Fearless Females and Courageous Women Reading Themes

[A Postscript to the 40 Series] The Forty (Or So) Books I Hope to Read Before Turning Fifty

Myra here.

I thought I might as well cap the 40 series off with the books I am hoping to read before I turn the ripe, golden age of 50. It provides me with a concrete goal in terms of the book spines that need cracking in the next ten years or so.

Forty Books I Hope to Read Before I Turn 50

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(1) The Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of A New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, The Story of the Lost Child


During the Christmas holidays, my husband was kind enough to give me these books (among a few here that you will see), so I hope to find the time to read this series if not this year, in the next few years. These are my first Europa edition novels, and they sure won’t be the last.

(2) George RR Martin: The World of Ice and Fire, A Knight of The Seven Kingdoms

I really am excited to read The World of Ice and Fire – hopefully the characters that I have forgotten would come jogging back to my memory through this exquisitely illustrated book. And as a huge GoT fan, naturally I would have to read what is deemed to be a massive prequel, taking place a century before actual events of GoT.

(3) The Tillerman Cycle Series by Cynthia Voigt: Homecoming, Dicey’s Song, A Solitary Blue, The Runner, Come a Stranger, Sons From Afar, Seventeen Against the Dealer

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I have been collecting the books in this series slowly but surely. I am only missing Come A Stranger if I am not mistaken.

(4) The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake: Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone


Bought this tome of a book several years ago. It’s a challenging read, but I am sure it will be worth my while (I hope).

(5) Old Kingdom Book Series by Garth Nix: Abhorsen, Sabriel, Lirael, Clariel, Across the Wall

Another series that is gathering dust in my shelves. About time I get those spines cracking.

(6) Imajica I and II by Clive Barker

These books were mighty elusive. So I am glad to have found them in thrift shops – even The Reconciliation. I heard that this is Clive Barker’s best – too bad it isn’t illustrated like his Abarat.

(7) The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki by Murasaki Shikibu Translated by Royall Tyler and The Illustrated Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu adapted and illustrated by Tsuboi Koh

How can I not read The Tale of Genji? Perhaps I will begin with the illustrated/graphic novel adaptation to ease my way into such a thick book.

(8) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy


It has been years since I read a classic. Why not chew on this one, I thought? And maybe it would resonate with me at this point in my life, who knows?

(9) Roberto Bolaño’s: 2666, Insufferable Gaucho

I do have the next ten years – maybe then I’d be able to finish my growing Bolaño collection beginning with these two books.

(10) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke


I am holding off on watching the TV series until after I read this. I have a hankering for magic at this point in my life. Perhaps I’d pick this up within the year? Or the next? Year after next?

(11) Gregory David Roberts: Shantaram, The Mountain Shadow


I heard and read so many rave reviews about Shantaram. When I saw that it has a sequel, I immediately asked my husband to get me a copy for Christmas. Both are extremely thick books. I will get to them. Eventually.

(12) Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco | State of War by Ninotchka Rosca

These two books are required reading, I believe, for any Filipino. I have no excuse. I should get to them soonest.

(13) Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Novels


Not sure if I can manage reading all this before I turn 50. I would consider this a success if I read at least five? I found The Colour of Magic intolerable – so I am hoping the other titles in the series would be somewhat better.

(14) Craig Thompson: Blankets, Habibi

I have been meaning to read Blankets for awhile now. And I received Habibi for my birthday – a graphic novel that I have been salivating after. So, I hope I get to read them before year ends.

(15) The Obelisk Trilogy by Henry Miller: Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn,Black Spring

Because Henry Miller = Yum. These are the real deal. Where have they been all my life?

(16) Magda Szabo: The Door, The Gift of the Wondrous Fig Tree

I bought The Gift of the Wondrous Fig Tree while I was in Budapest and will have to read have just finished reading The Door for one of my book clubs. Looks like I would get to know Szabo soon. I am excited to read more of her translated novels.

(17) Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer: Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance


I read a few chapters from Vandermeer’s Wonderbook and was absolutely riveted. I was ecstatic to find these titles on sale at various places.

(18) A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk


Fell in love with Pamuk’s Istanbul. Perhaps when I visit Turkey again, I bring a copy of this book with me. Wait. It’s kind of heavy. I better read it at home then.

(19) David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas, The Bone Clocks

I know I should find the time for David Mitchell. I know that. Haven’t seen Cloud Atlas yet, because I wanted to read the book first. I know both these books will play with my head. Well, I am definitely ready to be played.

(20) Metamaus by Art Spiegelman


Loved Maus I and II. I would love to know more about the process of creating a Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel. And yes, this comes with a CD.

(21) S by Doug Dorst and J. Abrams


One of the definitive book within a book – or is it also considered epistolary? One way to find out: I better start reading.

