50 Books on My Reading Bucket List

50 Books on My Reading Bucket List

I read a lot, and for the most part I read for fun and escape. I try not to feel pressure to read books just because I feel like I “should” read them, and you’ll almost never find me rushing out to buy the latest bestseller. Unless something about the story has really captured my attention, I content myself with the many, many older books that I haven’t gotten to. Because there is only so much time.

Thinking about the number of books I’m likely to read over the rest of my life actually makes me kind of sad. As a voracious reader (~50 books a year) over age 35, I probably have about 2,400 books left to read. Unless I can up my reading game, neglect my children, and become a “super reader” and read 80 books a year—then I’m looking at more like 3,800. (Hit that link to see how many books you’re likely to read before you die.)

Maybe it’s just me, but that feels like a depressingly small number. There are SO many already written that I want to read! There are SO many more good books to come!

Somewhere in all of this, though, is the nagging feeling that there are certain books that I definitely want to read. Someday. Before I die, anyway. Because there are gaps in my reading that shouldn’t be there, especially if I’m blogging about books and considering myself “well-read.”

And so, I’ve been slowly putting together my book bucket list. With my ominous “final number” in mind, I’m trying to keep this list to around 50. Fifty books to work into my other reading. These are books that I actually do want to read, but I often find myself putting them off in favor of something more exciting.

Some are classics—a few I can’t believe I haven’t read. Some are just books I know I want to read. I’m not bothering with books that don’t interest me in the least. I don’t really want to read War and Peace, Infinite Jest, or Ulysses, so I’m not going to. There are very few non-fiction books here, but I threw in a few that are sitting on my shelf.

This list may evolve, and I’ll periodically update my progress. I’m not going to read straight through this list; more likely I’ll pull one of these out every few books.

What books are on your bucket list? Any must-reads that I should consider? Or any listed here that aren’t worth the time?

*Note: The links below are affiliate links. If you purchase any of the books using this link, I receive a small commission. Thanks!

Book Bucket List (in no particular order)

  1. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
  4. Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner
  5. Kristin Lavransdatter – Sigrid Undset
  6. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
  7. The Great Gatsby (I can’t BELIEVE I’ve never read this) – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  9. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies – Jared Diamond
  10. Harry Potter series (with my daughter; we’ve read the first) – J.K. Rowling
  11. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  12. Tess of the D’urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
  14. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
  15. The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry
  16. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
  17. 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  18. The Awakening – Kate Chopin
  19. Swing Time – Zadie Smith
  20. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  21. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  22. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
  23. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
  24. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  25. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  26. Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
  27. Boy, Snow, Bird – Helen Oyeyemi
  28. Everyone Brave is Forgiven – Chris Cleave
  29. Centennial – James Michener
  30. In This House of Brede – Rumor Godden
  31. And Ladies of the Club – Helen Hooven Santmyer
  32. The Crimson Petal and the White – Michele Faber
  33. And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
  34. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  35. The Winds of War – Herman Wouk
  36. As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
  37. Mrs. Dalloway – Virginia Woolf
  38. The Hours – Michael Cunningham
  39. A Separate Peace – John Knowles
  40. Roots – Alex Haley
  41. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
  42. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  43.  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  44. Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates
  45. Hunger – Roxane Gay
  46. Truth & Beauty – Ann Patchett
  47. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern – Stephen Greenblatt
  48. The Shell Seekers – Rosamunde Pilcher
  49. Love in the Time of CholeraGabriel García Márquez
  50. Kindred – Octavia Butler

50 Books on My Reading Bucket List

9 thoughts on “50 Books on My Reading Bucket List

  1. I strongly feel you should begin with Gone with the Wind. The book is ridiculously good. 🙂

    WHAT a list! I want to read a lot of these titles as well, including {especially} Roots and the Sigrid Undset title. I read And Ladies of the Club over the summer one year. EXCELLENT. Have you heard of The Classics Club? You might like joining. It’s purely for fun and to find other readers of the old tomes. And they’re on Twitter. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Jillian! I don’t have a copy of Gone with the Wind, but when I get my hands on one I’ll definitely bump it up on the list (I’m a library sale devotee, and my finds there often shape my TBR and next-up list). I’m reading Jane Eyre right now.

      Checking out the Classics Club now–thanks for the tip! It’s nice to find other readers working through a mix of old and new!

  2. Between the world and me was a great audio book! Although I almost wanted to re-listen to it as soon as I finished because there is so much in there!

  3. I read a separate peace and I know why the caged bird sings, both last year as a 9th grader. They were both pretty good. Right now I am reading Cry, the beloved country, by Alan Paton. It’s really interesting so far. I recommend reading some books by Conrad Richter. My favorite book of his is The Light in the Forest, and the sequel A Country of Strangers. Don’t judge books by their Goodreads reviews because quite a few people didn’t like either one of the books. I personally love Richter’s writing style, and I plan on read his Awakening land series soon.

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