Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Books Before 30

So, a couple days ago, Jamie from Ermahgerd Berks and Beth from BethJune327 did videos called "30 Books Before 30" where they listed 30 books that they wanted to read before they turn 30. Even though I'm only 20, I thought it would still be fun to list 30 books that I want to read before I turn 30. These aren't necessarily the books that are right there at the top of my TBR. Instead, these are books that I would feel embarrassed about not having read by the time that I'm 30. Some of these are important because of my personal taste, others because of my academic interests, others because of the issues they address, and others because I'm just extremely late to the party.

The books in the list almost all fall into distinct categories, so I decided to go ahead and divide the list up that way as well, rather than trying to list from most important to least important.

The Complex Marathons
(AKA big/complex books)

#1: Infinite Jest
by David Foster Wallace

This is one that I plan to tackle sooner rather than later. I've had this on my TBR since May, and I'm still really interested in reading it. First off, it's a dystopian, which I love. I also really love that it's extremely complex. I've heard so many good things about this book, and so not only is it a challenge, but also it just sounds really good! 

Why before 30? I just feel like I want to read it at a time when reading really intellectual books is impressive rather than expected. Not that I want to go bragging about how intellectual I am...

#2: Under the Dome
by Stephen King

The TV show has me intrigued, so I'm definitely curious to get to read this. It is, of course, very massive, but it seems really fast-paced and exciting so maybe it won't seem like it's as big as it is. I mean, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is really long, but it's not a boring book at all.

Why before 30? It's honestly just because it's so huge. It's a challenge. And I want to complete it. 

#3: S.
J.J. Abrams

I was completely intrigued when I first heard about this book. The basic premise is that it's kinda a book within a book. I believe the book is at a coffee shop or some other public place, and these two people begin to write back and forth to each other in the margins of the book. And so you have both the story on the actual pages and the story unfolding between these two strangers. I think that's just insanely cool.

Why before 30? It's because I think this is one of those books that I can put off really easily. First off, it's really complex, which sometimes is a drawback when I just want a fun read. Also, I think that if this book was just the actual book without the added factor of the people writing back and forth to each other, I wouldn't be interested in reading it. So I find myself thinking about how the main book isn't exactly my cup of tea and push off reading it, even though the full premise sounds intriguing.

Music Books

#4: Musicophilia
by Oliver Sacks

I started trying to read this last year, but only got about 1/4th of the way through. It wasn't that I didn't like it, because I was enjoying it, but I feel like whenever I read non-fiction, I need some fiction between sections so that I don't get tired of the topic.

Why before 30? This is one of the most prominent music and psychology books, and I should really read it, given the fact that I'm a music and psychology major. Spoiler alert: this is going to be the reason for most of the music books I'm going to list.

#5: Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy
by Robert Jourdain

This is another music/psychology book, and the blurb is actually what pulled me in. It seems like Jourdain has a pretty easy-to-read writing style, which I always appreciate in a non-fiction book. I read these books because I'm genuinely interested, not because I'm taking a class on it, so I'm really not interested in something that's going to feel like a textbook. 

Why before 30? Once again, this is a pretty well-known music/psych book, and even though I find them incredibly intriguing, I push them aside for more fun reads. 

#6: The Music Instinct
by Philip Ball

There's a famous quote by a psychologist named Steven Pinker where he tried to claim that music was "auditory cheesecake" and tried to say that it's not actually important... and he told this to a room full of music psychologists. And I thought people with doctorates are supposed to be smart? Anyway, I would love to read a book that tells me why we can't live without music.

Why before 30? Again, it's a popular music/psych book that I just need to get to.

#7: The World in Six Songs
by Daniel Levitin

I read and loved Daniel Levitin's first book, This Is Your Brain on Music. This book is a little more culturally based as opposed to psychology based, but it sounds extremely interesting nonetheless.

Why before 30? Do I really need to say it at this point? See above.

#8: The Rest is Noise
by Alex Ross

This one is slightly different from the music books before it because it's actually about music history rather than music and psychology. And it's specifically about the twentieth century, which is my favorite period of Western art music.

Why before 30? After my undergrad work, I plan to continue on to grad school and study musicology with a focus in 20th century music. So I really should probably read this before 25. Actually, probably before 22, to be honest. 

#9: Listen to This
by Alex Ross

This is another book by Alex Ross (obviously), and rather than focusing on just the 20th century, it takes a very broad look at music history. And it doesn't just look at art music. It branches out to popular music as well.

Why before 30? If I'm going to get a degree in musicology, I should probably read as many music history books as possible, even if it's for no other purpose than just brushing up on my music history knowledge.


#10: The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Honestly, I'm kinda embarrassed about not having read it before the age of 20. As a fan of fantasy and a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, I should have read this book by this point. I'm pathetic.

Why by 30? Because I can't think of anything more embarrassing than being 30 and having to tell someone that I haven't read The Hobbit.

#11: The Lord of The Rings Trilogy
by J.R.R. Tolkien

I really want to read these. I tried to read the first one back in 8th grade and got confused because I couldn't figure out who any of the characters were, and couldn't really keep track of what was going on. And I haven't really tried to read them again in the seven years since then. So I really need to just read them.

Why before 30? Oh wait, I found something more embarrassing than being 30 and admitting that I hadn't read The Hobbit... being 30 and admitting that I hadn't read Lord of the Rings.

#12: Codex Alera
by Jim Butcher

Regan from PeruseProject talks about this series all the time, and it just sounds absolutely fantastic. Even though I really enjoy high fantasy, I haven't read a ton of high fantasy series. And that just needs to change. 

Why before 30? Because I want to get this read within the next year!

