40 Books to Read Before I Turn 40

40 Books to Read Before I Turn 40

‘My philosophy of life is that if we make up our mind what we are going to make of our lives, then work hard toward that goal, we never lose – somehow we win out. ‘ {Former President Ronald Reagan}

As my thirtieth birthday loomed closer, I sat down and wrote a list of experiences I wanted to have before that momentous birthday. I was not able to complete that list in total, but it was nevertheless fabulous, fun, and a wonderful learning experience. Now that I am thirty, I find myself planning and looking over my next ten years – where I will be, I just don’t know … but I what I will be reading is a clear as day.

1. ‘Taming of the Shrew’ by William Shakespeare
2. ‘The Three Musketeers’ by Alexandre Dumas
3. ‘Gone with the Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell
4. ‘Tomorrow Will Be Better’ by Betty Smith
5. ‘The Perks of Being a WallFlower’ by Stephen Chbosky
6. ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People’ by Toby Young
7. ‘Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank
8. ‘Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple, #1)’ by Agatha Christie
9. ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac
10. ‘The Age of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton
11. ‘Zelda’ by Nancy Milford
12. ‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov
13. ‘Moby Dick’ by Herman Melville
14. ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo
15. ‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks
16. ‘The Prince’ by Niccolò Machiavelli
17. ‘Brideshead Revisited’ by Evelyn Waugh
18. ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates
19. ‘Years of Grace’ by Margaret Ayer Barnes
20. ‘The Invisible Man’ by H.G. Wells
21. ‘The Time Machine’ by H.G. Wells
22. ‘Profiles in Courage’ by John F. Kennedy
23. ‘The Misfits’ by Arthur Miller
24. ‘Mildred Pierce’ by James M. Cain
25. ‘MiddleMarch’ by George Eliot
26. ‘The Great Train Robbery’ by Michael Crichton
27. ‘The Killer Angels’ by Michael Shaara
28. ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe’ by Fannie Flagg
29.’The Giver’ by Lois Lowry
30. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E.B. White
31. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak
32. ‘Franny and Zooey’ by J.D. Salinger
33. ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream’ by Hunter S. Thompson
34. ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce
35.’The House of Mirth’ by Edith Wharton
36. ‘Tender is the Night’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald
37. ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ by Emmuska Orczy
38. ‘The Second Sex (Le deuxième sexe #1-2)’ by Simone de Beauvoir
39. ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ by George Orwell
40. ‘Mythology’ by Edith Hamilton


PS> Let me know if any of these books interest you specifically, and maybe we can read them together a la a virtual book club!

6 thoughts on “40 Books to Read Before I Turn 40

  1. I do not have a single one of your book recommendations on my goodreads list! My goodreads is going to be exploding with all this goodness. Thanks, Casee.

  2. Love this idea! I actually recently grabbed a huge stack of books from my shelves that have been on my list for ages, books that I think will influence me a lot as a writer, and they’re now sitting in a towering heap on my dresser, determined to be read. Off the top of my head I know there’s Norwegian Wood, To the Lighthouse, The Beautiful and the Damned, The Marriage Plot, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Hours, The Interpreter of Maladies, and Snow. My bookish bucket list has a few of your titles, too – especially Lolita, it continues to bother me that I’ve never read it. I read Gone with the Wind when I was about sixteen and it was my favorite. I highly recommend Franny and Zooey too, of course. Salinger was brilliant!

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