My 40 Must Reads
Earlier this month, I mentioned my anxiety about turning the big four-oh, which is a mere five days away. The list I made, of books to read in my 40th year, was fun to create and has helped me shift to a more positive view of the next decade of my life.
After lining up important books I want to read in my 40th year, it occurred to me that it’s just as important to honor the books that have made me who I am over my first four decades.
My list spans from my childhood all the way up to this month. These are books that have influenced me in some major way, and I highly recommend all of them. So here they are in no particular order:
40 Must Reads From My First 40 Years
Watership Down – Richard Adams
To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street – Dr Seuss
Naked – David Sedaris
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
All Around the Town – Mary Higgins Clark
Circle of Friends – Maeve Binchy
The Gold Cell – Sharon Olds
Until I Find You – John Irving
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Blunt
The Joy of Appreciative Living – Jacqueline Kelm
The Four Agreements – Miguel Ruiz
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
This is How – Augusten Burroughs
The Reader – Bernard Schlink
The Stand – Stephen King
Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
A Time to Kill – John Grisham
The Scarlet Letter – Nathanial Hawthorne
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
There is No Good Card For This – Emily McDowell
State of Wonder – Ann Patchett
Where the Heart Is – Billie Letts
There’s a Monster at the End of This Book – Grover
Good Morning – Brooke Noel
So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – Jon Ronson
Love Walked In – Marisa de los Santos
Poetry of Rumi
The Value of Believing in Yourself – Spencer Johnson, MD
An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
The Book of Essie – Meghan MacLean Weir
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Are You There God, it’s me Margaret – Judy Blume
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Modern Romance – Aziz Ansari
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Sherman Alexie
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Dogs of Babel – Carolyn Parkhurst
This list wasn’t as easy to make as I expected. I was super picky about which titles made it. It isn’t only about being a “favorite” book or even an incredibly good book, though a few of each are on here. All forty of these books have stayed with me long after I read them, in some cases years or even decades. If I’ve ever read a book more than once for my own enjoyment, it’s on this list.
Many of these books shaped who I am in a pivotal way. Some crossed my path at an important time in my life to help me process or reflect on traumatic experiences, some simply healed my broken heart.
I made an effort to only include an author once on this list, so it’s safe to say that most of these authors have written other books I’ve enjoyed as well.
I hope you like my list, and I’d love to hear which books have made you who you are!
Doree WellerAugust 20, 2018 at 8:16 pm
Lots of great books on this list!
AnonymousAugust 21, 2018 at 3:02 am
Great list – and I’m living proof that there is life beyond the big four-ohh!. I’m close to clocking up three decades on from that magic age, and life couldn’t be better.
My book list is a bit boring compared to yours, but some of the books I have read many times are:
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Tess of the d’Urbevilles – Thomas Hardy
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Other favourites are:
Cry of the Curlew – Peter Watt
The Four Fires – Bryce Courtenay
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – Katarina Bivald
Cave in the Snow – Vicki Mackenzie
Living With Max – Chloe Maxwell
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
True Spirit – Jessica Watson
Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
Quiver Full of Arrows – Jeffrey Archer
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt
I won’t even start on the thousands of academic books I read over my thirty-plus years of teaching. I lived for the summer holidays when I could read a novel! Now that I’m retired, I can read whatever I like – and I’m loving it.
Ramona MeadAugust 21, 2018 at 7:39 pm
That’s a great list. I almost had Twilight on mine too! Most of your others, I haven’t read. My husband keeps telling me I should read The Woman in White, maybe this year!
Ramona MeadAugust 21, 2018 at 7:39 pm
Thanks, friend! I’ve been watching your favorite book posts lately 🙂
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