Silent Archimedes

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:

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???

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…

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4 Responses to “I hate “Before you Die” books!”

  1. Tiffany said

    haha! I love the “Fifty Places to go Birding Before You Die”.. how did I NOT think about birding? I don’t know what I was doing with my life!

  2. silentarchimedes said

    Thanks for the comment, Tiffany. Hehehe, basically you can create a list of anything, from absurd to simple. Like:

    100 countries to be president before you die
    101 Michaels to beat in chess before you die
    1001 stop lights to stop at before you die
    10000000001 galaxies to visit before you die

    I have one answer to all these books:

    1 life to live before you die!! Just live life!

  3. Arukiyomi said

    Top of the list in 1001 Blogs You (yes YOU) Must (yes MUST) Read Before You Die (and yes, you will die so you’d better start planning for it) is Arukiyomi.

    If you understand British humour (and by the post above I’m not sure if you do) you might be interested in heading over to Arukiyomi’s blog and picking up a copy of the new version of Arukiyomi’s 1001 books spreadsheet.

    Along with some cool new features, there are lists of both the revised 1001 books and those that were removed from the new 2008 list.

    Happy reading!

  4. SDurnin said

    I agree totally. Can’t stand this trend.

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