You know when you read those 100 books to read before you die lists, and you’ve never even heard of half of the books, and it makes you feel even guiltier for not having heard of these books, let alone read them, and it just makes you feel bad about everything in your life?
No? Just me? Okay.
So this year, I thought I would read some of the books that I feel like I should’ve read by now. But when I was looking at lists of books everyone should read, lots of them were books I’ve never heard of. So if I’ve never heard of them at all, I don’t feel like I should have read them.
I was talking to my younger sister about this, and she said she was kind of feeling the same. We did some research into best books lists, and found that most of the titles on the lists didn’t ignite that ‘yeah, I’ve always felt like I should read that’ feeling that we were thinking about.
So we combined the best of those lists with a few ideas of our own, to create a list of 100 books that we feel like we should’ve read by now, and now we’re both trying to read some or most or all of them in the next few years.
My own personal goal is to finish all the books on this list before I turn 30, which is two and a quarter years away. I’m not sure what Sinéad’s idea is. If she has until she turns 30, she’s got three years more than me, and that seems manifestly unfair.
But, that said, I’ve always been too dedicated to this sibling rivalry thing.
In any case, here’s my list of 100 books to read before I’m 30. I’ve read some of them before, so I will consider rereading if it’s been a few years. If they’re recent enough to have been counted on this blog, then I’m not counting them.
A few notable exceptions to this list – His Dark Materials and Harry Potter. There were a few reasons why these are left off. The first is that Sinéad and I have both read all of them already. The second is that this book is mainly aimed at reading more classics, and neither of those series are really old enough to count as classics yet.
That’s not to say that every book on this list is at least a hundred years old – that’s certainly not the case – but that’s a little bit of background.
In any case, this is my self-set and sister-shared challenge, of books I will try to read before I’m 30. I’m going to create a page (much like The Lists) to keep track over the next few years, but because this is only a blog post, I’ll put the full list here too.
|Watership Down||Richard Adams|
|Little Women||Louisa May Alcott|
|The Handmaid’s Tale||Margaret Atwood|
|Sense and Sensibility||Jane Austen|
|Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austen|
|Jane Eyre||Charlotte Bronte|
|Wuthering Heights||Emily Bronte|
|A Clockwork Orange||Anthony Burgess|
|The Secret Garden||Francis Hogson Burnett|
|A Little Princess||Francis Hodgson Burnett|
|Tarzan of the Apes||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland||Lewis Carroll|
|The Canterbury Tales||Geoffrey Chaucer|
|Captain Corelli’s Mandolin||Louis de Bernieres|
|Don Quixote||Miguel de Cervantes|
|Robinson Crusoe||Daniel Defoe|
|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?||Philip K Dick|
|Oliver Twist||Charles Dickens|
|David Copperfield||Charles Dickens|
|A Tale of Two Cities||Charles Dickens|
|Great Expectations||Charles Dickens|
|A Christmas Carol||Charles Dickens|
|Crime and Punishment||Fyodor Dostoyevsky|
|The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes||Arthur Conan Doyle|
|Rebecca||Daphne Du Maurier|
|The Three Musketeers||Alexandre Dumas|
|The Count of Monte Cristo||Alexandre Dumas|
|Invisible Man||Ralph Ellison|
|The Sound and the Fury||William Faulkner|
|The Great Gatsby||F Scott Fitzgerald|
|Madame Bovary||Gustave Flaubert|
|Diary of a Young Girl||Anne Frank|
|Memoirs of a Geisha||Arthur Golden|
|Lord of the Flies||William Golding|
|The Wind in the Willows||Kenneth Grahame|
|The Maltese Falcon||Dashiell Hammett|
|Tess of the D’Urbervilles||Thomas Hardy|
|The Scarlet Letter||Nathaniel Hawthorne|
|The Old Man and the Sea||Ernest Hemingway|
|For Whom The Bell Tolls||Ernest Hemingway|
|Les Miserables||Victor Hugo|
|The Hunchback of Notre Dame||Victor Hugo|
|Never Let Me Go||Kazuo Ishiguro|
|A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man||James Joyce|
|Finnegan’s Wake||James Joyce|
|One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest||Ken Kesey|
|The Jungle Book||Rudyard Kipling|
|The Unbearable Lightness of Being||Milan Kundera|
|A Wrinkle in Time||Madeline l’Engle|
|Lady Chatterly’s Lover||DH Lawrence|
|To Kill A Mockingbird||Harper Lee|
|The Chronicles of Narnia||CS Lewis|
|The Call of the Wild||Jack London|
|One Hundred Years of Solitude||Gabriel Garcia Marques|
|Winnie The Pooh||AA Milne|
|Cloud Atlas||David Mitchell|
|Gone With the Wind||Margaret Mitchell|
|Anne of Green Gables||LM Montgomery|
|Animal Farm||George Orwell|
|The Bell Jar||Slyvia Plath|
|Good Omens||Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman|
|Atlas Shrugged||Ayn Rand|
|Swallows and Amazons||Arthur Ransome|
|Midnight’s Children||Salman Rushdie|
|The Little Prince||Antoine du Saint Exupery|
|The Catcher in the Rye||J D Salinger|
|The Grapes Of Wrath||John Steinbeck|
|Of Mice and Men||Charles Dickens|
|The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde||Robert Louis Stevenson|
|Treasure Island||Robert Louis Stevenson|
|Kidnapped!||Robert Louis Stevenson|
|Gulliver’s Travels||Jonathan Swift|
|The Lord Of The Rings||JRR Tolkien|
|The Hobbit||JRR Tolkien|
|War and Peace||Leo Tolstoy|
|Anna Karenina||Leo Tolstoy|
|The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn||Mark Twain|
|The Prince and the Pauper||Mark Twain|
|The Adventures of Tom Sawyer||Mark Twain|
|Around the World in Eighty Days
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
|The Colour Purple||Alice Walker|
|Infinite Jest||David Foster Wallace|
|Charlotte’s Web||EB White|
|The Once and Future King||TH White|
|The Picture of Dorian Grey||Oscar Wilde|
This list is alphabetical, so I probably won’t read them in this order, but in any case, this is my list of goals for before April 13th, 2020.