I hate “Before you Die” books!
Posted by silentarchimedes on September 2, 2008
The first time I saw one of these books in the bookstore ( I think it was “1,000 Places to See Before You Die“), I thought it was kind of cool. I’m a sucker for lists, so if a book has a number in the title it will catch my eye. As you can see on the left bar, I even have a subcategory for Lists. Well, now I am really sick of them. The reason probably isn’t one you would think would cause someone to hate something. It’s not because there are so many of these type of books. A search of “Before You Die” in the Books category in Amazon returns 1,774 books! The problem is that these books are supposed to make you want to enjoy the category in which it is promoting. For example, the one I mentioned above would list the top 1,000 places in the world they think are really cool to visit. However, the instant they add the “before you die” to the title, the good-natured enthusiasm turns into something of a morose contest. If you do not see all the places they suggest BEFORE YOU DIE, then you have something to regret when you do die. Once you start going through the list one by one, you have sold your soul to the devil. No pun intended. You will feel pressured to continue the list. Die is such a negative word, why would you ever want it in a title of a book, unless it was about tragedy or medicine.
As I browse the 1,774 books, some of them are just completely off the wall. They are such advertising gimmicks. Every time I see someone with one of these books, I just want to punch them in the face. Seriously, the titles of all the books would be much better by just removing the “Before you Die”. 1,000 Places to See is a perfectly good title.
Here are some of the most off the wall titles with “Before You Die” in it:
- The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die
- Fifty Places to go Birding Before You Die
- Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die
- Baby Boomer Bachelorette: How to Have Sex at Least Once More Before You Die
- Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die
- 101 Places to Have Sex Before You Die
- Die Before You Die
- To Die For: 100 Gastronomic Experiences to Have Before You Die
To take things further, some of these books are now including “Must” in the titles. Now these really really rankle me. How can you tell someone that they MUST do these certain things BEFORE THEY DIE???
- 1001 Books you Must Read Before you Die
- 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
- 1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die
So going through the 1,774 books, I realize not all of them have the “Before You Die” in its title. There’s still a lot of them though.
Anyways, that’s my rant for today. I still haven’t read one of these books. Don’t plan to either. How about a book called “1000 Before You Die Books You Must Throw in the Trash Before You Die”.
UPDATE 09/02/08 – So apparently this post has a rather bad timing to it. Dave Freeman, the author of 100 Things to Do Before You Die, died a couple of days ago. I’m not sure how many of the 100 things he actually did by then. But ribbing aside, he sparked a publishing phenomenon, and from a personal standpoint he was more successful than any of us can imagine. Here is BBC New’s article on him. The readers’ comments are rather funny.
He was 47. RIP, Dave…