1001 Books Project [2014-Q1]

I haven’t done an update to my 1001 Book project since its conception a couple of years back. When was that, 2012? Everyone in the book community must by now know the highly controversial compilation of suggested reading from Boxall – 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The book is now I believe in its 4th edition and totals 1305 titles (correct me if I’m wrong).

The initial idea behind my project was to read as many of these books as possible, but as time passed I realized that I should relax the rules a bit. The list-obsessive completist in me was just being irrational,  because there were plenty of books that would simply not interest me. I was most certainly determined to read The Gulliver’s Travels, but was I going to pursue Pamela with the same eagerness? No, not really. And so I made a resolution to read whatever I wanted and then cross an item off the list for reference purposes only.

As of today I’ve read 47 books, which is about 3.6% of the entire list. All of these books, however, were read by me simply because they either captured my interest at one point or another, or were considered to be part of Western Classics Canon that I would have eventually read anyway. None of these I picked up because of the list alone. Which is ironic, since the main purpose of 1001 Books is to suggest great reading you might otherwise skip out on.

So this year I am making another little adjustment to my reading policy, which should coincidentally boost up the number of check-in posts in the future. The idea is to challenge myself to read one book from the list every three months that I would normally not pick up on my own. That being said, I am not going to force myself to read something I know I wouldn’t enjoy. I’d rather stick to books that are completely new to me  or that I have been setting aside on a back burner for too long. So for the first quarter I used the random number generator and came up with the title #380, which in my spreadsheet belongs to….


As their holiday unfolds, Colin and Maria are locked into their own intimacy. They groom themselves meticulously, as though someone is waiting for them who cares deeply about how they appear. When they meet a man with a disturbing story to tell, they become drawn into a fantasy of violence and obsession. – from Goodreads.

Hmmm… it is about time I read another McEwan book and it’s pretty short, so not a bad choice for my first little challenge. I give myself until the end of March to squeeze it into my already packed year! Have you read this one? Are you also reading off the list? Please let me know if you have any fun strategies you’d like to share.


  1. A nice idea! I’ve read 126 books from the list, but for me too they were not something I would’t pick anyway, just from curiosity. Probably I should sometimes choose some random books from the list too 🙂
    Good luck with your new system!

  2. Thanks! I think sometimes it’s really worth it to just take a leap of faith and plunge into an unknown territory. You should definitely try it.

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