It’s a slow day in the bookshop. It’s raining (finally) and customers are also blowing into the shop in sudden gusts and out again. So I have time to think in between.

As I warned in my very first post, I do love lists, and naturally lists of books are of interest. I am toying with the idea of tagging my book posts with icons when the title appears on a ‘best of … ‘ list, so how would that have gone so far?

    ‘1001 Books to read before you die‘ lists titles chronologically (yay!) and varies across editions. The only Ancient Greek to feature in any edition is Aseop’s Fables (no Homer?!).

And then there’s ‘1001 Childrens’ Books to Read before You Grow Up’  as well 😊


‘Great Books of the Western World’ is also chronologically ordered, and covers 60 volumes in its second edition. Far more in tune with my efforts so far, it starts with the complete works of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, the medical texts of Hippocrates and Galen, and the mathematical treatises of Euclid and Archimedes, Apollonius and Nicomachus (I came off the rails with Plato and Aristotle, and didn’t even attempt the mathematics!) However, GBWW is a little more picky with the Romans, omitting Plautus and Terence, Cicero, Caesar, Horace and Ovid – but then they have an imposed publishing-driven limit.

Susan Wise Bauer’s ‘The Well-Educated Mind’ lists roughly 30 titles in each of six categories : Fiction, Drama, Poetry, Autobiography, History and Politics, and Science. So far I have unknowingly started her Drama, History and Science lists, doing pretty well with Herodotus and Thucydides, Plato’s Republic, Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Medea, Aristophanes’  The Birds, and Aristotle’s Poetics, Hippocrates,  Gilgamesh and of course Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey,  but skipped Aristotle’s Physics. 😦


 Of course my most successful list is actually Penguin’s Catalogue of Classics, and it also stretches just far enough outside the Western Canon for my purposes, covering Chinese, Japanese, and South Asian classics.


Have I forgotten something obvious??


  1. In a fit of insanity, I acquired the 1001 Books book a year or so ago. So far, I have resisted turning it into a challenge – the very thought exhausts me. (Though naturally enough, I did create a spreadsheet for it… hmm! You’ve reminded me I’ve let that one slide. Ooh, must get back to it!) But I’ll stick with Martin Edward’s 100 (+2) classic crime novels as a target for the moment. Though I feel an irresistible urge to check out Penguin’s Catalogue of Classics now – dammit!


    • “1001 Books …” is in our library so I really don’t HAVE to buy it (good news since i just ordered Edwards). Such a huge chunk of “1001 books …” is devoted to the 20th century that I won’t need to look at it regularly for years yet. I did buy “1001 movies …” some years ago and probably got about 40% through it, and not every one I watched was a stunner by any means.
      Penguin published their classics catalogue about a decade ago in the US but I couldn’t get a copy here in Australia. I did track it down as a pdf online and even though it is out of date it is still a nice list to browse and tick.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love lists too and maintain spreadsheets of them and of many other bookish things. I don’t make a goal of completing them, I just find it fun to tick off how many I have read and will read. As well as the 1,000 list you have here, I also check how I am doing against the top 100 lists of the Modern Library’s Editors, Time Magazine’s Novels of the 20th Century and the Harvard Bookstore. There are also the lists of books nominated for prizes like the Booker or the Women’s Prize. It is also fun to check out lists of banned books. Robert McCrum is currently producing a list of the 100 best non-fiction books for the Guardian that I am keeping an eye on too.


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