1,000 Books to Read Before You Die

A Life-Changing List


By James Mustich

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“The ultimate literary bucket list.” —The Washington Post
“If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

Celebrate the pleasure of reading and the thrill of discovering new titles in an extraordinary book that’s as compulsively readable, entertaining, surprising, and enlightening as the 1,000-plus titles it recommends.

Covering fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ranges across cultures and through time to offer an eclectic collection of works that each deserve to come with the recommendation, You have to read this. But it’s not a proscriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.

Flip it open to any page and be transfixed by a fresh take on a very favorite book. Or come across a title you always meant to read and never got around to. Or, like browsing in the best kind of bookshop, stumble on a completely unknown author and work, and feel that tingle of discovery. There are classics, of course, and unexpected treasures, too. Lists to help pick and choose, like Offbeat Escapes, or A Long Climb, but What a View. And its alphabetical arrangement by author assures that surprises await on almost every turn of the page, with Cormac McCarthy and The Road next to Robert McCloskey and Make Way for Ducklings, Alice Walker next to Izaac Walton. 

There are nuts and bolts, too—best editions to read, other books by the author, “if you like this, you’ll like that” recommendations , and an interesting endnote of adaptations where appropriate. Add it all up, and in fact there are more than six thousand titles by nearly four thousand authors mentioned—a life-changing list for a lifetime of reading.

“948 pages later, you still want more!” —THE WASHINGTON POST



A, B, C


The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

Roberto Calasso (born 1941)

Greek Revival

Like a voluptuous soundscape emanating from the primordial deep, classical mythology haunts our imagination with mysterious chords, urgent harmonies, and frightening dissonances. The Greeks, Roberto Calasso might say, knew this music intimately, hearing its strains whenever risk or enthusiasm entered their lives: It meant that the gods were near. Throughout their existence, and especially at moments of passion or peril, the heroic ancients felt themselves "being sustained and imbued by something remote and whole."

Part storybook, part research into the wellsprings of our being, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony is a tour de force of invention and erudition. Not a novel, exactly, nor simply a collection of venerable tales retold, and certainly not a critical examination of our mythological legacy, it is rather an expert unraveling of the knots of story that bind human imagination to the divinities that shape its ends. With playful, eloquent, aphoristic variations on the mythic themes of Europa and the bull, the birth of Athens, Theseus and Ariadne, the Trojan War, and more, the author conjures Zeus and his cohorts in their vital, violent, and often erotic transformations. As we wander spellbound through Calasso's internationally bestselling symphony of storytelling and meditation, his narration illuminates the tragedy and mystery of our existence, enchanting us all the while.

19th-century engraving of Ajax fighting the Trojans

What: Mythology. Literature. When: First Italian publication, 1988. English translation by Tim Parks, 1993. Reading Note: Although some familiarity with Greek mythology is helpful, adventurous readers will be able to follow Calasso's threads without it. Also By: The Ruin of Kasch (1983). Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India (1996). Tiepolo Pink (2006). Further Reading: Metamorphoses by Ovid. Try: The Holy Embrace by Mario Brelich. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin.

Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino (1923–1985)

A Modern Book of Wonders

As light as a cloud and just as beautiful, Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities floats across the mind's sky and seduces our vision. Purporting to be a record of conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, in which the inveterate traveler describes the many extraordinary cities he has encountered in his wanderings, it is in fact a fiction of poetic and philosophical charm that unfolds in brief descriptions of fifty-five fantastic places, from Anastasia, "a city with concentric canals watering it and kites flying over it," to Zenobia, which, "though set on dry terrain . . . stands on high pilings, and the houses are of bamboo and zinc, with many platforms and balconies placed on stilts at various heights." In the colloquies that interrupt Marco Polo's catalog of urban curiosities, the Great Khan questions his interlocutor's purpose and veracity, but he cannot stop listening to the beguiling itinerary that leads him to cities named Diomira, Dorothea, Despina, Euphemia, Eutropia, and Eusapia, each with its own peculiar defining characteristic. "Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears," the Venetian voyager explains, "even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else."

