Lifestyle

Books You Need to Read by Your 30th Birthday

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Shapely legs sitting on a bed with a light bed in a warm and cozy bed. A woman sitting on a bed in her hands a cup of hot tea, she reads a book. long female legs in socks

Image: Shutterstock/Julia Luzgareva

As a 20-something woman, the idea of turning 30 terrifies and excites me at the same time. I’ve always thought of it as a huge milestone. When you’re a kid, 30 seems so far away – until it isn’t. My 20s brought with it love, heartbreak, anxiety, stress, confidence and uncertainty. Although I’m not where I want to be emotionally and financially yet, I’m hoping that these next few years will give me the space to grow and get there.

I recently picked up a few books that make the adulting experience seem a lot less daunting. Before you hit the big 3-0, you need to check out these interesting reads.

1. The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be by Ann Shoket
The title may be a mouthful but it’s everything it appears to be and more. Ann Shoket’s book is unbelievably relatable and honest. Your 20s are for going on bad dates, working at a job you hate and then quitting, switching careers and finally breaking into your dream field. You’re going to mess up; that’s a given. How you handle the stress and the obstacles is what really counts.

2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Every now and then, we need a healthy dose of sarcasm and brutal truths to bring us back to reality. This is it. There’s something about her no-nonsense, in-your-face writing that is so real and refreshing. Year after year, you look forward to your birthday, blow out the candles and then what? Life doesn’t get any easier at 30 than it has been in your 20s. Your attitude and perception of your life are the deciding factors for how your 30s (and the rest of your life) will be.

3. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
You’re most likely already familiar with this book from your senior literature class. But it pays to read this when you’re older and with a fresh set of eyes. This coming of age story chronicles the life of a young woman who grows into herself after experiencing many hardships. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a total book nerd: Ms. Hurston’s poetic use of the English language is absolutely stunning and profound.

4. The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum
I’m always amazed at how candid and real Meaghan Daum gets in this book. Here’s the honest truth. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ve had moments where “WTF is my life” was a constant mantra in your head. We’ve all gone through rough patches, whether it’s being dead broke, losing a loved one or waking up feeling terribly alone. The Unspeakable reminds you that yes, your experiences can change you but they don’t define you. What you choose to do with your life depicts who you’ll be in the future.

5. Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
Rich and Pretty explores the relationship between two best friends and how it changes when their lives take them on different paths. You know what that’s like. One day, you’re planning your future wedding together, and then you’re playing phone tag the next. You don’t know when or why it happened but you went from best friends to strangers. If this sounds devastatingly familiar, you need to read this.

6. NW by Zadie Smith
Even though you’ve been here on this earth for almost 30 years, you’re still figuring out who you are. Every day, you get to know yourself a little bit better. That’s a recurring theme in NW. This story follows the lives of four friends in northwest London whose lives take them in different directions.

Cassandra is a beauty and women's health writer. She spends most of her time treating herself to dinner and movie dates, pretending her life is a Marvel comic and figuring out how to keep her makeup on her face. Not necessarily in that order. She blogs about affordable outfits from her favorite movies and TV shows at Onscreencloset.com.