My Fourth Decade of Reading

As my 40th birthday is zooming towards me at an alarming speed (5 days away!), I thought it might be fun to reflect back on some parts of my thirties. The easiest way to start is with books, since I’ve kept a meticulous list of my reading since 2000. So, between November 1, 2003 and today, I have read (drumroll, please)…

1917 books

That’s a lot of reading! My lowest year, 2005, I read 160 books. My highest year was 2006 with 230.

Starting with 2003, I’m going to list books that made a really strong (favorable) impression on me. No summaries or blurbs, just books that I either really enjoyed or which left a lasting impression on me, enough that when I scroll through those old lists, the title jumps out at me as memorable.

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
The Center of Everything, Laura Moriarty
The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Gloria Steinem
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
Passage, Connie Willis
Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
Doomsday Book, Connie Willis
Windfalls, Jean Hegland
Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, Thad Carhart
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon
Sleeping with Schubert, Bonnie Marson
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal, Christopher Moore
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris (best listened to on audiobook)
The Funnies, J. Robert Lennon
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Mary Roach
Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy, Lindsay Moran
Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
Becoming Madame Mao, Anchee Min
Citizen Vince, Jess Walter
Love Walked In, Marisa de los Santos
Self-Made Man, Norah Vincent
Once Upon a Day, Lisa Tucker
Beneath a Marble Sky, John Shors
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
The Rejection Collection, ed. Matthew Diffee
Beka Cooper Series (Terrier, Bloodhound, Mastiff), Tamora Pierce
What is the What, Dave Eggers
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
A Far Country, Daniel Mason
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill, Gretchen Rubin
How to Talk to a Widower, Jonathan Tropper
The Last Chinese Chef, Nicole Mones
The Warrior Elite, Dick Couch
Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen
Lottery, Patricia Wood
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
Fieldwork, Mischa Berlinksi
The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins
Thursday’s Children, Rumer Godden (okay, a reread, but one of my all-time favorite books)
Unaccustomed Earth, Jhumpa Lahiri
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains, Isabella L. Bird
Not Yet Drown’d, Peg Kingman
Moloka’i, Alan Brennert
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
South, Sir Ernest Shackleton
The House at Riverton, Kate Morton
Nocturnes, Kazuo Ishiguro
Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby
The Day the Falls Stood Still, Cathy Marie Buchanan
The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar
Blackout and All Clear, Connie Willis
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Helen Simonson
Room, Emma Donoghue
A Vintage Affair, Isabel Wolff
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson
The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist
Troubled Waters, Sharon Shinn
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
If I Stay, Gayle Forman
The Boglehead’s Guide to Retirement Planning, Taylor Larimore et al
Dune, Frank Herbert (reread, but an all-time fave)
The Wives of Henry Oades, Johanna Moran
State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, Melanie Benjamin
REAMDE, Neal Stephenson
The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
11/22/1963, Stephen King
A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep, Rumer Godden
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
Hitchers, Will McIntosh
The Chaperone, Laura Moriarty
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
What in God’s Name, Simon Rich
The Dog Stars, Peter Heller
Free Market Revolution, Yaron Brook & Don Watkins
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, Robin Sloan
Two-Part Inventions, Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Among Others, Jo Walton
Something Missing, Matthew Dicks
A Week in Winter, Maeve Binchy
The Soloist, Steve Lopez
The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier
Me Before You, Jojo Moyes
I Can’t Complain, Elinor Lipman
Wave, Sonali Deraniyagala
The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Liane Moriarty
Sight Reading, Daphne Kalotay
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
Night Film, Marisha Pessl

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