Calvino's cities, in other words, are emblems of the imagination—of memory, longing, expression, speculation, fancy. Each small scene the author draws invites us into a confluence of insight, enchantment, and intuition—a warren of streets we amble down, lost in thought but alert to marvels. To read Invisible Cities is to discover an unsuspected mythology whose truths are inexplicably recognizable; it is unlike nearly every other book you will ever open. A true master of the fabulous, Calvino succeeds by making his readers feel they are as imaginative as he is.

What: Novel. When: In Italian, 1972; the English translation by William Weaver appeared in 1974. Also By: The Path to Spiders' Nests (1947). T Zero (1967). Cosmicomics (1968). The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973). If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979). Six Memos for the Next Millennium (1988). Further Reading: The Travels of Marco Polo. Try: The Tartar Steppe and Restless Nights by Dino Buzzati. Adaptations: It is a mark of its singularity that, although it is impossible to imagine a film version of Calvino's book, Invisible Cities has inspired a hotel in Spain, computer programs, illustrations and installations by artists and architects, and music for rock bands, jazz combos, and string quartets.


Ferdinando Camon (born 1935)

Requiem for a Mother and a Way of Life

Only 120 pages long, Memorial is a small book about a small life. Yet the reader who opens it will discover a story that is unforgettably moving in its sympathy, dignity, and desire to articulate the deepest human needs.

Written by one of the most notable of Italy's post–World War II writers, this enchanted autobiographical novel is steeped in the peasant culture of Camon's native Veneto, an ageless and all-but-vanished way of life the author has left behind for the city and the twentieth century. Relating the death of his mother and the building of an altar to her memory by his father, it mixes memory and meditation to evoke his people's spare, brutal, and profound intimacy with the earth and its animals, with mortality and generation.

"She knew nothing outside her house and those places where she worked," writes the narrator of his subject, "but those places she knew by heart." As he describes that house and her labors to nourish her family's life within it, Camon constructs an altar of words that, like his father's altar of copper and wood, bears witness to how much such a heart can hold.

What: Novel. Memoir. When: 1978; first American edition, translated by David Calicchio, 1983. Also By: The Fifth Estate (1970) and Life Everlasting (1972) are the first two volumes in Camon's Saga of Those Who Are Last (American editions, 1987). Although Memorial completes the trilogy, it is the best place to begin.

"A short novel of exceptional beauty set in an Italian peasant village—a sublime work of art."—Raymond Carver on Memorial

The Masks of God

Primitive Mythology Oriental Mythology Occidental Mythology Creative Mythology

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987)

From Here to Eternity, and Back Again

The sense that the world has a purpose more profound than its mere existence, and that we ourselves have a significance separate from our day-to-day experience, is the source of all myth. The mythic dimension is intuitive, inexact, yet vibrant: In its embrace we confront the things we know but can't explain, and tell stories about them. Joseph Campbell's great insight is that the seeds from which these stories grow share an imaginative DNA across time, space, and cultures, and that, accordingly, the various flowerings of myth are infused with universal themes. Drawing on researches in archaeology, anthropology, and psychology, and, not least, the author's inexhaustible enthusiasm, The Masks of God series celebrates the power of myth as a central mode of apprehension, surveying human testimony from the prehistoric and communal formulations of hunting tribes through the individual creations of modern artists.

Each of the four books that constitute The Masks of God is a fertile field of rumination, irrigated with an endless stream of mythological invention. Primitive Mythology examines the centrality of the human life cycle to the shape and substance of our earliest attempts at meaning making. Oriental Mythology delves into the rich traditions of Egypt, India, China, and Japan, and Occidental Mythology surveys the worship and literature of the West as they were fashioned under the influences of Zeus and the Olympians, Moses and Abraham, Jesus and Mohammed. The final book in the quartet, Creative Mythology, considers the artistic and aesthetic evolution of the mythic impulse from the early Middle Ages (Dante) to early Modernism (James Joyce and T. S. Eliot).

