Lispector followed by Hugh Lofting – prompting a rich appreciation for the gorgeous mosaic that is our literary heritage, whether poetry, science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s literature or the novel. Ultimately, this book is an uncommon celebration of the best that our authors have put into words. As one of the entrants, the critic David Denby, put it, that ‘special character of solitude and rapture’ that is the act of reading.
Published by Workman
238 mm x 165 mm