Before I am 30; a Reading Goal

I am taking a break from my normal posting pattern of postings this week to perfect my blog on The Color Purple; instead I offer you something a little different. Inspired by Simon of Savidge Reads 40 before 40, I am planning on compiling a list of books to read before I am 30. Novels that I not only have a great interest in reading but also classics, trash lit (the rest of Twilight for example; I cannot moan about something I have not read) and books my friends adore; even if these fall outside of what I find interesting and genres I tend to get drawn back to. Like a rebellious child I often stray from classics because I do not believe that the High Canon of literature is correct – this list will help me overcome this preconception.

I will be 30 in 4 years, two months and 10 hours, a large period of time, so I want to make this list expansive but not overwhelming. I would also like to have a reason for reading each one, to assist in motivation. At any point I can add but at no point can I remove a book – everything needs to be tried even if it is not finished. If I dislike or cannot finish anything that is fine; this will be a learning process of reading, and an expansion of taste.

I would really like some recommendations, of books you love and books and authors you have always been told you should read.

So far I have the following:

The Warden by Anthony Trollope
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dune by Frank Herbert
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk
Twilight novels 3 and 4 by Stehpenie Meyer
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I have included my reasons on my newly created ‘Books Before 30‘ page, to keep track of my progress.

7 thoughts on “Before I am 30; a Reading Goal

  1. I’m happy to see Jane Eyre is on your list. It’s one of my favourites, and if you enjoyed the BBC adaptation, I’m positive you will love the book 🙂
    My first recommendation would be The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I think it’s better not to know much about the plot before reading it. Wikipedia says: “[…] woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union.” And that’s all you need to know 😛 It’s hard for me to be very objective about this book, because it’s probably my all-time favourite.
    I was going to recommend Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, but I checked your Goodreads profile and saw you’ve already read it (yay!). I also saw that you’ve read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, so I’m going to recommend another by him, which I liked even better: Everything is Illuminated. Gorgeous book.
    I don’t know if you want to list more than one book by the same author, but just in case, since you mention Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I recommend Sense and Sensibility, which I also liked.
    One of the latest books that really blew my mind is Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, yes, one of those that everybody seems to think you should read 😛 I really really liked it, but I’m a bit careful in recommending it, since I don’t think it’s quite for everyone. The rhythm, the tone, the language… everything is quite peculiar, and if you don’t “feel it” from the beginning, you probably won’t enjoy the book. I know of people who hated it and/or didn’t even finish it.
    Other quick mentions: Blindness (José Saramago), Silk (Alessandro Baricco), The Tunnel (Ernesto Sábato).
    There you go. If you want more details about any of them, let me know. I hope you decide to read at least one of my recommendations, I’ll be looking forward to what you think 🙂


    1. Thank you for so many wonderful suggestions! I shall be adding all of those apart from Everything Is Illuminated; I have tried to read it many times but have found it very hard to get into.


  2. Like Crissy, I’m glad to see Jane Eyre there, too. And Pride And Prejudice. Both very good books – the sorts of classics that if you’ve been put off classics may help you to reverse that, Austen especially is so brilliantly no-nonsense. I would suggest adding Dickens, but from what I’ve read (Great Expectations) and what I’ve heard from others, while the stories are good, if you’re looking to find hope in the classics, the extreme number of unnecessary words can be very off-putting – worth adding later, perhaps.

    If you don’t mind anti-heroes I’d add Wuthering Heights to the list, horrible characters but good writing. Emily and Charlotte Bronte are very different so it’s worth reading both of them. And Austen’s Northanger Abbey makes fun of social conventions and melodrama.


    1. Wuthering Heights is one of my all time favourite books, I got so emotionally invested I read it in it’s entirety Christmas day last year.

      Thank you for your classics suggestions, when it comes to these sort of novels I really need someone who enjoyed them to point me in the right direction as they can be so hit and miss. I will add Great Expectations but I generally want to avoid Dickens, I’ve read a Christmas Carol and even as a short story the writing style I find quite dull.


  3. I think your list is fantastic — and I especially love the third and fourth Twilight novels are thrown in there. (Secret: I have a guy friend who is the same age as me – 31 – who has read that fourth book 6 times!) 1984 is one of my favorite novels. I read it in high school, along with Brave New World, and while most people liked BNW better, I found 1984 to be more haunting because I thought it was closer to the way the world could be — and maybe even is on some levels.
    Some of the other books on your list I haven’t heard of — I’m going to check those out!


    1. Thank you for some additions to the list there Brandi. I was thinking of 1984, but wasn’t sure I’d like it; it has a place on the list now though! [edit]I just saw I already had it on the list, haha, oh dear! I am far too forgetful[/edit]

      As much as I dislike Twilight, I love that you have a male friend who has read it that many times, awesome!


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