An inspiring guide to the landscape of insights that myths embody, Campbell leads us by the hand down its roads past creation, birth, love, and death, and toward eternity. He opens our ears to voices that call across cultures and centuries, singing life's secrets and surprises. The Masks of God is a comprehensive survey of his life's work, a stimulating treasury of learning, wisdom, and wonder.

Joseph Campbell

What: Mythology. Anthropology. When: Four volumes: Primitive Mythology (1959); Oriental Mythology (1962); Occidental Mythology (1964); Creative Mythology (1968). Also By: The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949). The Mythic Image (with M. J. Abadie; 1974). The Power of Myth (with Bill Moyers; 1988). Further Reading: A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living, edited by Diane K. Osbon. Try: The Golden Bough by James George Frazer. The Myth of the Eternal Return by Mircea Eliade. Footnote: Late in life, having retired after decades of teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Campbell became something of a celebrity, partly as a result of the inspiration his work supplied to George Lucas's Star Wars saga, and partly because of the popularity of the 1988 public television series The Power of Myth, which he made with Bill Moyers.



Albert Camus, 1946

Through World War II and its aftermath, Albert Camus grew in stature as a representative of moral probity, literary achievement, and, if truth be told, intellectual glamour; in photographs, trench-coated and with ever-present cigarette, he seems to be the Parisian existentialist from central casting. But he wasn't really, strictly speaking, a philosopher, despite the aphoristic acumen—and international resonance—of his reflections on the human predicament. He was a lyrical rather than an analytical thinker, which would eventually lead to his belittlement by Jean-Paul Sartre and similarly severe savants of the time. For his part, Camus came to dub Sartre and his ilk the "professional humanists" of the "specialized cafés" of Paris; at their tables the author of The Stranger—born in Algeria to an impoverished family—would always be something of an outsider.

Yet what more academic sages saw as Camus's weakness —his lack of ruthless analytical rigor—was actually his great strength as a writer. His vision—one might better call it intuition—is rooted in the perception that lives validate many truths that are different in kind and substance, not only unequal in weight, measure, and proportion, but contradictory at their core. In other words, he understood that life is messier than philosophy can allow, and that the compromises such messiness engenders demand that we treat others with tolerance, holding ourselves responsible for our own conduct even if—especially if—the full context of our actions is never entirely clear. It's a brave but uneasy position, and it gives his work a bracing provisionality and a sensory awareness that honor the exigencies—and the happy accidents—of our experience.

The Plague

A Parable of Terror and Resistance

It starts with one rodent, dead on the landing outside of Dr. Rieux's surgery: "something soft under his foot" that he kicks away without a second thought. But soon there are thousands of dead rats turning up in the streets of Oran, a port town in Algeria. The concierge in the doctor's building succumbs to a strange fever, then others in increasing numbers fall victim to the same fate, until contagion—and fear—have the entire city in their grip.

Welcome to the epidemic city: a place where rumors run wild, government can't coordinate relief, religious authorities rave ineffectually, and no one knows what today, much less tomorrow, holds in store. At first the citizens of Oran panic and revolt, but before long, as if numbed by the summer sun, their alarm gives way to despondency and resignation. Bodies are piled high in the streets, neighborhoods stink of pestilential flesh, homes are burned, and citizens wander in a hopeless daze. Yet somehow life goes on; in one astounding scene, Camus describes a performance of Orpheus and Eurydice at the local opera house, where the tenor collapses from the plague mid-aria.

The Plague has the intensity of a medical thriller, but it's more than that. As Camus intimated in his first and most famous novel, The Stranger (1942), and as he elucidated in philosophical works such as The Myth of Sisyphus (1942) and The Rebel (1951), he saw humankind as alone in an absurd, pointless universe. Quarantined Oran, in his novelist's hands, becomes a microcosm for society as a whole. Although the tale was written during the Nazi occupation of France, the infection it portrays is not just an allegorical stand-in for political oppression. What matters most to Camus is not the violence and lethality of the plague, but its random, meaningless force. As an old, asthmatic patient that Rieux treats frequently puts it, "But what does that mean—'plague'? Just life, no more than that." And yet, through his matter-of-fact narration of this book's horrifying events and their aftermath, the author manages to convey the lesson, as hopeful as it is simple, that he believes we are taught, not only by pestilence, but by existence itself, "that there are more things to admire in men than to despise."

