Monday, January 19, 2009

List-o-Phile Monday

Last week, we finished the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list…2006 edition. In 2008, there was a new edition released. 282 books were removed from the old list, and obviously 282 new ones were added. For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting the list of the books that were added, and after that the ones that were removed. If I tell you that they removed A Tale of Two Cities - which they did, along with many other gems of literature – I first want you to have a sense of they have replaced them with.

The previous list was criticized for many things: being too heavy on the recent lit side of things, at the expense of the real greats, was one. Despite their respective literary merits, the ’06 edition included eight Ian McEwan novels, 10 by J.M. Coetzee, compared to, ah hem, three Balzacs and one Thackeray. Additional criticisms included what is typical on these lists: too many white men. While I do not believe the ’08 edition corrected the men part – I’ll save that criticism for the “removed” list, - the editors do appear to have made every effort possible to correct the “white” part, or at least the “Western” (mostly “Anglo”) part. It appears that many Spanish-speaking authors have been added, as well as Eastern European and Asian. I also noticed a decent amount of German and Scandinavian authors were added. I don’t believe that the editors of this list really intended the title to be taken literally…I don’t think any of us will get to the end of our lives wishing we had just had enough time to read that sixth or eighth Don Delillo book on the list. But as I’ve said before, the usefulness of this list – or any list – is to help a reader discover an author or a work that you might not have ever heard of otherwise.

As always, list is in reverse chronological order and red (or a link) indicates that I've read it.


  1. Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. Falling Man – Don DeLillo
  3. Animal's People – Indra Sinha
  4. Carry Me Down - M.J. Hyland
  5. The Kindly Ones - Jonathan Littell
  6. The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai
  7. The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
  8. Against the Day - Thomas Pynchon
  9. Mother's Milk - Edward St Aubyn
  10. The Accidental - Ali Smith
  11. Measuring the World - Daniel Kehlmann
  12. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
  13. Suite Francaise - Irene Nemirovsky
  14. 2666 - Roberto Bolano
  15. Small Island - Andrea Levy
  16. The Swarm - Frank Schatzing
  17. The Book about Blanche and Marie - Per Olov Enquist
  18. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
  19. The Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
  20. Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre
  21. The Namesake - Jhumpa Lahiri
  22. A Tale of Love and Darkness - Amos Oz
  23. Lady Number Thirteen - Jose Carlos Somoza
  24. The Successor - Ismail Kadare
  25. Snow - Orhan Pamuk
  26. Your Face Tomorrow - Javier Marias
  27. I'm Not Scared - Niccolo Ammaniti
  28. Soldiers of Salamis - Javier Cercas
  29. Bartleby and Co. - Enrique Vila-Matas
  30. In Search of Klingsor - Jorge Volpi
  31. The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - Dubravka Ugresic
  32. Pavel's Letters - Monika Moron
  33. Dirty Havana Trilogy - Pedro Juan Gutierrez
  34. Savage Detectives - Roberto Bolano
  35. The Heretic - Miguel Delibes
  36. Crossfire - Miyuki Miyabe
  37. Margot and the Angels - Kristien Hemmerechts
  38. Money to Burn - Ricardo Piglia
  39. Fall on Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald
  40. A Light Comedy - Eduardo Mendoza
  41. Democracy - Joan Didion
  42. The Late-Night News - Petros Markaris
  43. Troubling Love - Elena Ferrante
  44. Santa Evita - Tomas Eloy Martinez
  45. Our Lady of the Assassins - Fernando Vallejo
  46. The Holder of the World - Bharati Mukherjee
  47. Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light - Ivan Klima
  48. Remembering Babylon - David Malouf
  49. The Twins - Tessa de Loo
  50. Deep Rivers - Shusaku Endo
  51. The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll - Alvaro Mutis
  52. The Dumas Club - Arturo Perez-Reverte
  53. The Triple Mirror of Self - Zulfikar Ghose
  54. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
  55. Memoirs of Rain - Sunetra Gupta
  56. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture - Apostolos Doxiadis
  57. Before Night Falls - Reinaldo Arenas
  58. Astradeni - Eugenia Fakinou
  59. Faceless Killers - Henning Mankell
  60. The Laws - Connie Palmen
  61. The Daughter -Pavlos Matesis
  62. The Shadow Lines - Amitav Ghosh
  63. The Great Indian Novel - Shashi Tharoor
  64. Gimmick! - Joost Zwagerman
  65. Obabakoak - Bernardo Atxaga
  66. Inland - Gerald Murnane
  67. The First Garden - Anne Herbert
  68. The Last World - Christoph Ransmayr
  69. Paradise of the Blind - Duong Thu Huong
  70. All Souls - Javier Marias
  71. Black Box - Amos Oz
  72. Ballad for Georg Henig - Viktor Paskov
  73. Kitchen - Banana Yoshimoto
  74. Of Love and Shadows - Isabel Allende
  75. The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman - Andrzej Szczypiorski
  76. Ancestral Voices - Etienne van Heerden
  77. Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
  78. Annie John - Jamaica Kincaid
  79. Simon and the Oak Trees - Marianne Fredriksson
  80. Half of Man is Woman - Zhang Xianliang
  81. Professor Martens' Departure - Jaan Kross
  82. The Young Man - Botho Strauss
  83. Love Medicine - Louise Erdrich
  84. Larva: Midsummer Night's Babel - Julian Rios
  85. The Witness - Juan Jose Saer
  86. The Christmas Oratorio - Goran Tunstrom
  87. Fado Alexandrino - Antonio Lobo Antunes
  88. The Book of Disquiet - Fernando Pessoa
  89. Baltazar and Bleminda - Jose Saramago
  90. Memory of Fire - Eduardo Galeano
  91. Couples, Passerby - Botho Strauss
  92. The House with the Blind Glass Windows - Herbjorg Wassmo
  93. The War of the End of the World - Mario Vargas Llosa
  94. Leaden Wings - Zhang Jie
  95. Clear Light of Day - Anita Desai
  96. Smell of Sadness - Alfred Kossmann
  97. Southern Seas - Manuel Vazquez Montalban
  98. Fool's Gold - Maro Douka
  99. So Long a Letter - Mariama Ba
  100. A Dry White Season - Andre Brink



2 comments:

Titti said...

Quite daring to have so many recent titles on a list of 'books you must read before you die'. I'm pretty sure not all of them will be considered essentials just a couple of decades from now. Otherwise, this is probably the one list of those you've published so far where I have the best 'hit ratio'. But to be honest, it's also the list containing the highest number of 'started, but never cared to finish' books... :-)
High on my reading list at the moment is #1. It's had to go to re-print several times across Europe, beacuse it just keeps selling out. Sounds promising to me!

Kristin said...

Titti - that is my main gripe with this list - both editions. This list is much better one the world-literature side, though, so it is one plus. This is a great list if you want to discover some new authors.