35 Comments

  1. Rod Rodriguez
    September 25 @ 3:34 pm

    First, happy birthday! Second, great list, thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  2. Pete Grant (@peterman828)
    November 25 @ 9:22 pm

    Ur missing all of harukis other books ! Hah.

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      December 5 @ 12:59 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! I just got Strange Library in the mail. You can look forward to a review soon!

      Reply

  3. Reyyan Erguder
    December 31 @ 1:50 pm

    I would definitely add something from Proust or Zweig, but great list! And thank you for liking my post, hope you enjoyed reading it!

    Reply

  4. lnlaue08
    January 24 @ 1:48 am

    Already 30 but I will have to start reading this anyways 🙂 haha

    Reply

  5. pinklightsabre
    February 7 @ 8:51 am

    Ah, The Road…and that damned, confounded House of Leaves book. What a mindF?! I read that for a period of time I stopped drinking and it probably led me back. But how bizarre. I like your tastes and wow, all this before 30! Superb.

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      February 7 @ 10:15 am

      Seriously. Did you hear Danielewski has a new book coming out in May? Here is the link: http://goo.gl/FpJ6DG in case you need a reason to keep off the wagon. And deep down I think most of these should be before 40, but I met someone who read House of Leaves as a teen and loved it, so I decided to include it. Plus a lot of my former students read this blog and this is a decent list to aspire to if you find it in your early 20s.

      Reply

  6. pinklightsabre
    February 7 @ 8:52 am

    BTW, read Cormac McCarthy’s first last year, the Orchard Keeper, which was exceptionally exceptional and odd. You might like that if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet. Best, – Bill

    Reply

  7. Jessica Manuel
    February 7 @ 10:16 am

    I will check it out. Would it be a good read for a ladies book club? I’m trying to decide on our next pursuit and I loved The Road but haven’t read any of his other stuff.

    Reply

  8. theschmaxy
    March 23 @ 7:02 pm

    Kurt Vonnegut!

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      March 23 @ 7:24 pm

      You know I have never had the pleasure. I own Cat’s Cradle but have yet to read it. Is that the best one to start with?

      Reply

      • theschmaxy
        March 23 @ 7:27 pm

        Cat’s Cradle is great to start with. I’d also highly recommend Breakfast of Champions. He’s very unique, and I think all of his work is great to read if you want to improve your writing.

        Reply

        • Jessica Manuel
          March 23 @ 7:34 pm

          Thanks for the recommendation! I really appreciate it.

          Reply

          • Dominominic
            August 17 @ 11:26 am

            Vonnegut’s “Mother Night” is phenomenal. One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. It’s a deft examination into whether what we are can be separated from what we do. “Bluebeard” is another favourite of mine.

            Reply

            • Jessica Manuel
              August 17 @ 7:01 pm

              I want to read Mother Night yesterday. It sounds fantastic. I will let you know when I do.

              Reply

  9. 30 Books to Read Before You Turn 30 | Observe. Record. Share.
    April 9 @ 8:41 am

    […] Learn more […]

    Reply

  10. Opher
    June 27 @ 8:48 am

    Aaah!!! You’re much too late! And I’ve only read half of them!! I’ll try and catch up!
    Best wishes
    Opher

    Reply

  11. Sarah
    July 10 @ 12:18 pm

    Excited to see that I’ve already read quite a few of these! I’d also probably want to add Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood and I’m still avoiding Infinite Jest, though I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually. 🙂

    Reply

  12. Ink Pastries
    July 24 @ 8:18 am

    I’ll trust the rest of your suggestions since Screwtape Letters is on your list. ; )

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      July 24 @ 8:23 am

      Ha! Thanks! I think everyone should read that one. It’s so eye opening.

      Reply

  13. Opher
    July 24 @ 8:35 am

    Well so far I’ve managed 15 of those. But what about great stuff like One Flew over the Cuckoos nest, The Magus, or Midnights Children? Women in Love, Stranger in a Strange Land, Midwich Cuckoos, The Wasp Factory, The L-Shaped Room, For Whom the Bell Tolls, …………….

    Reply

  14. Kilaya
    July 28 @ 6:58 pm

    I, too, am a fan of screwtape letters. I would add The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault, another sleeper extraordinaire.

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      July 28 @ 7:01 pm

      That book stays with you. And I have not had the pleasure of reading Mary Renault. I’ll check it out! Thanks.

      Reply

  15. educatingyourchiildren
    August 1 @ 12:00 pm

    to kill a mockingbird and huckleberry finn are classics that are not to be missed. they teach great lessons.

    Reply

  16. laurainman
    August 5 @ 3:24 pm

    Here are two books that changed my life: “Animal Liberation” by Peter Singer and “the Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” by William Irvine. Regarding literature, I am a Bronte scholar, so I would insist on “Wuthering Heights” and, to fully appreciate that book and its author, I would add my book, “The Poetic World of Emily Bronte.”

    Reply

    • Jessica Manuel
      August 5 @ 3:30 pm

      Thank you so much for your input. I would love to check out your work.

      Reply

      • Opher
        August 5 @ 4:29 pm

        All the best – Opher

        Reply

  17. trusting the muse
    August 6 @ 2:55 am

    That’s very impressive, Jess! I wouldn’t have had the patience to read some of those books in my twenties (or thirties).

    Reply

  18. vincentcarlos
    January 24 @ 12:53 am

    good list:) Quiet, Start with Why, and Moby Dick were favorites of mine:))

    Reply

  19. Michael Wenberg
    February 25 @ 9:59 am

    Nice list. You might want to give “The World Beyond Your Head” by Matthew Crawford a go. It is the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in years. Don’t overlook Wallace Stegner’s fiction. Best regards.

    Reply

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