#13: Mistborn Series
by Brandon Sanderson

Once again, I heard about this from Regan from PeruseProject. And it sounds fantastic. And I need to read more high fantasy.

Why before 30? Because I want to read this ASAP!

#14: The Chronicles of Prydain
by Lloyd Alexander

I absolutely love the Disney movie, The Black Cauldron, that is based upon this series. I've heard that it's actually only based upon the first couple books or that it's really loosely based upon the books, but I still really want to read them. I actually started trying to read the first book. I got almost halfway through, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I put it down. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't in the mood. 

Why before 30? Because I have all of the books, and it just needs to be done. Each of them is less than 200 pages. It shouldn't be a struggle to get through these. Seriously.

#15: A Song of Ice and Fire Series
by George R.R. Martin

I really want to read these. Really badly. I plan to read them all in 2014 (fingers crossed). This is one of the most popular high fantasy series ever, and I this is one bandwagon that I really need to jump on. And even though I generally love big books, I'm kinda intimidated by these books. They're just so big and epic!

Why before 30? Because I want to see the TV show, and I refuse to do that before reading the books.

#16: The Kingkiller Chronicle
by Patrick Rothfuss

I've heard so many amazing things about these books. Everyone who reads The Name of the Wind seems to love it. Also, both of these books have an average Goodreads rating of 4.5. Do you realize how impossibly good that is?! 4.5. SERIOUSLY.

Why before 30? Because this is next on my TBR and I want to read them insanely badly.

#17: Throne of Glass Series
by Sarah J Maas

I've just heard so many amazing things about this series, and it seems like so many people love it, and I want to be one of those people. Strong female lead FTW!

Why before 30? Because I want to read the series while it's still in progress!

#18: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series
by Douglas Adams

I've been told by many people that I would enjoy this book and that I would really enjoy the humor in it. Plus, it's classic sci-fi, which is definitely a necessary read for me. 

Why before 30? Just because I want to, honestly.

#19: The Hunger Games Trilogy
by Suzanne Collins

Yes, I have not read the Hunger Games trilogy. I know, I know, heresy. But I have a good reason. Kinda. So my friend (who's not a big reader) told me how great this book was back in like 2009, before they got super big. And I didn't trust his opinion because he didn't read so I assumed he didn't know the difference between a good book and a bad book. But then it blew up and I didn't want to jump onto another Twilight-esque bandwagon, and I heard that a lot of people didn't really like Mockingjay. So why bother, if the ending was going to be terrible. Also, basically the entire end of the series had been spoiled for me. So why bother? But at this point, I realize that I just need to suck it up and read it because it's dystopian and I'll probably love it.

Why before 30? Because it should have been before 20. It's time.

#20: Hercule Poirot Series
by Agatha Christie

Not all of the books in this series are pictured, but this picture does show all of the books in the series that I own. I've already read 8 of the 39 books in this series, but I think that by the time I'm 30, I want to have the entire thing finished. And they're all pretty short, so this should be completely doable. 

Why before 30? Because Agatha Christie is amazing, and I want to read all of her books.


#21: Animal Farm
by George Orwell

I actually can't believe that I haven't read this book already. I really enjoyed 1984, and so I really want to read this as well.

Why before 30? Because I really need to read it long before then, or I'll be really embarrassed.

#22: A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess

This kinda runs right between counting as a classic dystopian and a modern classic, but either way, I really want to read it. I was supposed to read it for one of my classes sophomore year of college, and I really wanted to read it, but with all of the weird words that were made up for the book, I really didn't want to try to read the entire thing in a couple days.

Why before 30? Because I love the movie and I know I'll really enjoy the book.

#23: We
by Yevgeny Zamyatin

I only recently learned about this book from a video that Ariel Bissett did where she talked about it. Dystopian's my fave, and this is a classic dystopian, so I need to read it. 

Why before 30? It's such an influential book that I feel like I need to read it before I'm 30.

#24: Black Beauty
by Anna Sewell

Horses are my favorite animals, and they always have been. When I was 10, my room had horses on the walls and I had horses everywhere. When I was little, every single one of my Barbies had their own horse. I had the illustrated classics version of this book and read it countless times. It was my favorite book as a kid. However, the illustrated classics are very edited and adapted, so I've never read the real book. And I really should.

Why before 30? I read the kids' version so many times before I turned 10 that I'd be embarrassed if I hadn't read the real one by the time I'm 30.

#25: Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut

My roommate has recommended this book to me so many times, so I feel like I really need to get to it because it does actually sound like a book I would enjoy.

Why before 30? I think I just feel like any classics I read need to be read before the age of 30, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because reading a classic in your 20s is seen as an intellectual thing, while reading more influential literature is more expected when you get older? IDK, I just feel like I should read it soon. 

#26: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite Disney movies and it's just so trippy and crazy and once again, I can't believe that I haven't read it yet.

Why before 30? Because I feel like the older I get, the less likely I'll be to fully enjoy it.

#27: The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

I've heard so many people say how absolutely amazing this book is, and I really just need to get on reading it because I've had it for a while and so many people are saying that it's a modern classic and that it should be taught in high schools, so I need to see what this is all about. Also, I want to see the movie. 

Feminist Literature

#28: The Feminine Mystique
by Betty Friedan 

I had to read a little bit of this for one of my classes and it was just so great and I want to read the whole thing.

Why before 30? As a feminist, I feel like this is necessary reading.

#29: The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood

This is a dystopian feminist novel. Need I say more?

Why before 30? Again, required feminist literature.

#30: The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath

I feel like a broken record here. Required feminist literature.

Why before 30? See above!

So there you go! Those are the 30 books that I want to have read by the time I'm 30! What books do you want to read by the time you're 30? Let me know in the comments!

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