30 Books You Should Read Before 30

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What books have made the most impact on your life? This list of 30 books you should read before 30 is a compilation of books that have left an impact on my life.

30 books you should read before 30.

We see these lists out there all the time – so many books/movies/foods/destinations to experience before a certain age. I read through these and wonder, who comes up with them? Why should I experience that before a specific age? Being a year older, will it really change what I think of it, or how it could impact my life?

Probably not. 

But they’re a lot of fun anyways! Since I’m turning 30 this Saturday, I thought it would be fun to share a list of one of my favorite things ever – Books. So if you’re not yet 30, these are the 30 books you should read before 30. 

If you are 30 or older…well I guess you’re out of luck. Don’t bother picking up any of these…. HA, totally kidding there. I think you all should read these too. 

3o Books you should read before 30

30 books you should read before 30

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  1. The Book of Mormon – Go ahead and roll your eyes. It’s OK. I’m kind of used to that reaction. Now hear me out. I believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. It’s OK if you don’t. But before you start judging people of another faith, mocking them, putting their beliefs down, why not delve into the core of their beliefs? So for me, that would be this book. Read it. Enjoy it. Let me know what you think after you do. 
  2. The Bible – Religious or not, The Bible has impacted millions of people across the centuries. It’s a good book, with much wisdom to be gained. I also happen to believe it to be the word of God, but again, if you don’t, well that’s your prerogative. Still, give it a read at some point in your life. 
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry – I read many books before this one, but this was the first that made a huge impact in the way I see the world. So do yourself a favor and read it. I’m looking at you, Nathaniel!
  4. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – A classic. This is a great one to read with your kids, just like my Mom did with me. 
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis – If you choose to read this series, and why wouldn’t you?, please start with The Magicians Nephew. I know it wasn’t written first, but it comes first and gives a great opening to the rest of Narnia. Just be prepared to start looking in every coat closet for a secret passage. 
  6. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander – another classic you should read. Especially if you watched the cartoon….please forget the cartoon ever happened.
  7. What Color is Monday by Carrie Cariello – It doesn’t matter if you have a child on the spectrum, Carrie’s words will inspire you to be a better parent, and see past any flaws – because we all have them – to the child and person we all are.
  8. The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob by Brooks Olbrys – One of the best children’s picture chapter books I’ve ever read. The kids stay enthralled, and the subtle messages are fantastic!
  9. Happy on Purpose by Diana Fletcher  – 365 daily inspirations to lead a happier life on purpose. I love this book because it reminds me I get to choose happiness.
  10. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Lemmon – If you think everyone in the middle east is evil and terrorists, you need to read this book. It opened my eyes to the real situation in the middle east, and the terror it’s own citizens face daily. This is the story of a family who found a way through and continued to live despite the fear. 
  11. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein – I grew up reading these poems. They are fantastic and full of wit. Break open this book anytime you need a good laugh. 
  12. FoxTrot Comics by Bill Amend – For no other reason is this on the list than the fact I collected them as a kid, and well…comics. Everyone should read some type of comic. So if not Foxtrot, find one you like. For Mark, it’s Pearls Before Swine.
  13. Letters by Marjorie Pay Hinkley – Wife to LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley, this compilation of letters from her life reminds women that no matter your status in life, you’re still human. 
  14.  Redwall by Brain Jacques – Mice, Badgers, and foxes battling over an Abbey – what’s not to love? 
  15. Twelve Months by Steven Manchester – You’ve just found out you only have 12 months to live. What would you do? Who would you see?
  16. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr – you had no childhood if you didn’t read “A told B and B told C, I’ll meet you at the top of the Coconut Tree. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, will there be enough room?” I kid I kid…sort of. Really though, if you haven’t read this children’s introduction to the alphabet, I think you’ll find it a fun one. 
  17. The Z was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg – yup, it’s another children’s alphabet book. I promise, though, this one is truly more of a work of art. Can you figure out what’s happening to each letter?
  18. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel – Do you ever get just a tad bored reading the same book over and over to your child before bed? The rhythm of this book will keep you and your children entertained. 
  19. The Marenon Chronicles by Jason D Morrow – a newer author, I have loved everything he’s written. His first series, however, will always be my favorite. What happens when we die? Is it possible, we just go on to live in another world? 
  20. Have Tux, Will Travel by Bob Hope – Confession time. I actually don’t care if you read this specific book, although I did enjoy it. This spot is solely here to tell you to read at least one biography. Pick someone you admire, and read their life story! 
  21. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke – Book 1 in a culinary adventure series. These books are filled with murder and of course a few really good recipes!
  22. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry – Every story needs a good back story, including Peter Pan. I could not put this one down. 
  23. Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac – An interesting look at the Navajo Indians who served as code talkers in WWII
  24. Behind the Smile by Marie Osmond – If you’ve suffered post pardum depression, you’ll take comfort knowing that others have to. After my first experience with PPD, I read this book to help prepare for potential future occurrences. It was a place I could turn when I felt I had no one else to talk to. 
  25. Harry Potter by JK Rowling – if you haven’t read these by now, consider me impressed! The movies are equally great, but if you’ve not read the book, you’re missing out on some fantastic additions to the story. 
  26. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – I know many people who have tried to read these, but have a hard time with the long descriptions. Yes they are long, and sometimes you might find your eyes glazing over trying to get back to the storyline, but can this really be a list of books you should read, without adding one of the greatest works ever written? I did read them, and enjoyed them, I’m just trying to be honest in how some people may find them. 
  27. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – another fantastic adventure of fantasy. You’ll enjoy getting lost in the world of the Mistborn. 
  28. The Watchers by Deirdra Eden – Everyone, no matter how small they may think they are, have been endowed with power. We just have to search for it, and then live up to it. 
  29. Revolution in a Bottle by Tom Szaky – ever wondered what happens to all those plastic bottles, candy wrappes, and soda cans you throw away? What if there was a way to truly reuse it, and reduce our waste? Tom came up with an outstanding idea that has taken off with Terracycle. This is his story. 
  30. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel – an exciting adventure of a boy and a tiger adrift at sea. Or is it? You’ll have to read this book and decide for yourself. 

Finished reading this list and need another suggestion? Check out the Book of the Month selections

 What would you add to this list of 30 Books you should read before 30? Leave me a comment and I’ll check it out.

20 thoughts on “30 Books You Should Read Before 30

  1. Fantastic list, it thrills me to see the Prydain Chronicles on there. They should be a must read by 15 IMHO. Also where the sidewalk ends, I learned how to read on that book.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this list, Gabriel! I agree that the Prydain series should be read as early as possible.

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