1001 Reads

Regularly updated blog charting the most important novels of the last 2000 and something years

Friday, April 06, 2007


Hey. I've been pretty disappointed at this list so far. Mainly it is caused by it's extreme Anglo-Centrism and Euro-Centrism. Stuff like Euphues or the Pilgrim's Progress have no place in any reading list of quality, I'm sorry.

That was why I was excited, when I was in Portugal recently, to find an international version of the list. This immediately got my attention, a lot of books which were inexcusably left out were now a part of the canon, a lot of these are now representing literatures absent from the English version of the list. A lot of Chinese and Japanese literature for example, as well as Portuguese, Spanish and German language texts as well as a much wider selection of Eastern European texts. So now things like Tale Of Genji, the Romance Of The Three Kingdoms and my favourite writer in the Portuguese language, Antonio Lobo Antunes are in, as are some of Vanda's favourite writers like Eça de Queiroz. Don Quixote is finally put into context with the addition of chivalry romances like Amadis Of Gaul and Tirant Lo Blanc. And a lot of crap which was was really not looking forward to has been dropped, as well as the crappy Greek melodramas.

So we agreed to reset the project and start from the beggining; a lot of the books are the same we have already read, and Roxana by Defoe, one book I actually liked, was dropped. The gains greatly outweigh the losses, however. The previous reviews are left here for posterity but we're restarting from number 1.


  • At 6:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    You guys are so committed it's inspiring!
    I'm only about 40 books into the list. I have been a bit dispappointed with the list too. It duplicates so many of the same authors' works. Would you happen to have the ISBN of the book you are now using? I'm really interested in checkin it out.

  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Francisco Silva said…

    Hi, its really hard to give you an isbn... I think different language versions have different ISBNs. My version, which is in Portuguese has the ISBN 10: 989-624-035-3 and ISBN 13: 978-989-624-035-6

    The French Version, which is probably more useful has the ISBN 10: 2082015629 and ISBN 13: 978-2082015622.

    I am now reading the Tale Of Genji and loving it. It's like a book which has fallen from outer-space. Japanese medieval culture is just absolutely alien.

  • At 3:45 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Thanks for the help. I'll see what I find out.

    Yes, I rememeber thinking the Tale of Genji was very...odd and interesting.

    If you're interested, check out a group of us who are working on the list. We check them off as we go:

  • At 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is the Portuguese version the same as the French version do you know? I'm interested in starting this project, as I am also following the 1001 Movies book, but if the international version is a much better list, I'll follow that one. I'm sure it's worth brushing up on my French!

  • At 4:38 PM, Blogger Francisco Silva said…

    i think it must be quite similar to the French version so I would really advise you to get it.

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Sycorax Pine said…

    I too was really outraged that "Tale of Genji" was omitted, so I am glad to see that you found a more inclusive list!

  • At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to say I love your sites (especially the albums one) but I was curious to know if there is a way to get this international listing (hopefully with the English titles) you're talking about. While I don't have any major qualms about the English list, I too was hoping for more of selection from non-European countries and it looks like this other list is more interesting.

  • At 3:14 PM, Blogger Francisco Silva said…

    Pour de tour: Yeah, I'm reading Genji now... it's long....

    bemish: I can't find it in English anywhere but in the comments above there are links for the French version, I'm sure there is a Spanish version as well. You should really get it, just the representation of Far Eastern literature is worth it.

  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh cool. I'm sure I can figure out the French list (the titles can't be that different...)

    Anyways thanks for the help.

  • At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't suppose you have a title list from the international version in any kind of document format that you could share? Or have you seen a list online anywhere?

    I suppose that's a copyright issue. *sigh* I'm not sure how best to get my hands on one of those less anglo-centric editions. I was pretty disappointed with the list I saw in the US edition.

    Your 1001 blogs are all inspiring. Thank you.

  • At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Are you sure the french and portugese version are the same? I thought that every language version is different. For example, in the Dutch version are 25 (or so) Dutch titles provided, in the norwegian version 25 norwegian (or so)titles. So it might be that there are always some extra titles from the language in which the '1001 books' book is written.

  • At 5:56 AM, Blogger Francisco Silva said…


    I think they are the same in fact, there are a lot more titles in Portuguese/Brazilian titles in the Portuguese version, but there are also a lot more Norwegian, Dutch, French, Chinese, Japanese and every other country's titles, it just isn't as Anglo-centric.

  • At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have got an answer of the ppublisher to this question, see:


  • At 9:51 AM, Blogger Francisco Silva said…

    Does this mean I have to reboot again?!?!?! Noo, I'll die before the definitive version.


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