Seven-year-old Albert Camus (at center, in black) in his uncle's workshop in Algiers, 1920

What: Novel. When: 1947. First English translation by Stuart Gilbert, 1948. Also By: Fiction: The Fall (1956); Exile and the Kingdom (1957). Further Reading: The Burden of Responsibility by Tony Judt. Try: Blindness by José Saramago. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

The First Man

Last Words of a 20th-Century Hero

Camus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1957, when he was not yet forty-four; three years later, he was killed in an automobile accident. The First Man is the autobiographical novel in progress whose handwritten manuscript was discovered in the wreckage of the fatal crash; it would remain unpublished for thirty-five years after his death. It seems strangely fitting that this uncompleted project now stands as the most moving legacy of a man who devoted much of his creative energy to seeking meaning in the shadow of modernity's nihilism.

"Being pure," Camus wrote in one of his essays, "is recovering that spiritual home where one can feel the world's relationship, where one's pulse-beats coincide with the violent throbbing of the two o'clock sun." In the luminous pages of The First Man, the reader embarks with the protagonist on a quest for such purity, a journey through the landscape of memory, "back to the childhood from which he has never recovered," far from the sophisticated world in which he lived as a celebrated writer. The radiant episodes that reflect Camus's impoverished youth in Algeria—growing up fatherless with his illiterate, near-deaf mother and an extended family for whom words were blunt and awkward objects—are filled with a sensual affection and an immediacy of feeling that bears witness to the lessons that life, and love, can teach.

As a novel, The First Man stands unfinished, its ambitions apparent, abundant, rewarding, evocative yet unfulfilled. As a testament to the deep wells of emotion that haunted its author's memory, from first man to last, it is, by any measure, an extraordinary monument.

What: Novel. When: Published posthumously in French in 1994, and in English, translated by David Hapgood, in 1995. Also By: In addition to titles listed above, the essays collected in Resistance, Rebellion, and Death (1957) and Lyrical and Critical Essays (1968), as well as the two-volume Notebooks, 1935–1951 (1962 and 1964) are worth seeking out. Further Reading: Albert Camus: A Life by Olivier Todd. Camus: A Romance by Elizabeth Hawes. Try: Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez.

Slightly Out of Focus

Robert Capa (1913–1954)

A Peerless Photojournalist's Memoir of World War II

Capa was born in Budapest, Hungary. His real name was Endre Friedmann. The story of how he created the figure of "Robert Capa," a glamorous American photographer, to market his early work in 1930s Paris could be the seed of a perfect Eric Ambler thriller. He spent the rest of his life living up to his invention.

By the time he was twenty-five, Capa was already being called "the greatest war photographer in the world." A few years later, his reputation as the most daring combat photojournalist alive was enhanced by the remarkable pictures he took during the June 6, 1944, D-Day landings, when he waded ashore, under blistering fire, with American troops at Omaha Beach in Normandy. ("I am a gambler," Capa acknowledged. "I decided to go in with Company E in the first wave.") He died ten years later, not yet forty-one, when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine while covering the First Indochina War (1946–54). In all, he documented five conflicts, including, in addition to the two already mentioned, the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–45), and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

Slightly Out of Focus is Capa's personal take on World War II in Europe between 1942 and 1945. It is characterized from the outset by his congenial tone—"There was absolutely no reason to get up in the mornings any more," he begins, detailing a lazy morning in his New York studio—and his storytelling flair. In fleet and vivid prose, complemented by his arresting photographs, Capa recounts his intimate experience of fateful, fearsome events from London to Algiers, Sicily to Normandy. Describing battlefield experiences and reminiscing about people he met in the shadow of war, Capa's voice—compassionate, moving, and often very funny—proves as expressive as his camera.

