CONTENT

Books Everyone Must Read Before They Turn 30
'On the Road' by Jack Kerouac

This roller coaster of a book follows Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty on their journey across North America in their quest for self-knowledge and experience, fuelled by poetry, jazz and drug use. This classic novel on freedom and longing is a definitive work of what constitutes the Beat Generation.

'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Regardless of your personal philosophy, there will be times when the world pushes against you and you wonder why it's worth trying to better yourself and help others.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel is not only a gripping story, it's an argument against the nihilism that was popular among Russian intellectual circles in his time.
"Crime and Punishment" is the tale of a 23-year-old man named Raskolnikov who, acting on a nagging urge, murders two old women and then struggles with processing the act.
Dostoyevsky argues that rationalism taken to its extreme ignores the powerful bonds that connect humanity and give us responsibility over each other.

'Anna Karenina'  by Leo Tolstoy

While it might seem excruciatingly long, Tolstoy's evocative narrative will keep you hooked to this intricate tale of the politics of relationships and love. You will find yourself feeling deeply involved in the worlds and minds of the complex characters. Anna Karenina' s triumph lies not just in Tolstoy's impeccable and heartbreaking portrayal of the protagonist and the stark drama of her fate, but in it's exploration of the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life.

'The Little Prince' by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

As many a psychologist would tell you, being a mentally healthy person requires integrating your childhood into your adulthood.
There is probably no greater expression of childhood wonder and sorrow than "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Drawing on the author's experiences as an aviator in Africa, the book follows a young prince as he visits increasingly surreal planets.
"Of all the books written in French over the past century, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's 'Le Petit Prince' is surely the best loved in the most tongues," writes New Yorker critic Adam Gopnik.

'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

Hailed as 'The American Novel' To Kill A Mockingbird is about having the courage to stand by your convictions. Narrated through the ingenuous eyes of a child, this novel explores the importance of integrity and duty when faced with intolerance and injustice. With a message of anti-racism at its core, Harper Lee breaks down stereotypes with finesse and teaches a thing or two about being respectful to our fellow human beings.

 'Between the World and Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Obliviousness is acceptable when you're an adolescent, but it's dangerous when you're old enough to undertake the responsibilities of voter, citizen, and boss. According to the NYPL librarians, this celebrated National Book Award winner will help you grapple with the realities of racism in America and, if this is a topic you were able to avoid when you were younger, push you to empathize with fellow Americans with very different experiences.
'Midnight's Children' by Salman Rushdie
In Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie deals with the portrayal of India's vast cultural identity in the post-colonial times laced with magic realism, and he does so with elan. The narrative traces the course of Saleem's life which is inextricably linked with that of his motherland, and every act of his is mirrored in the events that shape the newborn nation of India. The beautiful and complex language that Rushdie employs in his novel brings to life the curious characters and lush imagery.
'Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life' by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Bryan's list is heavy on self-help books about practical problems (not being broke, finding the motivation to do what you know you need to) that crop up when it's time to get serious about adulthood. Check it out if that's your main interest, but here's one useful-sounding pick that addresses a common issue--the struggle to say no.
"Whether you are looking for help emotionally, physically, or mentally, Boundaries is the book you want to read," he says. The authors "give you the blueprint for setting clear boundaries in any facet of your life."

'A Little Life' by Hanya Yanagihara
Speaking of empathy, if you're looking to expand yours even further, several recommenders suggest this massive but highly readable novel (I barely put it down once I started it) about four friends making their way in New York City after graduating college.
It sounds like an innocent-enough premise, but the reality lurking behind the familiar surface is devastating. "The author picks away at our ability to understand grief and depression, challenging the reader to be more and more empathetic. And your 20s is a better time than any to hone the oft-overlooked trait of empathy," writes the Huffington Post's Katherine Brooks. (Warning: This is polite way of saying it'll leave you feeling completely emotionally crushed.)
'The Power of Myth' by Joseph Campbell
An American student of the psychologist Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell spent his life revealing the connections between the world's faith and folk traditions. He developed the idea of the monomyth, which states that all myths have the same basic structure, from Moses to Odysseus to Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter.
"The Power of Myth" is a wide-ranging conversation between Campbell and the broadcast journalist Bill Moyers. Conducted at the end of a decades-long career, the interview format serves as an introduction to Campbell's eye-opening perspective — that purposefully or not, we are living out myths in our lives.

Sign up to write amazing content

OR