I am going to be thirty in less than a month, something I have mixed feelings about and may possibly keep pretending to myself isn’t happening. It’s not the getting older thing, I am not that bothered about that, it’s that feeling I had (which I have clearly held onto) from being at school and in my late teens that ‘by thirty you should know what you are doing with your life’ – I still have no idea. Anyway, that is by the by but being 30 does have something to do with books as the other day I muttered the worlds I have long used ‘oh that’s another book to read by the time I am 30’. The friend I was with flippantly quipped back ‘better hurry up then’ and I felt perplexed.
I think most book lovers have several lists in their heads at any one time (though of course this could just be me). First is the list of what you have just read, are reading and want to read pretty much next, second is the list of all those periphery books that you want to get your mitts on, third is the list of books for rainy days or to read as a treat, fourth are those books ‘you really should read before…’ Mine has always been books I should read before I am thirty. Oops, failed there.
These are books that as a reader part of me does genuinely want to read and also some of me feels I simply have to have read. These include some of the generic classics I have missed out on as yet like ‘Madame Bovary’, ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘Of Human Bondage’ etc as well as more modern novels like ‘Catch 22’. Do you know the sorts of books I mean?
Of course I can’t read all the books on my ‘to read before I am thirty’ (Dickens was one but I am now bored of the whole Dickens anniversary to the point it has officially put me off) list, especially as I said I would read by whim this year. But I think I will try and read three of them, one for each week I have left in my twenties. The first of these might just be ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank which I cannot believe I have almost reached the age of thirty and not read. I am mulling over the other two options, but mulling is good because I also want to create another list of novels, and here I need your help, as I want to create a list of 40 books I should have read by the time I hit forty. I know it is ten years away but that makes it rather manageable.
I would love you to suggest your very favourite books, choose a few that you think I should definitely read or you would recommend to anyone as a perfect read. They don’t have to be classics, they just have to be books you adore (and tell me why) in fact the lesser know ones along with some infamous ones might make a nice mix. I am thinking of books which it simply is a crime not to have read by then in your opinion. I will then compile a list of the forty to publish in my first week post thirty and start reading, four of these a year seems manageable.