If you let it, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die can leave you very depressed. There are so many books that look good, and it reminds you that the clock is ticking. You only have so long left to read until you'll no longer be able to lift a book and turn a page. While the dust jacket suggests the pleasure of reading on vacation, the illustration across from the title page is of a skeleton. Tick, tick, tick.
Could I have a casket with a perpetual audiobook player?
Flipping through the pages, looking at the author photos and illustrations of original dust jackets, I see lots of books that I have read already. Crime and Punishment, The Great Gatsby, Gulliver's Travels, 1984, Babbitt, Catcher in the Rye, The Hours, White Teeth, ... I have even read the two final books in the list, Saturday by Ian McEwan and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. So I have a head start. But maybe I'd like to reread some of those.
If I read 20 books per year (allowing plenty of time to read something else), I'd need to live to be 104, which would be alright with me. If I only worked at these 1001 book, maybe I could finish in 8 to 10 years. But I do not want to give up reading and writing about nonfiction. Why is there no nonfiction in this book? Hmmm, someone want to write 1001 Nonfiction Books to Read While You're Still Living?
At Thomas Ford, we have been rearranging our public spaces and creating more displays. At some point we will have an area for coffee and conversation. I'd like to see a prominent shelf of popular readers' advisory books in that area. 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die would go well there.
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Universe, 2006. ISBN 9780789313706