Some years ago, the reader and former bookseller James Mustich asked himself: 'What if I had a bookstore that could hold only 1,000 volumes, and I wanted to ensure it held not only books for all time but also books for the moment, books to be savored or devoured in a night? A shop where any reading inclination — be it for thrillers or theology, or theological thrillers — might find reward.' This, he concluded, would be 'a browser’s version of paradise.' It would also be an apt description of his...impressive 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ... Organized alphabetically by author’s name and enlivened with numerous illustrations, Mustich devotes three or four paragraphs to describing each chosen title ... It’s hard to imagine that such a massive compendium could have been done better or demonstrate a more supple and catholic taste.
Many avid readers have a 'book bucket list': that hefty classic they've always meant to tackle, that series they'll get around to someday, that book their mother or husband or best friend loves that they've just never managed to try. But 1,000 books to read before you die Sounds intimidating, to say the least. Fear not. James Mustich, a longtime bookseller, voracious reader...has taken has taken on the task: he's compiled a...surprisingly accessible list of 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die ... the best way to use this book is, in fact, to wander: flip through a section or two, go back and forth looking for something you thought you saw. Read the endnotes, skip a few entries or whole sections, only to find them again later. In short, 'Read at whim!' ... Thoughtful, often witty, informed and unfailingly enthusiastic, Mustich's collection fulfills one more aim of every bookstore worth its salt: inspiring readers to dive headfirst into a good book--especially one (or 12 or 50) they didn't know they were dying to read.
The book represents the sum total of a life thinking and talking about books; it’s an attempt to capture what that means in the form of a list ... The book is entirely personal ... The end goal was 'a browser’s version of paradise' ... He succeeded ... it’s equal fun to page through sequentially or dive in at random — a perfect mirroring of the browsing experience ... Each book is accompanied by a short, contextual entry, which never seem to read as formulaic. The unique intelligence of Mustich as an individual processing his own thinking is present in every sentence ... Sometimes these sorts of lists seem more trivial than substantive, but 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is the opposite.
James Mustich's 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List is as nourishing and addictive as it is slightly problematic ... The reader should be aware that this is an ambitious collection even if it's approached with the intention to chew each section separately, carefully, enjoying the flavors as they make themselves known and eventually dissolve into your mind ... Mustich and his advisors and co-writers Margot Greenbaum Mustich, Thomas Meager, and Karen Templer, however, have compiled a work here that is relatively free of pomposity and authoritarianism ... Mustich could definitely improve this text in future volumes by removing...titles and replac[ing] them ... No matter how we feel about 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List, it deserves a prominent place on the shelf of any serious reader.
This compulsively readable reference work from Mustich, cofounder of the Common Reader book catalogs, is sure to send bibliophiles hopscotching through its pages. The 1,000 entries, ordered alphabetically by author, include classic and contemporary works, literary and genre titles, fiction (mostly) and nonfiction, and children’s and adult reading—each fleshed out with several short but insightful paragraphs of critical commentary ... Mustich’s informed appraisals will drive readers to the books they’ve yet to read, and stimulate discussion of those they have.