(22) Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters


I’ve had this for awhile now – not sure exactly what I am waiting for. Oftentimes, our reading themes in GatheringBooks do get in the way of leisure-leisure reading (because GatheringBooks reading is still considered leisure), as we have to be more goal-directed in terms of what we should be reading every month. Hmm… I think we need to come up with a fantasy theme next year stat so that I can get to these babies.

(23) Grace of Kings by Ken Liu


I heard this is good. Would have to discover Liu’s world for myself. And yes, I did love The Paper Menagerie and bawled like a baby – twice (I re-read it with my girl). So I have high expectations for this one.

(24) The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy


Anna Quindlen recommended this book in her small booklet How Reading Changed My Life. I am ready to be changed by the words found on this page.

(25) More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera | George by Alex Gino

Received both of these books for my birthday! And Yay to Banned Books!

(26) Umberto Eco: The Book of Legendary Lands, The Story of the Betrothed

I bought The Story of the Betrothed while I was in Birmingham – how could anyone resist an illuminated Eco? Come on, now. I am also prepared to be bowled over by Legendary Lands.

(27) Ursula Le Guin: Tales from Earthsea, The Earthsea Quartet, The Left Hand of Darkness

Why have I not read any Le Guin before in my life? Time to remedy that.

(28) The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott: The Alchemyst, The Magician, The Sorceress, The Necromancer, The Warlock, The Enchantress


I have ALL these babies. My excuse before was that I was still collecting all the titles in the series before I begin. So there is absolutely no reason why they should still be collecting dust in my shelves.

(29) Rot and Ruin Series by Jonathan Maberry: Rot & Ruin, Dust & Decay, Flesh & Bone


Have any of you read these books? I think I am about ready to begin with a vampire/zombie series again.

(30) A Different Sky by Meira Chand


Because I read SG Lit. And Meira Chand reading is a must.

(31) Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel | Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

I have quite a few Hilary Mantel novels in my shelves. I think I will begin with this one and move on from there. I was also especially taken by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk and so I hunted her book down and found this.

(32) Alice Walker’s The Color Purple Collection: The Color Purple, The Temple of My Familiar, Possessing the Secret of Joy

I have to add this in at the very last minute because I just purchased these titles from Book Depository and expecting them in the coming days.

(33) The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper: Over Sea Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, Greenwitch, The Grey King, Silver On The Tree


Another collection I’ve had for the longest time. And one that I should start reading, stat. Can I please just stay home and read?

(34) Mario Vargas Llosa: The Storyteller | Aunt Julia and the ScriptWriter

I also have a few of Mario Vargas Llosa’s novels – I have a feeling that there would be resonances with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I shall find out and let you know. I belatedly included Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by the same author – recommended just now by one of my university mentors and whose literary judgment I trust with my life. 😉

(35) Marilynne Robinson: Gilead, Home, Lila

Among these three books, I am only missing Lila. Perhaps I should ask my husband for that one this Christmas. Never too early to plan a Christmas book-list.

(36) The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy


I should be reading this masterpiece right about now. Time for new awakenings.

(37) Tales from the Sinister City Series by F. E. Higgins: The Black Book Of Secrets, The Bone Magician, The Eyeball Collector, The Lunatic’s Curse

These books are simply deliciously packaged. And how could one not love those titles? And those book covers? Yes, I do judge a book by its cover.

(38) The Secret History by Donna Tartt | The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

I bought The Secret History in Book Off San Diego for one dollar. Yes. One dollar. Bought The Luminaries for its regular prize because I admired its heft and won lots of awards. If only for the ‘heft’ factor, I should read these two novels written by brilliant female novelists.

(39) Federico Garcia Lorca Collected Poems


I used to download his poems. Now I have the book. And I will dip into it every now and again when my soul aches for something lost.

(40) The Illuminated Rumi translated by Coleman Barks and illustrations by Michael Green


Received this for my birthday. Rumi can do no wrong. And he knows the secrets of my soul and the song of my heart.

Which of these titles would you like to read along with me in the next ten years? Let’s do this!

5 comments on “[A Postscript to the 40 Series] The Forty (Or So) Books I Hope to Read Before Turning Fifty

  1. What a beautiful and ambitious list! There are so many great books in there. The Secret History is my favorite.

    Good luck! I need to create such a list one of these days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a diverse and robust list! Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Desmond Coutinho

    Shantaram was a joy to read very uplifting, the sequel Mountain Shadow was awful. Pretentious unedited. But definitely read Shantaram if you have time

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: #BowieBookClub – The 100 Book List Arranged Across Themes – Gathering Books

  5. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] What Are The Books That Made You? – Gathering Books

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