1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Cover of the first ion
EditorPeter Boxall
CountryUnited Kingdom
Series1001 Before You Die
SubjectBest books
Published2006 (Cassell Illustrated)
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pages960 (first ion)
Website1001beforeyoudie.com[dead link]

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die[1] is a literary reference book compiled by over one hundred literary critics worldwide and ed by Peter Boxall, Professor of English at Sussex University, with an introduction by Peter Ackroyd.[2][3] 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[]

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). The most featured authors on the 2006 list are J. M. Coetzee and Charles Dickens with ten titles each.[4]

The 2010 revised and updated ion 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 was a major revision of 280 odd titles in 2008. The clear shift within the list has been the removal of ~300 works almost entirely by English language authors who have more than one title on the original list in favour of lesser known works, often by non-English language writers.[5]

Minor changes of fewer than 20 books were made in 2010 and 2012.[5]



  1. ^ Dr. Peter Boxall, ed. (2006). 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Universe Publishing. ISBN 9781844-034178.
  2. ^ Grimes, William (23 May 2008). "Volumes to Go Before You Die". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  3. ^ Clark, Alex (26 February 2006). "Can you tick off Tolstoy?". The Observer. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  4. ^ ukaunz (14 February 2006). "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die". Listology. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b Parker, Miz. "Differences Between the Original and Current "1,001" Lists". Bucket List Book Reviews. Retrieved 28 March 2016.