30 Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30

30 Books You Should Read Before You Turn 30
09 Aug

Happy National Book Lovers Day! In honor of bibliophiles young and old, here are 30 books everyone should cross off their TBR list before hitting the big 3-0.

A dynamic duo merrily bumbles through the galaxy (like many 20-somethings) in this much-beloved tale, discovering the answer to life, the universe and everything along the way.

Even the acclaimed, chilling Hulu adaptation doesn’t quite measure up to experiencing the Republic of Gilead through Offred’s horrifying, convincing narrative.

This pioneering, award-winning book changed the game of science fiction when it was first published in 1969, introducing readers to the alien world of Winter, where inhabitants choose (and change) their gender at will.

By now, you’ve almost certainly heard of Malala Yousafzai, the young woman who was shot in the face by the Taliban at age 15 and is now the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Prize. No matter how much you’ve already heard, it’s well worth reading the full story in her own words.

Austen’s most famous work opens with perhaps one of the best lines in literary history: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” It only gets better from there.

In her first memoir, now widely regarded as required reading, Angelou confronted a more-than-difficult childhood and came out singing—and you will too.

Just published in 2016, this debut novel set in a modern Southern California black community weighs the choices that follow us throughout our lifetime in a completely unique way.

Storyteller-essayist Sedaris spins some of his most uproarious and most insightful observations in this collection of writings about his life as a recent transplant to Paris (in 2000).

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

After the convergence of her mother’s death, her family’s near-dissolution and her divorce at 22, Strayed hit the thousand-plus miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to find herself again.

Everyone’s favorite funnywoman pulls back the curtain on what it’s really like to be a woman (and a boss) in comedy.

At age 36, neurosurgeon-in-training Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. His much-lauded account of the transition from doctor to patient earned him a posthumous honor as a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A (fictional) Nigerian immigrant’s blog about race in America takes off, and her life in the States changes—but when she returns to her native country, she finds she’s no longer at home in either community.

The French philosopher’s lengthy examination of womanhood deserves a read, or at least a skim.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

More than 50 years old now, this novel still resonates with those of us working against The Man—or trying to.

The title says it all—this memoir tells the story of unthinkable events unfolding in the life of a young writer who soon discovers that the list of things within her control is quite short.

Fates and Furies has made many a best-of list, and for good reason. It covers decades of a marriage that begins with a bang, before the partners slowly discover that they cannot really know one another.

Passion. Murder. Prison. Revenge. The Count of Monte Cristo has it all.

If you haven’t yet ventured into the realm of Middle-Earth, The Hobbit is the natural entryway—and if you have, it’s worth revisiting.

In a letter to his young son, Coates attempts to answer the biggest questions that he’ll face growing up as a black American.

In this truly original debut novel, a geisha recounts the haunting story of her life, from her childhood in a small fishing village to being sold into slavery as a geisha.

Beware: This classic antiwar novel may cause you to get a “so it goes” tattoo.

Anything by Morrison is worth reading, but her colorful account of Milkman Dead’s coming of age is not to be missed.

With a thoroughly millennial title, Koul presents an essay collection for the generation that tends to think nihilistically.

The first in Ferrante’s beloved series about a life-changing friendship, the ending of My Brilliant Friend will have you running to the library for the next installment.

This Pulitzer Prize winner imagines a world where slaves escaped from captivity via a literal underground railroad.

For those who are over the dystopian trend, this post-apocalyptic novel will do the trick.

Follow four generations of a Korean family as they struggle to find identity as history happens around them.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Oprah chose this story about an intersex child for her book club. Need we say more?

After losing her husband, Didion works through her grief and recounts the story of their marriage in moving detail.

One of the best American novelists writing today, Patchett’s latest work spins the semi-fictional tale of an ever-changing family (loosely based on her own) through the years.



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