I’m already hard at work on my 40 before 40 list. Because I read so much, I decided to do a second list with forty books that I want to read before I turn 40. I’ve been working on this list for a couple of weeks and I’m finally ready to share it. I asked friends on Facebook to share their suggestions and a few made it to the final list. Big thanks to the Nerds and Cat for their feedback once I had the list in draft form. After many revisions, I’m really looking forward to all forty titles. Some are new selections and others are books that I want to read again at a different stage of my life.
Generally, I prefer very light books. Cozy mysteries and romantic comedies are my go-to genres. Funny memoirs also work. An occasional binge on memoirs from people who escaped extreme religions. When asking for book recommendations, I am always very specific: I do not want to feel sad or scared on purpose. I’m broadening those parameters for this list and including some that I’ve avoided for those reasons.
Without further ado, here is the list.
All titles are Amazon affiliate links. If you use the links to make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Which will go toward buying the books on the list, course.
A Room of One’s Own – DONE
I recently read (and loved) A Window Opens and it made me think about this title. I’ve never read it and it was one of the first additions to the list.
And Then There Were None – DONE
I love a good mystery and I’ve never read any Agatha Christie. When compiling the list, I consulted many “books everyone should read” lists and this was mentioned multiple times.
Anne of Green Gables – DONE
One of my absolute favorite books growing up. I want to read it again as an adult. Perhaps the entire series.
Assassination Vacation – DONE
I saw Sarah Vowell on Colbert once or twice and thought she was a delight. It’s been a TBR for me for a while. Amy recommended it for this list and it was an auto-add for me.
Bossypants – DONE
This currently holds the title of my favorite memoir that David Sedaris didn’t write. I want to re-read it and see if I laugh as much as I did the first time. Tina Fey is my #1 celebrity BFF and I would probably pass out if I met her. I don’t think my brain could handle it.
Bridget Jones’s Diary – DONE
A favorite during my 20s. I want to see what I think as a woman on the brink of 40. (I did love the sequel when I read it last year.)
Code Name Verity – DONE
I had The Hunger Games on the list. When a couple of friends said that it was meh, I knew it needed to come off the list. Amy recommended this and she knows what I like. Then, to make it even sweeter, I got it on sale on Amazon for $1.99.
Coming Clean – DONE
This book is on the list because it scares me for very personal reasons.
Dark Places – DONE
I loved Gone Girl. Then I read Sharp Objects. I am still scarred from that book. (No horrific pun intended.) Heather recommended it and I still yell at her for it. I have refused to read Dark Places because it sounded even scarier. Then I saw the movie trailer and oh hell no. Then, this list. I decided to try and be scared on purpose.
Good Omens – DONE
I read this many years ago and laughed my butt off the whole time. It’s time to see if it has the same effect the second time.
Great Expectations – DONE
I don’t remember reading any Dickens. (And I took Brit Lit as an undergrad, so how can that be?) Cat said this was a good one. And so I shall read it.
I’ve never read the Harry Potter books. It’s time. If I like it, I’m sure I’ll go through the whole series.
I’ve read pieces of this and it’s incredibly powerful. It’s time to read it in its entirety.
In Cold Blood – DONE
Never read it and I want to.
Jane Eyre – DONE
Read it as a teen. Time to read it with adult eyes.
Little Women – DONE
I’ve never read this. It’s Rachel Green’s favorite book, and a bunch of other people recommended it.
Lucky – DONE
Recommended by Amy. This one scares me. I’m not good with stories about child abuse and/or rape. Let’s see if I can get through this one.
Madame Secretary – DONE
Cat recommended so highly that I can’t wait to read it.
Me Talk Pretty One Day – DONE
I love David Sedaris. I decided to re-read one of his older memoirs and this was the winner.
Middlesex – DONE
Always wanted to read it.
Outlander – DNF (I gave it 120 pages. I can give it no more.)
People have been recommending this one for a while. I bought the whole series on Kindle when it was on sale once, so if I like it, I can binge read.
Psycho-Cybernetics – DONE
I have zero interest in this book, but my husband has been hounding me to read it for years. This one is for him.
Rebecca – DONE
Recommended by many friends.
Room – DONE
Another one that scares me.
The Wakefields have been in my life for most of my reading years. This list would be incomplete without them.
The Bell Jar – DONE
It’s time to re-read.
The Chosen – DONE
Recommended when I asked on Facebook. I read it in high school and definitely want to read it again as an adult.
The Color Purple – DONE
One of the most powerful books ever written. I can’t wait to read this again.
The Ghost Bride – DONE
This made a lot of appearances on book lists, so I thought I’d give it a try.
The Gifts of Imperfection – DONE
I wanted to add something by Brene Brown and Emily recommended this one.
The Happiness Project– DONE
I added this after I couldn’t finish Outlander. This is one of my favorite books, so I wanted to reread it.
The Little Prince – DONE
I haven’t read this in a long time.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – DONE
Recommended by Amy and it looks incredible.
Raves from so many when it came out. It’s been on my Kindle, ignored, for ages.
I remember when Cat read this, she said it wrecked her. I immediately decided never to read it as I don’t like to be sad on purpose. And that’s why it is on this list.
The Pleasure of My Company – DONE
I loved this book when I read it the first time.
The Secret Garden – DONE
Another childhood favorite that I want to experience again.
The Shining – DONE
This one is being purchased in paperback and I’m keeping it in the freezer.
Tiger Eyes – DONE
This was my absolute favorite Judy Blume book growing up. I can’t wait to read it again.
To Kill a Mockingbird – DONE
Time to read it again.
Wrinkle in Time – DONE
Recommended by Christine and I’ve never read it.