Books To Read Before I’m 30

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.

Title Author
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
Emma Jane Austen
Persuasion Jane Austen
Fahrenheit-451 Ray Bradbury
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
Catch-22  Joseph Heller
The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
For Whom The Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway
Dune Frank Herbert
The Odyssey Homer
Les Miserables Victor Hugo
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo
Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro
Ulysses James Joyce
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
Atonement Ian McEwan
Moby-Dick Herman Melville
Winnie The Pooh AA Milne
Cloud Atlas David Mitchell
Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell
Anne of Green Gables LM Montgomery
Lolita  Viktor Nabokov
1984  George Orwell
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
Hamlet William Shakespeare
Frankenstein Mary Shelley
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
Dracula Bram Stoker
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

Jules Verne

Jules Verne

Jules Verne

Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
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.


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7 responses to “Books To Read Before I’m 30

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