The Before I Die Challenge

1001 books to read before you die challenge

Originally set up in 2014. I'm continuing this challenge, adding books from the 1001 list as and when read...

Some further info on the Challenge ahead blog post. This year I'm proposing to read some more of the recommended 1001 books to read before you die out of the list at I've already read around 158 books (I say around as for some I have only read a volume or two from a larger set). I may have read more, discovered when writing this that I had read and blogged about one classic, and had no recollection of reading it whatsoever!

I'm not suggesting that this is the perfect list of books - some I agree with, I think there are some omissions, and some I've read or started to read and disliked.

I do, however, think that there are lots of books on the list that I have never read and have been meaning to for ages, so I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into them. I'm also hoping this year to have a look at the companion volume - 1001 children's books. Of this list (some of which I don't think should have been included as children's books, and some are included on both lists) I've read around 120, and, like the "adult" version, spotted loads of lovely books that I've been meaning to read for ages.

So watch this space......

Since writing the above, the original link has disappeared. There is a new site at This is an expanded site bringing together all the incarnations of 1001 books, bringing my total up to ca. 217 books (out of 1306). 

So far I've read : 
About 1/2 of the 1001 Nights, A farewell to arms / Hemingway, A pale view of hills / Ishiguro, A room with a view / Forster, Testament of youth / Britten, A town like Alice / Shute, Alias Grace / Atwood, Alice's adventures in Wonderland AND Through the looking glass / Carrol, An artist of the floating world / Ishiguro, Animal Farm / Orwell, Anna Karenina / Tolstoy, Atonement / McEwen, Austerlitz / Sebald.

Billy Liar / Waterhouse, Birdsong / Faulks, Bonjour tristesse / Sagan, Brave new world / Huxley, Breakfast at Tiffany's / Capote, Brideshead revisited / Waugh, Brighton Rock / Greene.

Call of the wild / London, Captain Corelli's Mandolin / Berniers, Catch-22 / Heller, Cause for alarm / AmblerChrist stopped at Eboli / Levi, Cider with Rosie / Lee, Claudine's house AKA Claudine at school / Colette, Cold comfort farm / Gibbons, Crime and punishment / Dostoevsky, Cry the beloved country / Paton.
David Copperfield / Dickens, Day of the triffids / Wyndham, Diary of a nobody / Grossmith, Dirk Gently's holistic detective agency / Adams, Disgrace / Coetzee, Dr. Zhivago / Pasternak, Dracula / Stoker.
Emma / Austen, Far from the madding crowd / Hardy, Frankenstein / Shelley, Go tell it on the mountain / Baldwin, Gone with the wind / Mitchell, Goodbye to Berlin / Isherwood, Great expectations / Dickens, Half of a yellow sun / Adichie, Heart of darkness / Conrad, Hideous Kinky / Freud, Hitchhikers' guide to the galaxy / Adams, Hound of the Baskervilles / Conan Doyle.

If not now, when AND If this is a man / Levi, If on a winter's night a traveller / Calvino, In a glass darkly / LeFanu, In cold blood / Capote, Jane Eyre / Bronte, Keep the aspidistra flying / Orwell, Kim / Kipling, King Solomon's Mines / Haggard, Bete humaine / Zola, Lady Chatterley's lover / Lawrence, Like water for chocolate / Esquivel, Little women / Alcott, Lord of the flies / Golding, Love in a cold climate / Nancy Mitford, Lucky Jim / Amis.

Madame Bovary / Flaubert, Mansfield Park / Austen, Fanny Hill / Cleland, Miss Smilla's feeling for snow / Hoeg, Moby Dick / Melville, Moll Flanders / Defoe, Murder must advertise AND The nine tailors / Sayers, Nights at the circus / Carter, Of human bondage / Maugham, Oliver Twist / Dickens, On the black hill / Chatwin, On the road / Kerouac, One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich / Solzhenitsyn, Oscar and Lucinda / Carey, Out of Africa / Blixen.

Perfume / Susskind, Poisonwood bible / Kingsolver, Pride and Prejudice / Austen, Quartet in Autumn / Pym, Rebecca / Du Maurier, Regeneration / Barker, Remains of the day / Ishiguro.

