The Best Books to Read Before Turning Thirty

Books to read before turning 30

Turning thirty is a milestone age, and these are the best books to read before turning thirty to be ready for the next decade of your life.

Who hasn’t wanted to live the 13 going on 30 life? Wishful Jenna Rink from the 2004 romance wishes to be ‘thirty, flirty and thriving’. The next morning, she is shocked to wake up at 30 with a fabulous life. But as fun as it seems, thirty can be a tricky age, and we have the perfect books to help you along the way.

So many books target women in their 30s, so we have curated a little list to make you feel better about turning thirty.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton (15 January 2018)

Red book cover with yellow writing saying 'Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton.' Best books for your 30s
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Best For: Learning about the struggles and hope of early adulthood.

If you’re in your 30s and unfamiliar with Dolly Alderton, she is about to become your best friend.

Her Sunday Times best-selling memoir, Everything I Know About Love, is all about growing up, getting older and navigating friendships, jobs, losses and, of course, love.

Everything I Know About Love is a vivid recount of her time spent falling in love, getting drunk, experiencing and breakup, and learning that no one can compare to her best girlfriends. Filled with wit and heart Dolly Alderton creates a perfect and personal telling of her observations in life that will appeal to any woman in her thirties. The best thing about Dolly Alderton is that she’s also for women of every age, someone to share with your friends.

Bondi Beauty Rating: 4/5

Second Place by Rachel Cusk (4 May 2021)

Second Place by Rachel Cusk. Best books for your 30s
Second Place by Rachel Cusk

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Best For: Young mothers and aspiring artists

Second Place is the perfect choice for a short read. The narrator, M, invites a celebrated artist into her secluded marshland home in an unspecified country, hoping that he will somehow infiltrate the enigma she calls life.

Although these are her plans, they’re not as accommodating as M had in mind. He uses her as the subject of one of his masterpieces and gets lost in the malevolence of his presence.

Female fate, male privilege, and the struggle of living freely without internal conflict and insecurities, Rachel Cusk creates a story that is open to interpretation. We recommend this Book for women in their 30s as it explores mothers, children, personalities, and artists through a domestic psychodrama that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

Bondi Beauty Rating: 4/5

The Lonely Stories, edited by Natalie Eve Garett (19 April 2022)

The Lonely Stories, edited by Natalie Eve Garett. Best books for your 30s
The Lonely Stories, edited by Natalie Eve Garett

Genre: Non-fiction Essays

Best For: If you’re feeling lonely.

This read is a little different from the other recommendations. The Lonely Stories is a series of essays about being alone by 22 writers, including Lena Dunham, Yiyun Li and Jhumpa Lahiri. Each piece has its own unique perspective and experiences, so there is something for everyone. Some are heartbreaking, like Dina Nayeri’s reflection on immigrating to a foreign country.

Others are celebrating solitude, like Claire Dederer’s journey towards sobriety. Each story is thoughtful and affirming, exploring emotions that often aren’t normalised and go undiscussed such as depression, guilt and feeling lost. Each author reminds us that we are not alone and that there is always something to look up to, whether it’s a person, a job or an experience.

Bondi Beauty Rating: 3.5/5

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton (15 October 2020)

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton. Best books to read in your 30s
Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Best For: Discovering yourself in your 30s.

Another Dolly Alderton recommendation and our personal favourite. A successful food writer, Nina Dean has much to celebrate: a new home, loving friends, and family. Looking forward to life getting easier in her thirties, it hasn’t been as liberating as she thought.

From fading friendships, people moving on and her dad suffering from dementia, it hasn’t been the uncomplicated life she dreamt of in her twenties. Then she meets Max, who tells her on a date that he is going to Marry her. It feels like everything is going to plan, right? What Nina thinks will be the best year of her life ends up being the strangest and one to discover herself.

A perfect commentary of memories, friendship and family, Dolly Alderton is an expert on the 30s. This is a read we would recommend to anyone, whether they’re in crisis, just discovering Alderton and, of course, in their 30s.

Bondi Beauty Rating: 4/5

New Release: Couplets by Maggie Millner (7 February 2023)

Couplets by Maggie Millner. Best books for your 20s
Couplets by Maggie Millner

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Poetry Fiction

Best for: Those looking for a new queer romance novel.

This new release is a dazzling love story told through poems about a woman coming out. A 28-year-old woman lives in Brooklyn and is in a heterosexual relationship but has dreams of being with other women. One night, she encounters a woman at a bar and falls into a consuming affair. Within this affair, she explores queerness, polyamory, power and loss, humiliation, and freedom for the very first time. This collection of poems is Maggie Millner’s debut that chronicles structures and the catches of relationships.

Rating: 3.98/5

Check out our March book story: The Best Books To Add To Your Reading List Right Now

Amber Grech
Amber Grech

Writer and Video Producer

Amber is a writer and content producer who has a passion for reading, films and collecting vinyl records. You’ll can always find her with a book in hand, or with her headphones on, listening to her favourite music and podcasts. She loves all things entertainment and pop culture, especially movies, actors and books. It’s always been a dream of her's to work with actors and write about them, their work and travel the world.

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