My 40-By-40 Reading List

About ten years ago a good friend of mine said she was trying to get to thirty countries before she turned 30. I loved the idea and tried but didn’t quite make it (I got to 24). Having a baby at the age of 29 kind of put a halt to my foreign holidays.
The other day I saw that Capture by Lucy is aiming to complete her 35 before 35 to do list and initially it made me sad that I am too old to do that.

But then I had a brainwave. I’m trying to read more – I used to fly through books – but now rarely have the time. I can get through a real page turner in a week or so. But anything intellectually stimulating seems to just make me fall straight asleep these days.

So my big idea is to read 40 good books by the time I hit 40! I have three years to get this done. 36 months for 40 books. Manageable, right? OK, so I  will have to put my mind to it, but I am sure I can get it done.



In the years between Number Two being born and getting pregnant with Number Three I read a reasonable amount of books, ‘Possession’ and ‘The Children’s Book’, both by A. S. Byatt, included. I know I am able for something more high brow that Nick Hornby (no offence to Nick Hornby. I love his books). Recently I even got round to reading ‘Death of A Salesman’, which was on my books-to-read-someday list for years.
At the moment I am reading Mary Kenny’s revised version of her biography of William Joyce, a.k.a. Lord Haw-Haw. After I have finished it, these are the books I plan to move on to:
1 Wolf Hall – I own this for years now and haven’t got very far with it so far. Worth another try.
2 Bringing Up The Bodies – I own this too but need to read Wolf Hall first, of course
3 The Goldfinch – I have been reliably told that it is an excellent read
4 Middlemarch – I loved the BBC version in 1994 and own the book
5 Robinson Crusoe – I have this too. The bookmark is still in it 3/4 way through. I dont know why I didn’t finish it.
6 Bambi – the original book, not the Disney version, in German. I own this for seven years now and have still not read it.
7 The Water Babies – my dad read this to us as children and I remember I loved it. I just don’t remember much about it. I bought a gorgeous 19th century hardback version for a treat a few years ago but didn’t get far with reading it.
8 The Wind in the Willows – I have heard the tales of Mole, Toad and co. as a bedtime story and seen it on TV but I want to read it for myself. We have two beautiful hardback copies – one belonging to Number One, the other a christening present for Number Three – so it is not like I have to go searching for the book.
9 Dracula – The Bavarian has a copy of this and I have been meaning to read it for years.
10 Er Ist Wieder Da (Look Who’s Back) – this controversial farce is something I want to at least try reading. I may hate it and stop but I want to give it a chance. The Bavarian enjoxed it, my friend E. hated it. What will I make of it, I wonder?.

Books 11 to 40 are yet to be decided upon. I want to leave myself the option of reading books that are yet to be published. I would hate to feel I have to read certain books when I would really love ot be reading others I have just discovered.

If you have any suggestions of reading material (novels please. I am not much of a textbook reader), I would be thrilled if you left me a comment.

7 thoughts on “My 40-By-40 Reading List

  1. Have you read any Ann Tyler? Her stuff is excellent, full of fantastically real people. I think “Dinner at the Homesick Cafe” would be right up your street.

  2. Thanks for the tip Martina. I have heard of Anne Tyler and I am fairly sure I have read a book of hers but it wasn't 'Dinner At The Homesick Cafe'. I'll check it out.

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