1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich It’s time to talk books—and the conversation starts here. Encompassing fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die moves across cultures and through time to present an eclectic collection of titles, each described with the special enthusiasm readers summon when recommending a book to a friend. The expected pillars are here, including Jane Austen and Toni Morrison, Virgil, Dante, Dickens and Tolstoy, Franz Kafka and Simone de Beauvoir—their works made fresh through the author’s animated essays. Established classics are joined by new and unexpected choices like Citizen and Friday Night Lights. A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Pillow Bookof Sei Shōnagon, The Day of the Jackal and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. The result is a treasury of essential reading for expansive tastes. The book’s alphabetical listing by last name results in the serendipity of juxtaposition—Cormac McCarthy’s The Road next to Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings, John le Carré next to Ursula K. Le Guin next to Harper Lee. Following each entry are rich endnotes that include publication dates and preferred editions, other books by the same author, related books to try, and listings of worthy adaptations, including movies and audiobooks. In total, more than six thousand titles by thirty-five hundred authors are recommended. A Miscellany of Special Lists at the end of the book offers the reader surprising entry points into the collection, such as “Books to Read in a Sitting,” including The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg and The Third Man by Graham Greene, and “Offbeat Escapes,” including Freya Stark’s The Valleys of the Assassins and Felice Benuzzi’s No Picnic on Mount Kenya. For the truly dedicated reader, “A Long Climb, but What a View”—a perfect way to describe those mountainous texts we long to scale, such as Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and Shelby Foote’s The Civil War. An insightfully curated personal compendium that will inspire hours of browsing and a lifetime of reading, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die celebrates the gorgeous mosaic that is our literary heritage.
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