The ultimate book for book lovers: the 1,000 must-read books across genres and eras, each accompanied by a thought-provoking short essay on why the book is so essential.
“If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
★"Mustich's informed appraisals will drive readers to the books they've yet to read, and stimulate discussion of those they have." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★"A treasure chest for book lovers everywhere" —Library Journal, Starred Review
★"Every so often, a reference book appears that changes the landscape of its area of focus. In the case of reading and readers' advisory, this is one such book....lively, witty, insightful prose...It might be wise to invest in several copies of this wonderful meditation on life lived with and enhanced by the written word."
—Booklist, Starred Review
"All in all, the literate public—what novelist Robertson Davies dubbed the clerisy—can only be grateful for, and awed by, this product of 14 years of reading and research…It’s hard to imagine that such a massive compendium could have been done better."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"Absolutely impressive…. This book is not just a source of information; it's a wellspring of wisdom, intelligence, empathy and generosity."—Ingrid Rossellini, author of Know Thyself: Western Identity from Classical Greece to the Renaissance
"As the owner of a 90-year-old bookselling institution, I am not easily fazed by 1,000 books, but Mustich’s literary bucket list stopped me in my tracks. His expansive scope is coupled with a delightful wit and a perfect eye for the surprise detail. Never again will you have to wonder what to read next. A book you’ll cherish for a lifetime!"
—Nancy Bass Wyden, Proprietor, Strand Book Store
"Chief among the thousands of pleasures here is the delightfully erudite company of James Mustich. Look up your favorite books; find ones you don’t know; argue about the list with friends. Read!"
—Jean Strouse, author, Alice James and Morgan: American Financier
"James Mustich’s book is aimed at a society engulfed in words but desperately poor in the talents that reading can bring—judgment, taste, empathy, wit. The book is not a list of canonical works, though many classics are listed and lovingly described. No, the “1000 Books to Read” is an invocation of the pleasures to be had from many kinds of books—genre fiction, journalism, poetry, history, and memoir, the good and the great, the illustrious and the semi-forgotten, all summoned by Mustich’s taste. You open it at any point and jump from author to author; you follow his hints and read related works by other writers, and you find your own taste emerging, proud and strong, from Mustich’s provocations. 1,000 Books is surpassingly useful as well as good."
—David Denby, staff writer at The New Yorker and author of Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World
"If you’ve ever doubted that books were the greatest invention of all time, and that they carry within them our collective memories and dreams, as well as any semblance of intelligence we have as a species, pick up James Mustich’s 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die and start reading."
"If I were as erudite, entertaining, insightful, and articulate as James Mustich, I could come up with 1,000 reasons to get his book. But here's one: Whether you're looking for something to read for personal edification or fun, for escapism or relevance, you can survey the literary world with Mustich as an experienced, enthusiastic guide. His work is an essential resource for anyone anywhere plagued by that infernal question: What do I read next?"
—Bradley Graham, co-owner of Politics and Prose Bookstore
James Mustich began his career in bookselling at an independent book store in Briarcliff Manor, New York, in the early 1980s. In 1986, he co-founded the acclaimed book catalog, A Common Reader, and was for two decades its guiding force. He subsequently has worked as an editorial and product development executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his wife, Margot, in Connecticut.