This is part two of my list of 30 books to read before you’re 30 (the big day is coming around all too quickly for me…). If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here. So, without further delay, here are numbers 16 – 30:
16. The Old Man and The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
This is a beautiful, calming story which really put my life and petty worries into perspective. A joy of a book.
17. Animal Farm – George Orwell
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” – need I say any more? Everyone has heard of this novel, and everyone should read it.
18. Dracula – Bram Stoker
What a story! This book chilled me to the bone and showed me the true power of horror writing.
19. Jane Eyre -Charlotte Bronte
This book is here – not only because I love everything by the Brontes – but also because it taught me how I didn’t want to behave in a relationship. I saw Jane as a pushover, and knew I could never act that way – though even so the ending makes my knees weak!
20. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
I couldn’t include Jane Eyre without the antithesis Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth taught me to be brave and speak my mind, regardless of what friends and family might be saying.
21. The Book Thief – Marcus Zusac
A stunning but absolutely heartbreaking story. I read it when the book came out and it has stayed with me ever since – although I haven’t been able to bring myself to read it again.
22. Ulysses – James Joyce
This looks daunting because of its length, but the stream of consciousness made me feel for the first time ever as though I was in someone else’s head. Disquieting!
23. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
Beautiful and moving, this book made me think deeply about love, the futility of war, parenthood and numerous other themes.
24. MacBeth – William Shakespeare
My favourite of Shakespeare’s plays, this is rife with action, exciting characters (who doesn’t know about Lade Macbeth or the witches?) and plenty of memorable quotes. Everyone should read at least one Shakespeare play, and this is the best.
25. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
Oh, what a book. This taught me that a book can be far more entertaining than a horror movie. Review here.
26. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
This book should be part of the National Curriculum. As it’s not, read it before you’re 30.
27. The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
The last lecture Randy Pausch gave before he died, this will make you rethink everything and realise what you truly value in life.
28. Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
An honest depiction of mental illnesses and their effect on everyone. Review here.
29. Les Liaisons Dangereuses- Choderlos de Laclos
This book is not just here for the story – it’s also for the political and social outrage and change words can cause. Banned in many countries, it eventually led the way to a societal shift on how sex and adultery were understood.
30. The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
I couldn’t write this list without including Harry Potter, and I couldn’t choose between those books either. They all have to be here. I grew up with these, and they have shaped the person I am today.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the list. Let me know if you think there are any I’ve missed!