There are certain books that stand out to me in different decades of my life. Here are some books that I loved when I was in my twenties.
Their Eyes Were Watching God-Zora Neale Hurston
Bastard out of Carolina-Dorothy Allison
The Woman Warrior–Maxine Hong Kingston
The Unbearable Lightness of Being-Milan Kundera
The Shipping News–E. Annie Proulx
Friend of my Youth-Alice Munro
The Bird Artist-Howard Norman
Jane Eyre-Charlotte Bronte
Cowboys Are My Weakness-Pam Houston
Anything by Laurie Colwin or Ellen Gilchrist
Cold Mountain-Charles Frazier
Refuge–Terry Tempest Williams
All of the Best American Short Stories collections
During my thirties, I got my masters’ degree, got married, and had two kids within twenty-one months of each other. I read a lot and met with my Book Club when I could, but honestly, when I made this list, I drew a total blank. I KNOW I read books during that ten-year stretch, but which ones? I did read a lot of “New Yorker” and “Us Magazines” as well as the whole Harry Potter series. I did love Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and Nobody’s Fool, by Richard Russo. Maybe some other books will occur to me, but right now it feels like a black hole.
Books I have loved in my forties.
I am back to reading voraciously, beginning with getting pregnant with my third child at age forty and sleeping terribly. Luckily, I had a Kindle and could download books at two in the morning when I just could not sleep. Here are some favorites a few years into my forties..
A Visit from the Goon Squad-Jennifer Egan
The Marriage Plot-Jeffrey Eugenides
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk-Ben Fountain. I do not usually like books about war, but this one haunted me for days. I loved it.
Skippy Dies-Paul Murray
Beautiful Ruins-Jess Walter
True Grit-Charles Portis
The Magician King-Lev Grossman
On Beauty-Zadie Smith
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I read the whole series but loved this one the best.
Wild:From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail-Cheryl Strayed
Blood, Bones, and Butter:The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef-Gabrielle Hamilton
Quiet-The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking-Susan Cain
Unbroken-Laura Hillenbrand. Another book about war that I loved.