About - 1000 books to read before you die!

Author photograph by Trisha Keeler Photography

About James Mustich

Jim 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. His book, 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die, fourteen years in the writing, was published to great acclaim in October 2018. The Washington Post called it “the ultimate literary bucket list,” and O, The Oprah Magazine, said, “If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.” Jim lives with his wife, Margot, in Connecticut.

James Mustich is available for speaking engagements. Please direct inquiries to hello@1000books.com.

Editorial Reviews

“If there’s a heaven just for readers, this is it.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“The ultimate literary bucket list…. It’s hard to imagine that such a massive compendium could have been done better or demonstrate a more supple and catholic taste.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“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.”—Ken Burns

“Mustich ‘wanted to ensure it not only held books for all-time, but also books for the moment, books to be savored, or devoured in a night.’ The end goal was ‘a browser’s version of paradise.’ He succeeded. Organized alphabetically by author (with some occasional exceptions), it’s equal fun to page through sequentially or dive in at random—a perfect mirroring of the browsing experience.”—John Warner, Chicago Tribune

“Get a jump on your reading list for 2019 (and beyond) with this exhaustive guide, which is fun reading on its own.”—Lisa Jewell, USA Today

“Pleasingly enormous, extremely addictive 1000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life Changing List by James Mustich . . . is exactly the sort of book I would like to write (before I die) except that I would find it dreadful to hear of all the works that had somehow slipped my mind while I was compiling my hypothetical volume.”—Katherine A. Powers, The Barnes and Noble Review

“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 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

“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

“A treasure chest for book lovers everywhere.”—Library Journal, Starred Review

“This compulsively readable reference work from Mustich, cofounder of the Common Reader book catalogs, is sure to send bibliophiles hopscotching through its pages…. 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

“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

“Mustich’s sprawling feast of choices and exclusions will doubtless spark emphatic agreements and heated arguments in bookish circles everywhere. Copies will be heavily annotated, ardently passed around, and perhaps, hurled in outrage. It’s good to be reminded that this is exactly how we should always feel about books.”—Steve Donohue, The National