I made a goal for myself on my 27th birthday that I would read 27 books that I’ve never read completely for myself. It can be difficult as a teacher to read for yourself but I thought it was important to at least try. Over the summer I decided to read five books I’ve never read and now I’ve upped the ante. So I’ve decided to share my 27 books to read at age 27.
Some of the books on the list were on my summer reading list recommendations, and I just never got to them during the summer. A few of them I’ve actually read already (after my 27th birthday of course) or I am currently in the process of reading them now. Since the school year just started back up I admit it is definitely going to be difficult to read for leisure, but this is one goal I’m determined to accomplish.
1.Water For Elephants- Sarah Gruen
With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen’s romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)—but without the mass appeal that horses hold. The novel, told in flashback by nonagenarian Jacob Jankowski, recounts the wild and wonderful period he spent with the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth, a traveling circus he joined during the Great Depression. When 23-year-old Jankowski learns that his parents have been killed in a car crash, leaving him penniless, he drops out of Cornell veterinary school and parlays his expertise with animals into a job with the circus, where he cares for a menagerie of exotic creatures[…] He also falls in love with Marlena, one of the show’s star performers—a romance complicated by Marlena’s husband, the unbalanced, sadistic circus boss who beats both his wife and the animals Jankowski cares for. Despite her often clichéd prose and the predictability of the story’s ending, Gruen skillfully humanizes the midgets, drunks, rubes and freaks who populate her book.
2. The World Of Post Secret- Frank Warren
An addictive collection of new full-color postcard secrets and app secrets from the author of the smash the #1 New York Times bestselling PostSecret books—with more secrets than any previous PostSecret book! Included in this compelling new book are dozens of the best archived secrets from the original PostSecret app; inside stories about the most controversial secrets Frank Warren has received; moving text from the new PostSecret play, foreign secrets, “puzzle” secrets, and much more!Included in this compelling new book are dozens of the best archived secrets from the original PostSecret app; inside stories about the most controversial secrets Frank Warren has received; moving text from the new PostSecret play, foreign secrets, “puzzle” secrets, and much more!Included in this compelling new book are dozens of the best archived secrets from the original PostSecret app; inside stories about the most controversial secrets Frank Warren has received; moving text from the new PostSecret play, foreign secrets, “puzzle” secrets, and much more!
3. Grey- E.L James
In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world. Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.
4. Sarah’s Key-Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
5. Perfect Peace- Daniel Black
Daniel Black’s Perfect Peace is the heartbreaking portrait of a large, rural southern family’s attempt to grapple with their mother’s desperate decision to make her newborn son into the daughter she will never have When the seventh child of the Peace family, named Perfect, turns eight, her mother Emma Jean tells her bewildered daughter, “You was born a boy. I made you a girl. But that ain’t what you was supposed to be. So, from now on, you gon’ be a boy. It’ll be a little strange at first, but you’ll get used to it, and this’ll be over after while.” From this point forward, his life becomes a bizarre kaleidoscope of events. Meanwhile, the Peace family is forced to question everything they thought they knew about gender, sexuality, unconditional love, and fulfillment.
6. My Horizontal Life- Chelsea Handler
You’ve either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend’s irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.
7. Americanah-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.
8. Half Of The Yellow Sun-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
With effortless grace, celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half of a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of the promise, hope, and disappointment of the Biafran war.
9. Magnificent Vibration- Rick Springfield
After making an unexpected connection with God via a mysterious self-help book and a 1-800 number, one man embarks on an unlikely spiritual quest in this “remarkably creative” (Kirkus Reviews) novel from Grammy Award–winning musician and New York Times bestselling author Rick Springfield. Why are we here? What is love? Is there a Loch Ness Monster? Does God send text messages? These are the kinds of questions Horatio Cotton, aka Bobby, asks in Magnificent Vibration.
10. Go Set A Watchmen- Harper Lee
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.
