The 20 Best Books to Read In Your 30s For Growth and Insight

If you told my 22-year-old self that she’d someday be researching the best books to read in your 30s, she probably would have made a little joke about crypts. Of course, 10 years later, I realize just how silly that is. In some ways, I feel younger now than I did at 25. Gathering a little life experience and perspective will do that.

That life experience has also led me back to craving books the way I did when I was a kid. Before bed, while traveling, and whenever I’m in need of a little rest on a quiet afternoon, I find myself reaching for books more and more. I know from talking to friends that I’m not alone in this. Maybe some of us just need a little time away to remember how magical it is to read a truly good story.

Now, back to those books to read in your 30s… I promise you won’t find anything about crypts ahead. I’ve broken this list out by the types of books I’ve found myself reaching for most (and my friends, too). There are life-shifting essay books (so many!), inspiring memoirs, eternally good fiction stories, and brand-new works that have become instant must-reads.

So grab a cozy blanket, pour a cup of tea (or wine), and settle in with a book that teaches, challenges, or entertains in insightful new ways. No matter which book you choose below, I can promise one thing: you’ll never be sorry you picked it up.

Feature image by Kristen Kilpatrick.

Image by Claire Huntsberger

The 20 Best Books to Read in Your 30s

Memoirs and Essays

The key to a great memoir or essay book is feeling trust and a connection with the author. With that in mind, the following collections were penned by wise, compassionate, and witty women who are impossible not to fall for.

Image by Belathée Photography

Self-Help Books

I’m glad we’re done pretending that searching for a self-help book is something to be embarrassed about. Especially when it comes to discovering impactful books to read in your 30s, a pivotal decade for dining your worldview. The following works come from bright minds that shine a little light on the world—both internally and all around.

Image by Riley Reed

Nonfiction Must-Reads

Wading into the world of nonfiction can be daunting, but the following picks are more than worth your time—promise.

Image by Joann Pai

Classics Worth Revisiting

Chances are, these books found their way onto your required reading list at some point. Now well into your adult life, a reread could unearth more meaning and nuance in these well-loved tomes.

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