My Reading Bucket List


There are a thousand lists that exist – be it on the internet, in magazines, in book shops, etc – of the books you should read before you die. Generally all of these books are classics, heavy, difficult to understand and, in some cases, really bloody boring.

There are certainly hundreds of books that I want to read before I die, but I’m not going to stick to somebody else’s idea of what they should be. Therefore, I’ve been making my own list for the last few years, and slowly, but surely, I’ve been reading my way through it.

There’s no particular rhyme nor reason as to why I chose these exact 100 books. The recommendations came from the following places; friends, family, librarians, lists of classics, lists of books every woman should read before she’s 30, BuzzFeed, book shops, Pulitzer Prize winners, Man Booker Prize winners and a literary journalism class I took in university.

To date, I’ve made my way through31 of these books. However, out of that 27, there are 5 that I want to re-read because I was very young when I read them the first time round, so I guess that puts me back to 22. I should really get a move on.


  1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood*

  2. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

  3. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath*

  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon*

  5. When She Woke – Hillary Jordan

  6. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors – Roddy Doyle

  7. The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton

  8. We Need to Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver

  9. A Passage to India – E M Foster

  10. The Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  11. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

  12. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

  13. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

  14. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

  15. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John le Carré

  16. The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky*

  17. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

  18. A Visit From the Goon Squad – Jennifer Egan

  19. It – Stephen King

  20. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

  21. Beloved – Toni Morrisson

  22. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – John Le Carre

  23. The Help – Kathryn Stockett*

  24. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote

  25. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells – Andrew Sean Greer

  26. Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann

  27. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz

  28. Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf

  29. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Judy Blume

  30. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak*

  31. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

  32. The Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

  33. The Colour Purple – Alice Walker

  34. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

  35. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White

  36. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

  37. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

  38. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides*

  39. The Hare with Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal

  40. Life of Pi – Yann Martel*


  1. Consider the Lobster – David Foster Wallace
  2. My Misspent Youth – Meghan Daum

  3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers

  4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling

  5. Moranthology – Caitlin Moran*

  6. How to be a Woman – Caitlin Moran*

  7. Bossy Pants – Tina Fey*

  8. The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion

  9. Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion*

  10. Just Kids – Patti Smith

  11. Diary of a Young Girl – Ann Frank

  12. Me Talk Pretty One Day – David Sedaris

  13. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom*

  14. Goodbye to All That – Robert Graves

  15. Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen


  1. images

    Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

  2. The Divine Comedy – Dante

  3. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

  4. Emma – Jane Austen*

  5. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen*

  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez

  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte*

  8. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte*

  9. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

  10. A Midsomer Night’s Dream – Shakespeare

  11. Twelfth Night – Shakespeare

  12. Othello – Shakespeare

  13. Julius Caesar – Shakespeare

  14. MacBeth – Shakespeare*

  15. Hamlet – Shakespeare*

  16. King Lear – Shakespeare*

  17. Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare*

  18. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

  19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

  20. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

  21. East of Eden – John Steinbeck

  22. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck*

  23. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald*

  24. The Odyssey – Homer

  25. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller*

  26. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

  27. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne*

  28. 1984 – George Orwell

  29. Animal Farm – George Orwell*

  30. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

Fantasy Fictionimages-3

  1. Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis*

  2. Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis*

  3. Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew – C.S. Lewis

  4. Narnia: The Horse & His Boy – C.S. Lewis

  5. Narnia: Prince Caspian – C.S. Lewis

  6. Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis

  7. Narnia: The Silver Chair – C.S. Lewis

  8. Narnia: The Last Battle – C.S. Lewis

  9. His Dark Materials: Northern Lights – Philip Pullman*

  10. His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman*

  11. His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman

  12. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – JRR Tolkien*

  13. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – JRR Tolkien*

  14. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – JRR Tolkien

  15. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien*

* Starred are the books I have read so far.

On a side-note, I haven’t included Harry Potter in this list, not because I don’t love Harry Potter, Hogwarts and J.K. Rowling more than life itself, but because I feel it goes without saying that you need to read these books before you die. If you don’t, I see no hope for you as a reader at all.


7 thoughts on “My Reading Bucket List

  1. Hi. Recently following. Love your list. I am a writer and an English teacher and most of these I couldn’t agree with more. Reading Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend right now, and Catch 22. Read Anna Karenina this summer (rocked my world). Loved The Secret History. The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby are two of my curricular favs.


  2. I want to do my own list but I agree with too much of this list for it to not be plagiarism…and we all learned about the evil act of plagiarism. Agree that HP shouldn’t be on the list on the basis of the final statement. Curious as to which ones you’ve read?


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