The books taken off from the 2012 version of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

So about three weeks ago I wrote about the new version of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die and the 12 books that have been added to the just published version. At that point, I couldn’t find out which books had been taken off the list – but now I do. So here’s the list of the 12 books, the editors no longer feel we should read before we die.

  • Edward St. Aubyn: Mothers Milk
  • Paul Auster: Invisible
  • Paul Auster: The Music of Chance
  • Pat Barker: The Ghost Road
  • Peter Carey: Jack Maggs
  • Don DeLillo: Falling Man
  • Ian McEwan: Enduring Love
  • Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore
  • Ardal O’Hanlan: The Talk of the Town
  • Ricardo Piglia: Money To Burn
  • Ali Smith: The Accidental
  • William Trevor: Felicia’s Journey

So these books are no longer worth reading apparently. I’ve only read two of these – Don DeLillo’s Falling Man and Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore – and I haven’t read enough of the rest of the books still on the list to really be able to say if that’s true. I think it’s okay to take off one book by an author to add a better book by that author instead – however, I loved Kafka on the Shore. I haven’t yet gotten around to reading 1Q84 which is now on the list so I don’t know if it’s as good or maybe even better than Kafka on the Shore. But I’m definitely willing to give it a go.

Don DeLillo, as I’ve written before, confuses me. I’ve read Mao IIFalling Man and parts of Underworld and I really don’t get what all the fuss is about. I simply don’t get him or his work. I don’t understand quite what it is he wants with his books. I liked parts of Falling Man, parts I thought were brilliant, but overall, I didn’t like it all that much.  I gave up on Underworld and although I plan on giving it another go this year, I’m really not looking forward to it. And I don’t remember anything about Mao II except that I was disappointed in it. I really feel most like giving DeLillo this last chance and then give up on him, if I don’t like this book. But I’m pretty sure that there are more DeLillo books on the list so maybe I’ll just push them down so his books will be the last books I read from the list – DeLillo’s books and American Psycho

But these books are off the list – what do you think about it?

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The 2012 version of the 1001 list

Every two years, a new edition of the 1001 books you must read before you die list is out. Every time, those of us who tries to work through the list, is anxiously awaiting to see how the new additions and removals will influence our percentage of finished books.

The new edition was published on October 1st and so far, we know for sure that 11 new books have been added to the list and 1 book that previously has been on the list but was removed, has been put back on. We also know which 12 books have made the cut.

Here’s the 12 books that have been added to the 2012 version:

  1. Julian Barnes: The Sense of an Ending
  2. Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha (was on the 2006 list but got taken of for the 2008 list – now it’s back on)
  3. Jennifer Egan: A Visit from the Goon Squad
  4. Jeffrey Eugenides: The Marriage Plot
  5. Jonathan Franzen: Freedom
  6. Chad Harbach: The Art of Fielding
  7. Nicole Krauss: The History of Love
  8. Lorrie Moore: A Gate at the Stairs
  9. Haruki Murakami: 1Q84
  10. Philip Roth: Nemesis
  11. José Saramago: Cain
  12. Ali Smith: There but for the

However, it gets interesting when we look at the books that have been removed. So far, I’ve only been able to find 8 books that have been taken off the list in this edition.

Here’s the books that have been removed:

  1. Paul Auster: The Music of Chance
  2. Pat Barker: The Ghost Road
  3. Peter Carey: Jack Maggs
  4. Ardal O’Hanlan: The Talk of the Town
  5. Ian McEwan: Enduring Love
  6. Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore
  7. Ricardo Piglia: Money to Burn
  8. William Trevor: Felicia’s Journey

If 4 more books has been taken off – and to keep the list on 1001 books, 4 more books have to be taken off, then the number of books which have been on at least one of the (so far) 4 different versions of the list, totals 1306 books you must read before you die. 1306! That’s quite a lot of books!

I’m rather excited about the new version. I have only read one of the books that have been taken off – Haruki Murakami Kafka on the Shore. But another Murakami has been added so I’m okay with that. I have yet to read 1Q84 so I don’t know if it’s better/more influential than Kafka on the Shore but it feels okay to me to exchange an author’s older work with a newer one if the newer seems more important. So since I had only read one book of the ones we know have been removed, the removals don’t influence my total that much. Although of course the addition of 12 books that I haven’t read, does set me back.

Of the 12 books that have been added to the list, I own 5: A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Marriage Plot, Freedom, 1Q84 and There but for the. And of the remaining 7, 2 are on my wish list: The Sense of an Ending and The History of Love. This means, that of the 12 added books, I already have an interest in reading 7! And have heard of all the rest as well. So I feel good about the new additions. Although it is a bit weird to have Memoirs of a Geisha on the 2006 list, then take it off the 2008 list – and then put it back on in 2012.

And that’s of course always the issue with newer literature. How do you know if it will be influential and important – or even considered good in a decade or two? The older literature, the books written by Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Fitzgerald and more, you know they are good. You know their importance. But do you know that yet of Ali Smith or Jennifer Egan? I don’t know – as I said, I haven’t read them yet. But I’m eager to find out!

I’m actually trying (not very hard, it must be said) to read all books that have ever been on any one of the lists. Which means (say it with me) 1306 books! 
I have read 76 books from the list – which means I have 1230 to go. Or at least, 1230 books until the list is changed again in 2014… I better get on with it!

How do you feel about the new additions to the list?