There are some books that are particularly poignant at certain moments in our lives. They're the coming-of-age stories we turn to for insights on life, love, and loss at pivotal moments of transition and self-discovery. While the phrase "coming-of-age" probably conjures up images of rebellious teenagers, contrary to popular belief, the genre isn't limited to readers under thirty. Just as Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird are timeless tomes for teens, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Mary Gaitskill's Bad Behavior are must-reads for twenty-somethings, these are the books that belong on every 30-something's bookshelf.
From Nora Ephron's hilarious musings on motherhood to Jenny Offill's heart-wrenchingly beautiful thoughts on marriage to Toni Morrison's masterful portrayal of friendship's complexities, the books on this list lend a particular perspective to womanhood that all thirty-somethings can appreciate at this moment in their lives. Ranging from timeless classics to enlightening memoirs and works of contemporary fiction, here are nine life-changing books to read in your 30s.
Reading Nora Ephron's laugh-out-loud funny, tell-it-like-it-is honest, surprisingly moving book should be considered a rite of passage for every woman in her thirties.
Ariel Levy's profound memoir about love, loss, and finding your path in life will have you laughing, crying, and nodding in agreement.
Roxane Gay's collection of honest, insightful essays belongs on every 30-something's reading list.
Zadie Smith's latest novel depicts complex friendships that are so absorbing you're not going to want to put it down until you've turned the last page.
You're going to want to devour this beautiful, moving novel about a marriage in distress in a single sitting.
This collection of nuanced, incredibly crafted short stories tells stories of women from all walks of life, from mothers to nurses to cleaning women.
Made popular by Hulu's recent adaptation, this dystopian novel is particularly poignant given today's political climate.
This novel follows two friends as they grow up and drift apart as their fierce devotion to each other ends in unforgivable betrayal.
Featuring one of literature's most compelling protagonists, this classic is the definition of essential reading.