50 Books at 50!

Today is my 50th birthday and despite being up to my oxters in reading and reviewing for Novellas in November, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of 50 novels that have stayed with me after all these years.

These are not necessarily my favourite books and a few of them probably wouldn’t survive a re-read. Also, I could probably create a list of 50 completely different books, but these novels represent reading experiences that changed my outlook, influenced my future reading, remind me of people who were important to me or books that I quite simply loved.

  1. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  2. The Bewitching of Alison Allbright by Alan Davidson
  3. The Eyes of Karen Connors by Lois Duncan
  4. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  5. Perfume by Patrick Suskind
  6. Train Dreams by Denis Johnson
  7. London Fields by Martin Amis
  8. The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
  9. We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates
  10. The Music of Chance by Paul Auster
  11. Any Sweet Valley High book by Francine Pascal
  12. Amongst Women by John McGahern
  13. Generation X by Douglas Coupland
  14. The Secret Island by Enid Blyton
  15. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  16. Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
  17. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  18. Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
  19. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  20. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
  21. We Have Always Lived at the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  22. Number9dream by David Mitchell
  23. Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
  24. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  25. Tender by Belinda McKeon
  26. The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
  27. Emily’s Shoes by Dermot Bolger
  28. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M Pirsig
  29. Bel Canto by Anne Patchett
  30. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  31. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
  32. Lamb by Bernard MacLaverty
  33. Falling by Colin Thubron
  34. The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers
  35. Underworld by Don de Lillo
  36. Light in August by William Faulkner
  37. One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden
  38. The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers
  39. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
  40. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
  41. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
  42. Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane
  43. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
  44. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  45. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  46. Alma Cogan by Gordon Burns
  47. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  48. Open City by Teju Cole
  49. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  50. A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving

Are any of your favourites in my 50?


Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

110 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Happy birthday and I LOVE this! (Might have to do the same when I hit the same milestone next year).
    Yes to 1, 5, 11, 19, 23, 24 and 50. Also very happy to see some books that are in my TBR stack on this list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy birthday, Cathy! There are a lot of books there that I haven’t read, but I’m pleased to see Wuthering Heights and We Have Always Lived in the Castle on your list. And I used to love Sweet Valley High as a teenager!


  3. Happy birthday Cathy. So glad that are celebrating and not hiding away. 50 is not the hurdle it was assumed to be years ago.

    Love the eclectic mix of your list. Enid Blyton in the presence of Marquez shows an agile mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy birthday Cathy!

    I also loved Sweet Valley High when I was a kid!

    We share many books on this list. Harriet the Spy was a childhood favorite and it still survives a re-read as an adult. I just reread it in the past couple of years. It’s brilliant.


  5. Happy Birthday, Cathy! Great list – some I love (Beloved, We Have Always Lived at the Castle), some I don’t (Mrs Dalloway, Wuthering Heights) and many, many, many I haven’t read! Here’s to the next fifty years and many more great books. 🍾🎂🎉


  6. Happy birthday, Cathy! I hope you’re managing to fit in some fun and special activities for your special birthday. The Blind Assassin and Owen Meany are favourites of mine, too. (I’m rereading the former now for MARM.) Appropriate to see quite a few novellas on your list, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Birthday, Cathy and what a great way to celebrate the day! I like your comment about books influencing you, but not necessarily being ones you would re-read. I see you have We Were the Mulvaneys on your list. I read that years ago and I still think about it, yet I’ve read a few more books by Oates and she’s so good, but so dark. Would you re-read that? You’ve also given me the nudge to read some books that have been on my list for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ive read 8 of these, a few are favourites, and two are all-time favourites that I truly believe are among the best novels ever written (Wuthering Heights and Love in the Time of Cholera), no wonder we get along 😎 Happy Birthday!

    PS I had the google “oxters” 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A very happy birthday! I love that you gifted us with a list of your most memorable reads. A few of these are some of my all time favorites! Enjoy and hope you have a fabulous day!


  10. I really enjoyed Wuthering Heights! I’ve read it twice now. I also read a number of the Sweet Valley High books when I was in high school. That brought back memories! 🙂 There are several on your list that I have on my TBR – like The Prayer of Owen Meany, We Have Always Lived at the Castle, and a couple more. Happy Birthday!


      • I understand that so much! Special books like that mean the world. I have a stack of books that were my mom’s that I was able to get when she passed away. I treasure that stack of my Mom’s books. Agatha Christie was one of her favorite authors and I have several from her Agatha Christie collection. So, so special!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy birthday! This is a great way to celebrate and I love the recommendations! I love The Secret History as well, though I’m not sure I’d read it again either. I hope you enjoyed this special day.


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