His memoir takes its title from the wrongheaded phrase that Life magazine used to caption those amazing D-Day pictures: They were "slightly out of focus," Life claimed, because Capa's hands were shaking. But the truth was, as the author explains, "the excited darkroom assistant, while drying the negatives, had turned on too much heat and the emulsions had melted and run down before the eyes of the London office. Out of one hundred and six pictures in all, only eight were salvaged." All of them, plus dozens of other examples of Capa's contemporaneous work, are reproduced in recent editions of Slightly Out of Focus.

Robert Capa photo of D-Day landings on Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944

What: Memoir. War. Photography. When: 1947. Edition: The 2001 Modern Library paperback reissue contains more than 100 of Capa's black-and-white images. Also By: A Russian Journal (text by John Steinbeck; 1948). Report on Israel (text by Irwin Shaw; 1950). Images of War (1964). Robert Capa: Photographs (edited by Richard Whelan and Cornell Capa; 1985). Further Reading: D-Day June 6, 1944 by Stephen E. Ambrose. Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa by Alex Kershaw. Try: Brave Men by Ernie Pyle. Up Front by Bill Mauldin.

In Cold Blood

Truman Capote (1924–1984)

The True Crime Classic

Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans—in fact, few Kansans—had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.

So writes Truman Capote near the beginning of this "true account of a multiple murder and its consequences," after a quick but evocative sketch of the village in western Kansas—home to some 270 people—that would soon find its unexceptional, lonely quietude violently disturbed.

Among Holcomb's inhabitants lived Herbert William Clutter, along with his wife, sixteen-year-old daughter, and fifteen-year-old son. A college graduate and a successful farmer, Clutter was a prominent citizen, involved in agricultural affairs at both the state and the federal level. When he and his family were bound, gagged, and murdered on the night of November 15, 1959, there was little evidence of who'd done it, or why. The story of their gruesome end made the New York Times, where it was read by literary light Truman Capote, who determined almost immediately—even before the eventual suspects were arrested—that he would go to Kansas and write the story of the crime.

Capote traveled to Holcomb with his childhood friend Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird). The two conducted extensive interviews and recorded a wealth of notes, after which Capote devoted several years to work on the book. During that time, Capote closely monitored the case as arrests were made and a trial conducted. Ultimately, the killers—Perry Smith and Dick Hickock—were hanged, freeing Capote to tell the tale as he wanted: in the form and style of a novel, complete with complex character study and scene-setting, moral tangles and ambiguities, suspense, and, not least, an empathetic, if unobtrusive, authorial intelligence. In this groundbreaking work of creative nonfiction, Capote reconstructs the homicides and their aftermath with stunning attention and a paradoxically expressive reticence; from the perpetrators' first knowledge of the well-to-do farmer, gleaned from a former jail mate, to the discovery of the murder scene and the subsequent investigation, capture, trial, and punishment, In Cold Blood is one of the most powerful true-crime dramas ever penned. It remains the gold standard of the genre it transfigured, and transcends.

Truman Capote in Holcomb, Kansas, 1966

What: True Crime. When: Serialized in The New Yorker, 1965; published in book form, 1966. Also By: Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). The Muses Are Heard (1956). Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958). The Dogs Bark (1973). Music for Chameleons (1983). Answered Prayers (1987). The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (2004). Further Reading: Capote by Gerald Clarke. Try: The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi. Adaptations: The 1967 movie stars Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, and John Forsythe. The 1996 TV remake stars Eric Roberts, Anthony Edwards, and Sam Neill. The 2005 biopic Capote, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won an Academy Award in the title role, depicts the author's time in Kansas researching In Cold Blood.

Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card (born 1951)

Unputdownable Science Fiction

The Wiggin children are unusual, even for the unusual world in which Ender's Game unfolds. There's the oldest, Peter, a power-mad sociopath; Valentine, the sister who turns her eloquence to Peter's service; and then there's Ender, their little brother, who is singled out by the authorities as the military genius who just might prove to be Earth's savior in its epic conflict with an alien enemy. Set at some indeterminate time in the planet's future, when humanity has been at war with the Formics, an insect-like alien race (familiarly dubbed "buggers") for a hundred years, Ender's Game might appear at first blush to be the most formulaic of science fiction novels.

