Update: Books Before 30

Ah Books Before 30, we began with such good intentions and I’ve all but left you behind. But no more!

I wrote about Books Before 30 a few months ago at EmilyBooks’ Blog, thinking to myself, this is the point where I really need to engage. Yet, I didn’t. I have two years and just under one month before I turn 30 and nothing appears to be motivating me.

For anyone that isn’t aware of Books Before 30: it is my plan to read the books I think I should have read already, by the time I am 30. I can add anything to the list, but must attempt all of them and should try and avoid removing any. My original rules were stricter, but I don’t think I can force myself to read another Twilight, it may end me. I was inspired by Simon, of Savidge Reads, 40 before 40 challenge. An idea I have taken, modified and used as my own. As he’s not contacted me to tell me I’m dead to him, I am assuming this is okay.

In fear that I will never look at Books Before 30 again – until a month before my 30th and I move into panic mode – I’ve decided to bulk it up. With the prospect of more books to tackle I am hoping I will feel more inclined to complete my task. I’ll be adding more classics and books that always seem to appear on those ‘if you don’t read these before you die you’ve failed at life’ lists. I’ll post about my decisions next week.

For now take a look at my list, and my frankly abysmal attempt at tackling it.


  • Dune by Frank Herbert – Unfinished 22.06.12
  • The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald – Unfinished 03.02.14


  • I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith – Finished reading 06.04.13
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Finished reading 03.06.12
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – Finished reading 06.12.12
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Finished reading 25.12.12
  • The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks – Finished reading 19.01.13
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Finished reading 06.10.12
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – Finished reading 23.08.13
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – Finished reading 19.02.13
  • Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara – Finished reading 01.07.12
  • Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell – Finished reading 25.03.13

To go:

  • Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson
  • Silk by Alessandro Baricco
  • The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre
  • Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulk
  • The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • Paradise Lost by John Milton
  • Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Blue Castle by L M Montgomery
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  • The Tunnel by Ernesto Sábato
  • Blindness by José Saramago
  • Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  • Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  • Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
  • Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
Do you have a list like this? Are there any books you want to read, but think you may need to set yourself a goal to actually get to them? Can you make any recommendations? What are you reading right now?


Image from Ashton.

13 thoughts on “Update: Books Before 30

  1. Great list! I’ve never made such a list for myself because I tend to get rebellious when I try to make a reading plan to follow. I like your list though! You should knock out The Blue Castle this weekend. It is so charming, you will love it.


    1. I tend to be rebellious too, I think in my head I thought it I span it over so many years I’d be more likely to dip in and out of it. I shall try The Blue Castle soon!


  2. Looks as though you’re doing pretty well to me. I’d recommend Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum when you’re in a bit of a slump. I don’t think you can read the first page – with such an immediate, first person voice – and not be compelled to read on.


    1. I have that on my TBR priorities shelf, so I’ll make sure it’s high up on the list. I loved Life After Life so I know I’ll enjoy her writing.


  3. That’s not bad at all!! I love lists like this. I’m doing a 30 before 35 on my blog right now, and it’s fun (though I’m sure I will go into panic mode the month before, lol). It’s definitely pushing me to get to some stuff that’s been on my TBR a loooong time.


  4. You’re doing well, and have some great books still to look forward to. I don’t have a list like that because I’m trying to forget 30, even if getting lots of books read might lessen the blow. I do have to set goals sometimes, or just say ‘that’s it, I have to read [book] now’, and read it no matter my mood. A few I’d recommend are already on your list (The Blue Castle, GWTW, Great Expectations). I agree with Jenny. The Blue Castle is short and just so much fun.


    1. I’m definitely going to have to read The Blue Room now! Two recommendations from readers similar to myself means it’s a must. I’ll be getting some money for my birthday mid-month, I’ll get it then.

      This time next year, I’ll probably be wanting to forget about 30 too.


  5. That’s a great list of books, and a good variety of different styles. I also have ‘The Master and Margarita’ and ‘Blindness’ on my own tbr pile. If you’re looking for other recommendations, I was very taken with ‘A Heart So White’ by Javier Marias – it’s an exceptional book, loved by many.


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