I have a friend who, when we first met, mentioned this list of books he was reading from. 1001 books, to be precise, from a(nother) book called, not surprisingly, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die by a chap called Peter Boxall.
Now, usually lists of things to do before I expire fill me with horror. It seems very unlikely that I'll manage more than a paltry amount, and even less likely that I'll want to do/see/eat/hear the vast majority of them.
But books... that was a slightly different kettle of fishes. Especially once we found a useful spreadsheet (that can be found, and downloaded, here)where you can keep track of what you've read and how many you've still got to squeeze in before clogs can even consider being popped.
Of course Mr Boxall, doubtlessly with an eye on his pension fund, released a newer version in 2008 which has a very different selection of books on it. I have chosen to mostly ignore this development. Please don't mention it.
So, it's not supposed to be the bestest books in the history of the world, ever. It's supposed (apparently) to track the progression of the novel. And no, I don't stick to it religiously and I don't think that reading all these books will make me a better person. But it is nice to have a resource to look at when faced with the eternal 'what shall I read' question, other than the current selection in Waterstone's 342 or whatever's tickling Richard and Judy's fancy. And I've come across some marvellous novels and authors that, otherwise, I'm quite sure I would never have heard of.
As of today, I'm at 303. I aim to get through about fifty list books a year, and then some others on top of that.
(Don't tell anyone, though, but I haven't even finished one yet this year. And it's nearly February. Hopefully this blog will kick me out of my reading slump.)