But just try to put it down. Tracing Ender's path to Battle School—a space center in which the best and the brightest children are trained for high-tech war—and, ultimately, to Command School, on the edge of the interstellar front lines, Orson Scott Card's novel is riveting. While Peter and Valentine's machinations throw Earth-bound politics into crisis, Ender's fierce initiation reveals his unparalleled gifts for warfare. As the stakes mount, the simulated battles he dominates are transformed from complex and dangerous games into sinister—and spectacular—realities. Be you teen or adult, the plot will raise all sorts of questions in your mind about militarism, violence, xenophobia, and the grooming of young minds, but not until you've stopped racing to find out what happens next.

What: Science Fiction. When: 1986; revised by the author 1991. Awards: Nebula Award, 1995. Hugo Award, 1996. Also By: Sequels and related books include Speaker for the Dead (1986); Xenocide (1991); Ender's Shadow (1999); A War of Gifts (2007); Ender in Exile (2008). Try: The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Adaptation: A superb unabridged audiobook is read by Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, and others.


  • “If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

    ★"Mustich's informed appraisals will drive readers to the books they've yet to read, and stimulate discussion of those they have." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

    ★"A treasure chest for book lovers everywhere" —Library Journal, Starred Review  

    ★"Every so often, a reference book appears that changes the landscape of its area of focus. In the case of reading and readers' advisory, this is one such book....lively, witty, insightful prose...It might be wise to invest in several copies of this wonderful meditation on life lived with and enhanced by the written word."
    Booklist, Starred Review  

    "All in all, the literate public—what novelist Robertson Davies dubbed the clerisy—can only be grateful for, and awed by, this product of 14 years of reading and research…It’s hard to imagine that such a massive compendium could have been done better."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

    "Absolutely impressive…. This book is not just a source of information; it's a wellspring of wisdom, intelligence, empathy and generosity."—Ingrid Rossellini, author of Know Thyself: Western Identity from Classical Greece to the Renaissance

    "As the owner of a 90-year-old bookselling institution, I am not easily fazed by 1,000 books, but Mustich’s literary bucket list stopped me in my tracks. His expansive scope is coupled with a delightful wit and a perfect eye for the surprise detail. Never again will you have to wonder what to read next. A book you’ll cherish for a lifetime!"
    —Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor, Strand Book Store

    "Chief among the thousands of pleasures here is the delightfully erudite company of James Mustich. Look up your favorite books; find ones you don’t know; argue about the list with friends. Read!"
    —Jean Strouse, author, Alice James and Morgan: American Financier

    "James Mustich’s book is aimed at a society engulfed in words but desperately poor in the talents that reading can bring—judgment, taste, empathy, wit. The book is not a list of canonical works, though many classics are listed and lovingly described. No, the “1000 Books to Read” is an invocation of the pleasures to be had from many kinds of books—genre fiction, journalism, poetry, history, and memoir, the good and the great, the illustrious and the semi-forgotten, all summoned by Mustich’s taste. You open it at any point and jump from author to author; you follow his hints and read related works by other writers, and you find your own taste emerging, proud and strong, from Mustich’s provocations. 1,000 Books is surpassingly useful as well as good."
    —David Denby, staff writer at The New  Yorker and author of Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World

    "If you’ve ever doubted that books were the greatest invention of all time, and that they carry within them our collective memories and dreams, as well as any semblance of intelligence we have as a species, pick up James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and start reading."
    —Ken Burns

    "If I were as erudite, entertaining, insightful, and articulate as James Mustich, I could come up with 1,000 reasons to get his book. But here's one: Whether you're looking for something to read for personal edification or fun, for escapism or relevance, you can survey the literary world with Mustich as an experienced, enthusiastic guide. His work is an essential resource for anyone anywhere plagued by that infernal question: What do I read next?"
    —Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore

On Sale
Oct 2, 2018
Page Count
960 pages

James Mustich

About the Author

James Mustich began his career in bookselling at an independent book store in Briarcliff Manor, New York, in the early 1980s. In 1986, he co-founded the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader, and was for two decades its guiding force. He subsequently has worked as an editorial and product development executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his wife, Margot, in Connecticut.

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