Category Archives: 40 Series

40 Books to Read Before You’re 40

My 40 birthday is coming up soon, so when LibraryThing tweeted out a list of 40 Books to Read Before You’re 40, I was very curious to see how I did. But I was sorely disappointed! I’d only read 1. I don’t know who the user who put this list together (aprille) is, but I have to really disagree with the choices. Most of the books on the list are one’s I’m not even interested in reading.

So I though I ought to make my own list. They are listed in the order I thought of them. I tried to be as neutral as possible towards genre, when I picked these. Frankly it would have been easy to fill the list with Science Fiction or Young Adult books, but I tired not to put too many from any one category on the list.

There are some books I absolutely love that didn’t make the list, because I just didn’t think they had broad enough appeal. Take Battlefield Earth for example, I loved it and thought it was a sweeping book with a little bit of everything in it. However, I’m pretty sure it’s appeal is mostly to science fiction readers and it’s not a book I would recommend to a wide audience. Fahrenheit 451, is also a science fiction book and I would say even if you’re normally a science fiction reader I’d still tell you to read it. Which is why one made the list and the other didn’t.

You also won’t find my very favorite book of all time on this list. Why? Because it’s too niche. But if you’re curious, Dream Thief is the book and I’ve read it more than 8 times. I love the sci-fi setting, the dream elements and the Indian folklore.

Quite frankly, I don’t love every book on this list. They are on the list because I think they are important or true classics or they are books that helped shape me in some way.

40 Books to Read Before You’re 40

  1. Holy Bible
  2. Fahrenheit 451
  3. Hatchet
  4. The Hobbit or There and Back Again
  5. The Lord of the Rings
  6. Holes
  7. The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution of the United States
  8. Night
  9. Ender’s Game
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  11. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  12. The Cross and the Switchblade
  13. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  14. Jurassic Park
  15. The Outsiders
  16. Pilgrim’s Progress
  17. Winnie-the-Pooh
  18. This Present Darkness
  19. Hamlet
  20. Tom Sawyer
  21. Heart of Darkness
  22. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  23. A Christmas Carol
  24. Of Mice And Men
  25. Frankenstein
  26. The Call of the Wild
  27. Rendezvous with Rama
  28. I Saw Three Ships
  29. A Sherlock Holmes Mystery
  30. The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury
  31. Uncle’s John’s Bathroom Reader
  32. God, Money and You
  33. Your Life, God’s Home
  34. Clod Makes A Friend
  35. The Odyssey &
  36. The Women of Troy
  37. On Writing Well
  38. How to Clean Practically Anything
  39. A Biography of someone you admire, my choice would be Our Daily Bread; The Essential Norman Borlaug
  40. A poetry book by your favorite poet mine is Elizabeth Barret Browning, but if you don’t have a favorite poet I would suggest reading 101 Famous Poems.

Whew! What a list to try to create! I went over and over my book reviews, my shelves and got lots of suggestions from friends and family. Next up the books the suggested books for reading before you’re 40… I’m not going to be able to read all of them before my birthday but it was really interesting to see what everyone suggested.

How many of these books have you read? Got in books you’d suggest? Let me know in the comments.