30 Books to Read Before 2030
Obviously, there are a lot of books that are yet to be written that I am sure I will want to read. But I’ve fallen quite far behind on my reading of the classics. So today’s 30 before 2030 includes many popular reads of the 17th-20th century.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen ✔
Yes, I know. How have I not read this? I’ve read every other completed story by Jane Austen, except this one. Hopefully, in the next ten years, I will finally get around to it.
Howard’s End by E.M. Forster
I started this book at the beginning of 2019 but never finished it. Since I’ve never read an E.M. Forster book I would like to finish either this one or read A Room with a View within the next decade.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ✔
Another classic I know and love the story of but have yet to read the actual book.
The Secret History by Donna Tartt ✔
I’m currently reading this, but finding it a bit of a slog. I’m waiting to see if it picks up and see why it is classed as a modern classic.
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker ✔
As is no surprise, I love greek mythology retellings, so of course, this is on my to-read list.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
I’ve been meaning to read something by Sarah Waters for years! Tipping the Velvet is set in Whitstable, Kent near my hometown and I would love to see how she describes it.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
I’ve only ever read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck at school and I would really like to read more of his work. East of Eden is famous for the movie starring James Dean, but I would really like to read the book before seeing the film.
Animal Farm by George Orwell ✔
Another author I’ve yet to read. Animal Farm is based on Russia in the run-up to World War One. I studied that period of history during school and university, and yet I’ve never read Animal Farm. How?
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte ✔
The under-rated, under-appreciated Bronte sister who I’ve yet to read. The irony of that statement is not lost on me. I love the story of the Bronte sisters and I’m desperate to make it through their entire catalog of works. Next up: this book!
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
A 1960s story about sex, drugs, and show business. What’s not to love?
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A classic teenage-angst novel written in the 1940s by a famously reclusive author. An obvious choice for me.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys ✔
I love Jane Eyre and this is the inspired prequel, following Antoinette Cosway, the creole-born heiress who married Mr Rochester years before Jane was even in the picture. It gives a previously ignored character a voice.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Written in the 1960s and adapted into a classic movie starring Jack Nicholson. I’ve never actually seen the film, but I would like to read the book beforehand.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
This modern classic is supposedly a work of art. Focusing on both India’s transition from British Colonialism to independence, but also containing magical realism elements.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
A massive read about the famous Becky Sharp. This is the Regency-era version of Gone With the Wind in my mind.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton ✔
I recently discovered this book when I watched a documentary about Patrick Swayze. One of his first movie roles was as the older brother in the film adaptation of this story of brothers.
Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
I loved The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham and I recently visited the school where W. Somerset Maugham’s ashes are buried and was told that Of Human Bondage was primarily inspired by the school itself. As such, this is now high up on my to-read list.
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell ✔
Anyone who has seen the TV mini-series adaptation of this book will know that Richard Armitage is the perfect man and therefore I must read this book. Yes, I know how vapid that is.
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
I really want to read more of the Bronte’s work since I find them so fascinating as a family. This was the book that most readers recommended I try of Charlotte’s, after reading Jane Eyre. But first Anne!
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ✔
I’m really looking forward to this read. It will be the first modern-day book I’ve read that’s set in the 1960s. Not to mention it follows a band using only letters and conversations to track their crazy rock’n’roll story. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this book have loved it, so I look forward to trying it out myself.
Note: I read this recently and LOVED it! I highly recommend you listen to the audiobook.
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker ✔
I feel like this was a classic my school just ignored – make of that comment what you will. I feel like I would have loved to have studied this when I was younger but I’m going to make up for that by reading it in the next ten years.
Tidelands by Philippa Gregory
I really enjoyed the Cousins series by Philippa Gregory but I haven’t read a Philippa Gregory book in a while. This is the first book for me that has seriously piqued my interest. I shall be ‘borrowing’ this from my mum who got it for Christmas just gone.
Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
A book I tried to read when I was younger but stopped because I found it too sad. I’m hoping to go to Amsterdam in the next few years and I feel like when I do that, that will be the time to read this diary.
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I loved The Secret Garden when I was younger, it was my first classic read but I’ve never read A Little Princess. I adored the movie growing up, although I know it’s nothing like the book. I’m still hoping I’ll enjoy this read and the story of Sara Crewe.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
I know very little about this book but it’s a classic that gets mentioned casually in conversations and it’s piqued my interest.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg ✔
This novel is set in Birmingham Alabama and tells the story of the Threadgoode family, namely Idgie Threadgoode and her friend Ruth, from two perspectives. We’re learning of the story from Ninny Threadgoode, Idgie’s sister-in-law who is in a care home in the 1980s but we see things happening from lots of different character perspectives.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai ✔
My mate Rob gave me this book for Christmas and claimed it was his favourite read of 2019. That’s enough of a review for me.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgernstern
I adored The Night Circus when I read it at university and I was desperate to read whatever Erin wrote next. It’s been a long time coming but fingers crossed this book is just as lyrical and magical as her debut.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This is a read that I feel like I missed the boat on. About three years ago everyone was reading and talking about this book. I’ve seen people burst into tears because of this book. I need to read it!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater ✔
And finally, I wanted to mention a YA series that has intrigued me for a long time but I’ve yet to get to. I haven’t read a YA series in years but I think when I get the urge to do so again this will be the series I choose.
So there we have it: 30 books to read before 2030. What books are on your list?