If You're Turning 30, Get These 11 Books By Badass Women Onto Your Bed Side Table ASAP

by Aoife Hanna

Reading is one of those things in life that you literally cannot do enough of. One of the few positive by-products of commuting, switching off and being taken away is just about as mind bogglingly important as can be. Whether it's a piece of fiction, short stories for quick little adventures, a life guide, or your favourite public figure's autobiography — getting your nose in a book is just plain worth it. And lord knows, there are lots of books to read when you turn 30 that will help you while you're on that glow up and if like me, you recently hit that next decade.

Life is filled with eye opening lessons that help you form into a better human being. Well, I mean that you hope form you into a better human being. Reading is a way to look at other people's lesson, and perspectives — and take from them what you need to grow. Something especially important as you get older. Yep, I said older not old, not that the latter is an issue either.

The English language is filled with words that you absolutely need to learn, and reading is like, the absolute best way to fill up your boots and enhance your vocabulary so you are loquacious AF at your next work meeting/family event/Tinder date.


'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin

After a lifetime wanting to be more happy Rubin spent a year finding out what it is that makes us happy. In short this is a look at what makes us happy and how to harness those positive vibes. According to the official blurb, "The Happiness Project synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness." Sounds good to me.

Buy it here


'I Feel Bad About My Neck' by Norah Ephron

A bitter-sweet, honest, and always tinged with humour collection of short stories about what it is to be a woman. The title comes from one of the short stories which is about Ephron's dislike of her neck, and how she feels it has aged. Her acerbic and quick wit makes this a really joyous read. "You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck." Killer.

Buy it here


'What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky' by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Arimah's debut, this selection of 12 stories is set in Nigeria and the U.S. Her ability to immerse you in the lives of the characters and escape into your imagination with her tales is jaw droppingly excellent.

Buy it here


'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot

Henrietta Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer who's cancer cells were taken from her without her knowledge. Those cells have gone on to be a part of a multimillion dollar industry. The cells are now all over the world and form one of the most vital tools in modern medicine. Her family did not learn about her immortal cells until over 20 years after her death.

This book is a look at the wonder of modern science but also asks a dark and scary question — who owns our bodies after we die? Skloot's account of the exploitation of African American people in America for scientific purposes is gripping from start to finish and will make you question a lot about the ethics of science and its dark history.

Buy here.


'Passing' by Nella Larsen

A classic from Larsen, this is the story of Irene Redfield, who's seemingly perfect life is turned on its head after a chance encounter with an old friend who is "passing" for white. This book is an utterly fascinating psychological look at gender and race and an absolute must for those keen to expand their understanding of the world.

Buy it here


'Tiny Beautiful Things' by Cheryl Strayed

Written by Strayed, a very accomplished agony aunt, this is your guide for coping with the hardships in life. Described in the blurb as "the perfect guide for those who had got a little lost in life," Strayed uses her own experience and the experience of those who she has helped to help you make the most of life and grow.

Buy it here


'How To Be A Woman' by Caitlin Moran

Moran is an icon in British feminism, funny AF, and her observation of what being a woman is life from childhood to now is utterly hilarious and also very relatable. No lie I am literally reading this at the moment, and cannot put it down.

Buy it here


'Swing Time' by Zadie Smith

This is a story of two best friends who are women of colour and who want to dance. It is a story about identity, music, class, and race. You will become so deeply involved in these women's relationship that reading this is like being taken away in the best way possible.

Buy it here


'A Manual For Cleaning Women' by Lucia Berlin

Berlin's selection of short stories is a collection of tales about women from all walks of life, from a woman who crammed a lot of walks of life into her own 68 years. Incredibly written, these 43 stories will have you wishing for 43 more.

Buy it here


'The Year Of Magical Thinking' by Joan Didion

Didion is one of the most celebrated American female writers of our time, and her ability to say it how it is in the most beautiful and deep way is pretty damn special. This book is a very personal account and analysis of a great personal trauma that she experienced and how it affected all of the relationships in her life as well as her own attitude on life. It is, "a portrait of a marriage, and a life, in good times and bad." Bring the tissues for this one.

Buy here


'Bad Feminist' by Roxane Gay

This collection of essays by Gay looks at all the various ways that stereotypes of feminism fit only one mould, and the fact that y'all — that's not what feminism is. It is not one mould. This book is so lovely, witty, easy to identify with, and a call to arms of how we can all do better and grow.

Buy it here


Whether you have no time at all or all the time in the world, make sure you always have time for books. Buy, borrow, beg, steal (OK maybe not steal) — but what ever you do, enjoy.