Saturday, August 6, 2011

30 "grown-up" books before 30

Over on my other blog I made my list of 30 goals to achieve before I turn 30 in a year and one of those goals was to read 30 books that aren't children's or YA fiction. It's so easy for me to get stuck in a reading rut, so I want to make sure I'm branching out and reading books that aren't in my usual genres. I've been working on a list, but it's still a work in progress. My biggest problem? Too many books to read. But, for now, I'm just going to get this list up here:

1. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (I've read this one recently, but Masterpiece Theater is doing a new version of it next year and I want to have it fresh in my mind. Gillian Anderson as Lady Havisham - creepy good, no?)
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (I'm allowed to revisit my favorite ever, right?)
3. To the Rescue by Heidi S. Swinton (President Monson's biography)
4. Seven Miracles that Saved America by Chris and Ted Stewart
5.I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
6.Watership Down by Richard Adams
7.The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
8. Till We Have Faces (C.S. Lewis's retelling of the Cupid/Psyche myth)
9.Woe Is I by Patricia O'Conner (a grammar book I've been meaning to read for some time)
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee(another revisit of an old favorite)
11. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
12. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
13. Camilla by Fanny Burney
14. Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley (the ill-famed sequel to Gone With the Wind - I told myself I wasn't going to read it but I don't think I can stay away. It's supposed to be terrible, but I need closure!)
15. The Power of Myth (another book by Joseph Campbell - I loved The Hero With a Thousand Faces so much I really want to try this one out)
16. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool
17. Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross
18. Mansfield Park (my least favorite Austen, so I think I need to give it another shot)
19. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
20. John Adams (Jon's favorite book by David McCullough - I should have read it ages ago, but it's so fat and intimidating... I think it's time)
21. Faust (Goethe's classic - I bought an English translation at a booksale a while ago and have been meaning to read it ever since)
22. Dracula by Bram Stoker (while I'm thinking of gothic literature from the romantic period I figured I'd throw this one in. I loved Frankenstein, so maybe this will be good too.)
23. Parenting With Love and Logic by Cline and Fay (I'm not much for self-help, but everyone keeps praising this one to the skies, so I think I'll give it a shot)
24. The Iliad by Homer (Never read it! I've read the Odyssey multiple times so I don't know why I keep avoiding this one)
25. And Then There Were None (my favorite Agatha Christie)
26. The Time Machine (I read the original Dystopian - 1984 - so I think I need to read this original time travel novel by H.G. Wells)
27. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (also been on my to-read list for a while)
28. These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
29. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
30. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

Fashion in the time of Austen by Sarah-Jane Downing
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (another Dickens novel - his unfinished one - which will be portrayed in next year's masterpiece season)
The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Belinda by Maria Edgeworth (an Austen contemporary)
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradybury
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Psychology of the Unconscious by Carl Jung
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston (book the movie 127 hours is based on)
Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
#1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ok. I'm stopping. This is just me brainstorming, but I already have too many! Which is why you might think I'm crazy for what I'm about to do...

Suggestions please?

Is there a book (not children's or YA) that you've read that you loved? Something not in my usual genre? Like a classic, a book club book, a non-fiction book, or a cookbook even. I'm looking for all sorts.

Also, while I'm asking for book recommendations, I need some recommendations for vacation books. I want to bring a few books on my cruise with me, but I haven't decided what yet. Something light and fun. Ideas?


Mrs. Mordecai said...

Books I love (which you may have already read):

Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. Actually I love everything by him.
Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier. Love! It's so creepy. It might make good vacation reading material.
Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl. It's about when she was food critic for NY Times and she had to disguise herself so restaurant staff wouldn't recognize her. I love this book; it's so funny! You can borrow it if you want.
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. I guess you could call this a teen book, but it seems less like that because it's so old. I love it because the main characters are so good and so hard-working, plus one of them plays the violin. :) I also like The Harvester by her.
Vilette by Charlotte Bronte.
•James Herriot's books. Actually these would be good for a cruise.
Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on their Toes by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. A family with twelve kids—of course it's hilarious!
Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson. This book is hilarious; you have to read it! Miss Buncle writes a book and puts everyone into her village in it, but no one can guess that she's the one who wrote it.
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers—I love this one for the humor and just the story.

Okay, I'll stop now. You can see some others of my favorites on my Goodreads favorites shelf.

If you want to borrow anything I have several of the books on your list. But I know you like to buy books. :)

Jess said...

I've gotten hooked on the Anne of Green Gables series and absolutely love it. Slipped Great Expectations in there too while waiting for one of the Anne books on hold and was sure perplexed by the end, but was glad I could say I'd read it!

Sonia B said...

I would avoid "The Kite Runner". There's a few on your alternate list I LOVE. "The Count of Monte Cristo" is one of my favorite . . . so much depth and so many twists. "Dandelion Wine" is by a sci-fi author, but is about his childhood. I personally love it, but some find it weird. And then "Atlas Shrugged" is awesome, but it makes me mad at the world ;) Thanks for the list . . . there's some there I will have to check out!!

Lindsay said...

I love love love the "44 Scotland Street" series by Alexander McCall Smith. I think there are maybe 6 books in the series right now. They are hilarious.

I also think you might like Jasper Fforde's "Thursday Next" series. They are funny, witty, and geared towards book lovers.

Katrina said...

I have read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The #1 Ladies Detective Agency and loved both of them. I have also read Thursday Next, that Lindsay suggested and liked it.
I don't know if you have read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or not, but I loved that book!

The Gilley's said...


I read These are my words, a couple summers ago and LOVED it! Have forgotten that I wanted to buy it. I also have read The Guernsey Lit and Potato Peel Society, and Major Pettigrew's Last Stand both are a cute/easy read. I might take a few of your suggestions/recommendations. Can I tell you one more time how much I love BOTH of your blogs?!?!

Teri Harman said...

My favorite light reads are Sarah Addison Allen books - any of them. Your blog is so cute! I love the header picture - is that a real room? - cause that is totally my dream library. Thanks for listing my blog on yours!!
Teri Harman
Book Matters

Bonnie Parks said...

This is actually Matt, not Bonnie.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is definitely different. I liked it, but it ended weird as I recall. It's an Africa classic.

Deathwatch by Robb White I enjoyed. It might be YA though, not sure. I read it in high school.

The Anatomy of Peace by Arbinger Institute. This is an easy read, but will make you think profoundly and in new ways about your relationships. A fictional "story" with amazing principles. I love this book.

The Peacegiver by James Ferrell. He's part of Arbinger Institute (see previous). Again an easy story to read and yet has thoughtful and interesting scriptural lessons for life. Very practically insightful on how the Atonement can work in one's life.

Anyway, there's a few.

Matt said...


I really liked The Kite Runner. However, the second book by that author, A Thousand Splendid Suns, was even better. Basically, if the Kite Runner tells the story from the boys perspective, the Thousand Splendid Suns tells the story of a girl growing up in Afghanistan. It's extremely good.

Another one I'd recommend is Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. It's a science-fiction book, set in 2025 (I think). Tells the story of a young boy sent to "Combat School" and how he survives and thrives. I just re-read it on our St. George trip.

Lastly, another one you might like is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It's definitely a long one, but tells the story of several families in Russia, with a special emphasis on the title character. It's a classic, definitely one to read at least once.

I've got a copies of all of these if you want to borrow them.