Hi all !   Today I’m going to be talking about the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. I actually did a really similar post to this here about the 100 books to read before you die but I wanted to expand it out to this list.

This 1001 Books List is by Peter Boxall and supposedly contains the 1001 Best Books that you need to read before you die to be a ~well rounded human~. I think the idea you can read 1001 books and instantly be the peak of culture, and also the idea that there IS 1001 Books that can be objectively chosen as *the best* is actually batshit. I go into that a bit more in the original 100 Books post.

That said, I like lists and ticking boxes, and many of these books were either on my TBR, or I added them after seeing reviews and getting genuinely interested. Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to read from the list when I’m feeling like it, and do mini-reviews for every 5 or so books. I can talk about the book itself, but also be critical about how or why it ended up on the list, and whether it really deserves the placement.

But in order to do that, I first want to start off by saying which of the books I have read. I keep a spreadsheet of the list and went through and ticked off what I’d read already. I’ve read 34 of these 1001 books – which isn’t actually terrible!

This is, overall, gonna be a lowkey project but I thought it’d be fun to share anyway and then people will know what I’m on about when I start doing mini-reviews.


so which ones have I read?

From the 2000s

 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: I love this book. Genuinely creepy and sad speculative fiction that draws a lot in things already happening in the world and is full of characters you’re supposed to kinda love-hate.

 Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: I don’t personally love this book but I can see why it’s on the list. It helped bring lesbian lit to the forefront.

 Li of Pi of Yann Martel: lowkey the movie is better than the book




From the 1900s

 The Secret History by Donna Tartt: Another book I love. This popularised the campus novel so I can see why it’s on the list.

 The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood: I don’t think I liked this book as much as the general populus but it’s another one thats so popular I can see why it’s on the list.

 Sula by Toni Morrison: I LOVE THIS BOOOOK. It’s so beautifully written and I really need to read more by Toni Morrison

 I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is like ~the classic~ so I get why it’s on the list even though it’s not my favourite.

 Voss by Patrick White: This is an Australian classic but I was surprised it made it to the list

 On The Road by Jack Kerouac

 Lord of the Flies by William Golding

 Animal Farm by Jack Kerouac

 The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkein

 Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

 Passing by Nella Larsen: This is a Harlem-renaissance classic and I really enjoyed it. It also has a lot of lesbian subtext, we love that!

 To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

 The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald: This is one of my favourite classics and also another one of ~the classics~ so not surprised it’s on here.

 Ulysses by James Joyce: Another one of ~the classics~

 Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: I HATE THIS BOOK

 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle



From the 1800s

 The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: one of my favourites. I love this book and need to read more of Wilde’s stuff

➼ Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

➼ Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

➼ Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

➼ The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

➼ A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

➼ Hard Times by Charles Dickens

➼ Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

➼ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

➼ Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: I genuinely love Frankenstein and it’s a TRUE classic. I can see why it’s on the list.

➼ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I finally read P&P this year and I loved it so much! This is another Ultimate Classic


From the 1700s

 A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift



Pre 1700s

 The Thousand and One Nights by Anonymous



Those are all the books on the list I’ve read. I’ll update this when I’ve read books 35-40, with a mini-review for each book kind of thing. Though I have no clue what the next five books from this list will be!

until next time

sign off


  1. You’ve certainly read more than me 😂 I’m so bad at reading older books and classics! I tend to gravitate to my auto-buy authors and my fav genres. P&P is one of my all-time favs though ❤️ Jen


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