11. Bang Bang- Chelsea Handler
Family moments are fair game, whether it’s writing a report on Reaganomics to earn a Cabbage Patch doll, or teaching her father social graces by ordering him to stay indoors. It’s open season on her love life, from playing a prank on her boyfriend (using a ravioli, a fake autopsy, and the Santa Monica pier) to adopting a dog so she can snuggle with someone who doesn’t talk. And everyone better duck for cover when her beach vacation turns into matchmaking gone wild. Outrageously funny and deliciously wicked, CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG is good good good good!
12. The Luckiest Girl Alive– Jessica Knoll
As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.
13. Hostile Witness- Rebecca Forster
When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her step-grandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships have created a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth of the murder is uncovered could save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.
14. Girl Boss- Sophia Amoruso
#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college
or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.
15. The Prince -Machiaveli
As a young Florentine envoy to the courts of France and the Italian principalities, Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was able to observe firsthand the lives of people strongly united under one powerful ruler. His fascination with that political rarity and his intense desire to see the Medici family assume a similar role in Italy provided the foundation for his “primer for princes.” In this classic guide to acquiring and maintaining political power, Machiavelli used a rational approach to advise prospective rulers, developing logical arguments and alternatives for a number of potential problems, among them governing hereditary monarchies, dealing with colonies and the treatment of conquered peoples. Refreshing in its directness, yet often disturbing in its cold practicality, The Prince sets down a frighteningly pragmatic formula for political fortune. Starkly relevant to the political upheavals of the 20th century, this calculating prescription for power remains today, nearly 500 years after it was written, a timely and startling lesson in the practice of autocratic rule that continues to be much read and studied by students, scholars and general readers as well.
16. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life- John Lee Anderson
Anderson has had unprecedented access to the personal archives maintained by Guevara’s widow and carefully guarded Cuban government documents. He has conducted extensive interviews with Che’s comrades—some of whom speak here for the first time—and with the CIA men and Bolivian officers who hunted him down. Anderson broke the story of where Guevara’s body was buried, which led to the exhumation and state burial of the bones. Many of the details of Che’s life have long been cloaked in secrecy and intrigue. Meticulously researched and full of exclusive information, Che Guevara illuminates as never before this mythic figure who embodied the high-water mark of revolutionary communism as a force in history.
17. A Curious Mind- Brian Grazer
A Curious Mind is a brilliantly entertaining, fascinating, and inspiring homage to the power of inquisitiveness and the ways in which it deepens and improves us. Whether you’re looking to improve your management style at work or you want to become a better romantic partner, this book—and its lessons on the power of curiosity—can change your life.
18- 22 Game Of Thrones Box Set- George R. Martin
For the first time, all five novels in the epic fantasy series that inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones are together in one boxed set. An immersive entertainment experience unlike any other, A Song of Ice and Fire has earned George R. R. Martin—dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Timemagazine—international acclaim and millions of loyal readers. Now here is the entire monumental cycle:
A GAME OF THRONES
A CLASH OF KINGS
A STORM OF SWORDS
A FEAST FOR CROWS
A DANCE WITH DRAGONS
23. Why Not Me- Mindy Kailing
In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
24. Everyone is Hanging Out Without Me- Mindy Kailing
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.
25. I Found God In My Hair– Tanya Wright
Actress Tanya Wright (ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, TRUE BLOOD) has naturally curly hair; for most of her life, her struggle to tame her curly mass has been the bane of her existence! She knew, though, that learning to love her locks would lead her to the other side of peace–that journey is chronicled in I FOUND GOD IN MY HAIR: 98 spiritual principles I learned from…my hair! Patience. Resilience. The importance–and power!– of letting go. Our hair has a lot to teach us! If only we will take the time to listen…
26. The First phone call From Heaven- Mitch Albom
Moving seamlessly between the invention of the telephone in 1876 and a world obsessed with the next level of communication, Mitch Albom takes readers on a breathtaking ride of frenzied hope. The First Phone Call from Heaven is Mitch Albom at his best—a virtuosic story of love, history, and belief.
27. Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
Do you have any book suggestions you think should be on the list please feel free to share them with me in the comment section below!
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