30 Before 30!

As my 29th birthday is imminent, I’ve recently been wondering how to make the last year of my twenties significant. There’s an abundance of things I’d love to do before reaching my thirties- seeing the Northern Lights being a prime example- but, given my current precarious financial situation, it’s highly implausible I’d attain any of them!

As a self-confessed bookworm, my thoughts immediately turned to books. Having already completed the challenge of reading the equivalent of a book a week during 2012, achieving (a quite laudable, I think) 50 out of 52, I decided that a challenge of a literary nature would be more attainable, far cheaper, and notably less scandalous than some of the ideas I was contemplating! Although I’ve probably consumed hundreds of amazing books through the years, there are many great ones that I still haven’t read, either because the subject matter doesn’t appeal to me, or I’ve just ‘not got round to it’ yet. Thus, I decided that my challenge would involve reading books that I feel I ought to have read before reaching 30. And so, ‘30 Before 30’ was born…

Selecting 30 books to read in a year was actually more difficult than I’d envisaged- many contemporary works, the majority of classics, and a lot of seminal texts have already formed part of my degrees. Whilst I managed to compile a list of around 15, I was struggling to think of others; the Guardian’s 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read list is good as a checklist, but involves seemingly endless research! In the end, Facebook friends came to my rescue. After requesting book recommendations, I received a fair few ideas to help me complete the first stage of my challenge. Unfortunately, not everyone’s recommendation made it onto the list (sorry to anyone whose suggestion didn’t- I will endeavour to read them at some point, even the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades…!), but I did try to use as many as possible, concentrating on just fiction in order to make it easier.

As a result, my final list consists of a combination of fiction I really want to read before reaching the big 3-0, and other people’s recommendations. There’s a decent variety of books, from classical literature to teenage fiction, and I intend to blog about every single one!

Here’s the definitive ’30 before 30′ List:

1. The Odyssey- Homer

2. The Master and Margarita- Mikhail Bulgakov

3. The Secret History- Donna Tartt

4. Murder on the Orient Express- Agatha Christie

5. Song of Solomon-Toni Morrison

6. Possession- AS Byatt

7. The Shining- Stephen King

8. Norwegian Wood- Haruki Murakami

9. Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy

10. Brave New World- Aldous Huxley

11. The Satanic Verses- Salman Rushdie

12. Fingersmith- Sarah Waters

13. Lady Chatterley’s Lover- DH Lawrence

14. Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy- Helen Fielding

15. The Old Man and the Sea- Ernest Hemingway

16. The Color Purple- Alice Walker

17. 1984- George Orwell

18. The View from Castle Rock- Alice Munro

19. The Famished Road- Ben Okri

20. The Poisonwood Bible- Barbara Kingsolver

21. The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

22. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of a Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson

23. Jamaica Inn- Daphne du Maurier

24. Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle – Vladimir Nabokov

25. Shadow of the Wind- Carlos Ruiz Zafon

26. House of Leaves- Mark Z.Danielewzi

27. The Wasp Factory- Ian Banks

28. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece- Annabelle Pitcher

29. The Cuckoos Calling – Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

30. The Name of the Rose- Umberto Eco

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Wish me luck!

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3 thoughts on “30 Before 30!

    • 🙂 That’s amazing! I probably read loads more when I was a student, but it’s difficult when you have a full-time job and are trying to maintain your social life. Maybe you should challenge yourself to read 84 again?!

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