1001 Books

I’m currently reading the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die, and have been rating the books as I go along.

It’s been incredibly difficult to rate the books because I feel bad giving any book on the list a bad rating, and want to give every book a 4 or 5! Even books that are rated 1 are worth reading, they just weren’t my favorite within the list.

As I go along I’m adjusting ratings to make sure there’s fairly even distribution among the ratings. A 1 is the lowest rating and means that, while it deserves to be on the list, it was not something I am likely to read again. 5 is life changing, awesome, probably the type of book I truly enjoy, and/or something I would read over and over again. To be a 5 it has to be one of those books I just couldn’t put down once I started reading. Books that are 5’s (and 4’s and 3’s) are not all happy reads, but they are all powerful, amazing books for various reasons.


  • American Rust (Philipp Meyer)
  • Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  • Atonement (Ian McEwan)
  • The Devil and Miss Prym (Paulo Coelho)
  • Blonde (Joyce Carol Oates)
  • The Reader (Bernhard Schlink)
  • Black Water (Joyce Carol Oates)
  • Like Water for Chocolate (Laura Esquivel)
  • The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
  • Schindler’s Ark (Thomas Kneally)
  • The House of the Spirits (Isabel Allende)
  • The Bluest Eye (Tony Morrison)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou)
  • Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • The Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy)
  • Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Les Misérables (Victor Hugo)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)


  • The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach)
  • The Plot Against America (Philip Roth)
  • A Tale of Love and Darkness (Amos Oz)
  • City of God (E.L. Doctorow)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
  • Complicity (Iain Banks)
  • The New York Trilogy (Paul Auster)
  • The Summer Book (Tove Jansson)
  • The Godfather (Mario Puzo)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)
  • The Glimpses of the Moon (Edith Wharton)
  • Growth of the Soil (Knut Hamsun)
  • The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
  • The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper (Charlotte Perkins Gilman)
  • Bel-Ami (Guy de Maupassant)
  • Agnes Grey (Anne Brontë)
  • Emma (Jane Austen)
  • Mansfield Park (Jane Austen)
  • A Modest Proposal (Jonathan Swift)


  • The Marriage Plot (Jeffrey Eugenides)
  • Falling Man (Don DeLillo)
  • Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
  • Suite Francaise (Irene Nemirovsky)
  • Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light (Ivan Klíma)
  • The Lover (Marguerite Duras)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
  • Ragtime (E.L. Doctorow)
  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (John Le Carré)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Truman Capote)
  • The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • The Return of the Soldier (Rebecca West)
  • The Underdogs (Mariano Azuela)
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps (John Buchan)
  • The Invisible Man (H.G. Wells)
  • Dracula (Bram Stoker)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne)
  • Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)
  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • The Thousand and One Nights (Anonymous)


  • The Blindness of the Heart (Julia Franck)
  • The Sea (John Banville)
  • After the Quake (Haruki Murakami)
  • Disgrace (J.M. Coetzee)
  • Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (Jeanette Winterson)
  • Love Medicine (Louise Erdich)
  • Worstward Ho (Samuel Beckett)
  • Blaming (Elizabeth Taylor)
  • Everything That Rises Must Converge (Flannery O’Connor)
  • Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
  • The Garden Party (Katherine Mansfield)
  • Ethan Frome (Edith Wharton)
  • A Room With A View (E.M. Forster)
  • The Jungle (Upton Sinclair)
  • The Kreutzer Sonata (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
  • Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
  • Michael Kohlhaas (Heinrich von Kleist)
  • The Interesting Narrative (Olaudah Equiano)
  • Fanny Hill (John Cleland)


  • Everything is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)
  • Jazz (Tony Morrison)
  • The Daughter (Pavlos Matesis)
  • Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)
  • Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
  • The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
  • The Trial (Franz Kafka)
  • The Awakening (Kate Chopin)
  • The Turn of the Screw (Henry James)
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
  • Against the Grain (Joris-Karl Huysmans)
  • Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)
  • Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoevsky)
  • The Purloined Letter (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • The Pit and the Pendulum (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (Edgar Allan Poe)
  • Candide (Voltaire)
  • Aesop’s Fables (Aesopus)


Note: Books are in age order, with newest first, because that’s the order of the list (and therefore my ratings), so there is no special meaning to being first or last within a rating.

1 Comment

  1. Me, myself and I

    March 30, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    Hi Marissa, have a look at the following link for those recipies I mentioned http://www.fug-verlag.de/on2972 and about the 1000m sign, it can tell it’s part of the German traffic regulation and I guess it is ment to be able to adjust your traffic behavior on time and without any hassle. It might also be because some drivers are little speedy gonzaleses and adjust only at the last possibility and need a sign ahead. There is probably a complete story behind it and some legal case …. I never watch those signs, have to concentrate on the traffic @ 135+ mph ….

    Cheers, P.

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