Schindler's Ark / Keneally, Sense and Sensibility / Austen, Silence / Endo, Suite Francaise / Nemerovsky, Tender is the night / Fitzgerald, Thank you Jeeves / Wodehouse, 39 steps / Buchan, Age of innocence / Wharton, Big sleep / Chandler, Black dahlia / Ellroy, Cancer ward / Solzhenitsyn, Charterhouse of Parma / Stendhal, The children's book / Byatt, The cider house rules / Irving, The color purple / Walker, Devils AKA The possessed / Dostoevsky, The Dumas club / Reverte, Empire of the sun / Ballard, End of the affair / Greene, The English patient / Ondaatjee, Fall of the House of Usher AND The pit and the pendulum / Poe, Feast of the goat / Vargas Llosa, The French Lieutenant's woman / Fowles, The go-between / Hartley, The godfather / Puzo.

The great Gatsby / Fitzgerald, The handmaid's tale / Atwood, The heat of the day / Bowen, The hobbit AND the first volume of Lord of the Rings - The fellowship of the ring / Tolkien, The hours / Cunningham, The house of the seven gables / Hawthorne, The leopard / Lampedusa, The life of Pi / Martel, The Master and Margarita / Bulgakov, The Midwich cuckoos / Wyndham, Mill on the Floss / Eliot, The moonstone AND The woman in white / Collins, Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Christie.

The name of the rose / Eco, The once and future King / White, The plague / Camus, Portrait of a lady / Henry James, The prime of Miss Jean Brodie / Spark, The reader / Schlink, Riddle of the sands / Childers, The scarlet letter / Hawthorne, The sea, the sea / Murdoch, The shining / King, The shipping news / Proulx, The siege of Krishnapur AND The Singapore grip / Farrell, The spy who came in from the cold / Le Carre, The sun also rises / Hemingway, The swimming pool library / Hollinghurst, Talented Mr. Ripley / Highsmith, 3 musketeers / Dumas Pere, The well of loneliness / Hall, The white tiger / Adiga, Things fall apart / Acheba, To kill a mocking bird / Lee, Tom Jones / Fielding, Treasure Island / Stevenson.

Uncle Tom's cabin / Stowe, Waiting for the barbarians / Coetzee, Waterland / Swift, Wide Sargasso Sea / Rhys, Wuthering Heights / Bronte, The plot against America / Philip Roth, The line of beauty / Alan Hollinghurst, Never let me go / Kazuo Ishiguro, The red queen / Margaret Drabble, The colour / Rose Tremain.

And additions over the years as part of the challenge....
Cloud Atlas / David Mitchell
Cheese / Willem Elschott
The Radetzky March / Joseph Roth
The Power and the Glory / Graham Greene
Black box / Amoz Oz
The summer book / Tove Jansson
Smiley's people / John Le Carre
Tess of the D'Urbervilles / Thomas Hardy
A question of upbringing (part of the A dance to the music of time sequence) / Anthony Powell
The last chronicle of Barset / Anthony Trollope
Les Miserables / Victor Hugo
The thin man / Dashiell Hammett
Vanity Fair / William Makepeace Thackeray
Miss Pettigrew lives for a day / Winifred Watson
A hero of our times / Mikhail Lermontov
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time / Mark Haddon
Everything is illuminated / Jonathan Safran Foer
A home at the end of the world / Michael Cunningham
Possession / A.S. Byatt
Long dark tea-time of the soul / Douglas Adams
Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy / John Le Carre
Chocky / John Wyndham
The Drowned World / J.G. Ballard
Farewell my lovely / Raymond Chandler
The heart of the matter / Graham Greene
The brothers Karamazov / Dostoevesky
Nana / Emile Zola
Around the world in eighty days / Jules Verne
La reine Margot / Alexandre Dumas
Roxana / Daniel Defoe
Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance / Robert M. Pirsig
Don Quixote / Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
The Count of Monte Cristo / Alexandre Dumas
The unbearable lightness of being / Milan Kundera



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