Books to read before you are 30


I have A LOT of reading to do if I need to meet this deadline!!

1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – A powerful story about the 
importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an 
understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment.
2. 1984 by George Orwell – 1984 still holds chief significance 
nearly 60 years after it was written in 1949.  It is widely 
acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government 
which uses pervasive, 24/7 surveillance tactics to manipulate all 
citizens of the populace.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The story surveys the
controversial issues of race and economic class in the 1930’s Deep
South via a court case of a black man charged with the rape and
abuse of a young white girl.  It’s a moving tale that delivers a
profound message about fighting for justice and against prejudice.
4. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – A nightmarish vision of
insane youth culture that depicts heart wrenching insight into the
life of a disturbed adolescent.  This novel will blow you away…
leaving you breathless, livid, thrilled, and concerned.
5. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway – A short, powerful
contemplation on death, ideology and the incredible brutality of
war.
6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – This masterpiece is so enormous
even Tolstoy said it couldn’t be described as a standard novel. 
The storyline takes place in Russian society during the Napoleonic
Era, following the characters of Andrei, Pierre and Natasha… and
the tragic and unanticipated way in which their lives interconnect.
7. The Rights of Man by Tom Paine – Written during the era of the
French Revolution, this book was one of the first to introduce the
concept of human rights from the standpoint of democracy.
8. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – A famous quote
from the book states that “Man is born free, and everywhere he is
in chains.”  This accurately summarizes the book’s prime position
on the importance of individual human rights within society.
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – This
novel does not have a plot in the conventional sense, but instead
uses various narratives to portray a clear message about the
general importance of remembering our cultural history.
10. The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin – Few books have had
as significant an impact on the way society views the natural world
and the genesis of humankind.
11. The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton – A collection of
thoughts, meditations and reflections that give insight into what
life is like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a greater
power than ourselves.
12. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Gladwell looks at how a
small idea, or product concept, can spread like a virus and spark
global sociological changes.  Specifically, he analyzes “the levels
at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”
13. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham – Arguably one of the
best children’s books ever written; this short novel will help you
appreciate the simple pleasures in life.  It’s most notable for its
playful mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie.
14. The Art of War by Sun Tzu – One of the oldest books on military
strategy in the world.  It’s easily the most successful written work
on the mechanics of general strategy and business tactics.
15. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – One of the greatest
fictional stories ever told, and by far one of the most popular and
influential written works in 20th-century literature.  Once you pick
up the first book, you’ll read them all.
16. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – This is a tale that
lingers on the topic of attaining and maintaining a disciplined
heart as it relates to one’s emotional and moral life.  Dickens
states that we must learn to go against “the first mistaken
impulse of the undisciplined heart.”
17. Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot – Probably the wisest poetic prose
of modern times.  It was written during World War II, and is still
entirely relevant today… here’s an excerpt: “The dove descending
breaks the air/With flame of incandescent terror/Of which the
tongues declare/The only discharge from sin and error/The only
hope, or the despair/Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–/To be
redeemed from fire by fire./Who then devised this torment?/Love/
Love is the unfamiliar Name/Behind the hands that wave/The
intolerable shirt of flame/Which human power cannot remove./We
only live, only suspire/Consumed by either fire or fire.”
18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – This book coined the self-titled
term “catch-22” that is widely used in modern-day dialogue.  As for
the story, its message is clear: What’s commonly held to be good,
may be bad… what is sensible, is nonsense.  Its one of the greatest
literary works of the 20th century.  Read it.
19. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Set in the Jazz Age
of the roaring 20’s, this book unravels a cautionary tale of the
American dream.  Specifically, the reader learns that a few good
friends are far more important that a zillion acquaintances, and
the drive created from the desire to have something is more
valuable than actually having it.
20. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This novel firmly
stands as an icon for accurately representing the ups and downs of
teen angst, defiance and rebellion.  If nothing else, it serves as
a reminder of the unpredictable teenage mindset.
21. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A smooth-flowing,
captivating novel of a young man living in poverty who criminally
succumbs to the desire for money, and the hefty phychological
impact this has on him and the people closest to him.
22. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – This book does a great job
at describing situations of power and statesmanship.  From
political and corporate power struggles to attaining advancement,
influence and authority over others, Machiavelli’s observations
apply.
23. Walden by Henry David Thoreau – Thoreau spent two years, two
months and two days writing this book in a secluded cabin near the
banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts.  This is a story
about being truly free from the pressures of society.  The book can
speak for itself:  “I went to the woods because I wished to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if
I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.”
24. The Republic by Plato – A gripping and enduring work of
philosophy on how life should be lived, justice should be served,
and leaders should lead.  It also gives the reader a fundamental
understanding of western political theory.
25. Lolita – This is the kind of book that blows your mind wide
open to conflicting feelings of life, love and corruption… and at
times makes you deeply question your own perceptions of each.  The
story is as devious as it is beautiful.
26. Getting Things Done by David Allen – The quintessential guide
to organizing your life and getting things done.  Nuff said.
27. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This
is the granddaddy of all self-improvement books.  It is a
comprehensive, easy to read guide for winning people over to your
way of thinking in both business and personal relationships.
28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding – A powerful and alarming
look at the possibilities for savagery in a lawless environment,
where compassionate human reasoning is replaced by anarchistic,
animal instinct.
29. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Steinbeck’s deeply
touching tale about the survival of displaced families desperately
searching for work in a nation stuck by depression will never
cease to be relevant.
30. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – This
anticommunist masterpiece is a multifaceted novel about the clash
between good and evil.  It dives head first into the topics of
greed, corruption and deception as they relate to human nature.
31. BONUS:  How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman – 900 pages of
simple instructions on how to cook everything you could ever dream
of eating.  Pretty much the greatest cookbook ever written.  Get
through a few recipes each week, and you’ll be a master chef by
the time you’re 30.
32. BONUS:  Honeymoon with My Brother by Franz Wisner – Franz
Wisner had it all… a great job and a beautiful fiancée.  Life was
good.  But then his fiancée dumped him days before their wedding,
and his boss basically fired him.  So he dragged his younger
brother to Costa Rica for his already-scheduled honeymoon and they
never turned back… around the world they went for two full years. 
This is a fun, heartfelt adventure story about life, relationships,
and self discovery

Less than a year- OUCH! Maybe I can just not 30 till I have read these?! I am only 15 years old if they represent a book for each year of my life- somebody wanna get me all these for my next birthday and I can go through them one by one, and for the 15, again? 😉

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