11 books every woman should read in her 30s.

Your 30s is about figuring what you really want in life (and what you don't) and feeling more comfortable in your own skin. 

It's the perfect time to pick up books by women who have been there before you, women who are going through the same thing, and women who have something to teach you. 

Here are 11 books every woman in their 30s should read: 

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 

Kya Clark's story is one that snuck up on me. 

I didn't go into Where The Crawdads Sing thinking I would love it. That it would soon become one of my favourite books. 

But about a third of the way in, I became deeply invested in Kya's journey. I needed to know that things were going to work out for her. 

Delia Owens' debut novel is both an epic drama set over an entire life and a coming of age story for every age. 

It's a story so unique that its lessons can be applied universally. 

And ultimately, it's uplifting and life-affirming. 

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Image: Pan Macmillan/Mamamia. 


I can't even think about A Little Life without feeling a little bit... traumatised. 

The epic drama follows the story of four friends - Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude - who move from their small Massachusetts college to New York City to chase their dreams. 

The book follows them from their broke and desperate twenties, and through the decades, as their relationships deepen and darken, and their lives are impacted by success, loss, addiction, heartbreak and childhood trauma. 

The group's greatest challenge is Jude - a talented litigator, who by middle age becomes an increasingly broken man, haunted by childhood trauma which he fears he will never be able to escape. 

A Little Life is a book about the enduring love of friendship, the hard road to success, the impact of childhood trauma and how one little life can have a huge impact on so many people. 

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Elizabeth Gilbert is the poster girl for women who reach their 30s and then realise that maybe the life they've built for themselves isn't actually what they want. 

In her bestselling memoir, Gilbert writes about leaving her marriage, career and mortgage behind at 34 to travel around Italy, India and Indonesia. 

By eating, praying and loving her way across the globe, Gilbert figured out who she really was and want she wanted out of life. 

If you're in your 30s and you're ready for a big life change, you need to read Eat, Pray, Love

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Image: Penguin Books Australia/Mamamia. 

If you've watched Ali Wong's Netflix special Baby Cobra, you need to read Dear Girls immediately. 

Wong's bitingly funny, blunt, and heartfelt humour shines through in this collection of letters to her daughters. 

In the letters she passes down the lessons she's learnt throughout her life - from navigating the cringeworthy waters of modern dating, to being a working mum in a male-dominated industry. 

It's heartfelt, enlightening and laugh out loud funny. 

Ghosts By Dolly Alderton 

Image: Penguin Books Australia/Mamamia. 


In Ghosts, Dolly Alderton nails what it feels like to be in your early 30s and feel like your friends are leaving you behind. 

The book follows the story of Nina Dean, a successful food writer, who in her early 30s, has a loving family, close friends and a new home. 

Then she meets Max. At first, Nina thinks Max is perfect for her and exactly what she needs when it feels like all her friends are settling down and moving on without her. 

But soon, Max will throw Nina's life into chaos and along the way she'll learn what's really important to her. 

Heartsick by Jessie Stephens

Image: Pan Macmillan/Mamamia. 


When Jessie Stephens was heartbroken in her early 20s, all she wanted to do was read a book about people who had gone through the same thing she was going through in that moment. 

But that book didn't exist. 

In 2021, when she was 30 and madly in love, Jessie published that book. 

Heartsick is a non-fiction, narrative style story that follows of the journey of three real people in the throes of heartbreak. 

Ana is in her 40s and married with three kids. Then, she falls in love with someone else. Claire is in her 30s and married to Maggie. Then, one day, she finds something on Maggie's phone. Patrick is in his 20s and engaged. Then his entire world blows up. 

Bruising, beautiful and ultimately healing, Heartsick is the perfect read for fans of Three Women and Elizabeth Gilbert, and anyone who has ever had their heart broken. 

Group by Christine Tate

Image: Simon & Schuster/Mamamia. 

Christie Tate's memoir Group is the story of a broken woman and the eccentric therapist and rag-tag group of strangers who changed her life. 

Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and she finally had gotten her eating disorder under control, when she started fantasising about her own death. 


Desperate to feel better and get her life together, she joins one of Dr Rosen's psychotherapy groups. He tells her all she has to do is turn up and be honest. 

What follows is a brilliantly honest journey over several decades, through highs and lows, unbelievable wins and heartbreaking setbacks, as Christie is broken down and ultimately put back together again. 

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Image: Allen & Unwin/Mamamia. 

I avoided reading The Midnight Library for a long time because it felt almost too close to home. 

For years, I've wished that I could go back and redo a large chunk of my life. Make the right decisions. Pick myself up after the failures and turn them into something better. 

In The Midnight Library, Nora Seed gets to do just that. Haunted by her past mistakes and missed opportunities, and feeling isolated from the rest of the world, 35-year-old Nora ends her own life. 

She wakes up in 'The Midnight Library', a place between life and death where she gets the chance to live all the lives she missed out on. 

The Midnight Library is a life-affirming novel about the choices we make, the little moments that make a big life, and the realisation that it's never too late to start over. 

One Day by David Nicholls

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 


Gosh this one got me good. 

This is the book that made David Nicholls the household name he is today and it's easy to see why. 

On July 15, 1988, Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their university graduation. 

They spend one brilliant night together but the next day they must go their separate ways. 

The book then follows their story and where they are on the same day, each year. 

Do they end up together and get their happily ever after? Or is theirs a love story destined to end in tragedy? 

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Image: Mamamia. 


Tina Fey's memoir, Bossypants, is a modern classic. 

In it, Fey writes about her journey from an awkward teenager with a big dream of being a comedian on TV, to losing her virginity at 24, to becoming one of the most successful members of the Saturday Night Live alumni. 

Fey's self depreciating humour shines through and the memoir is packed full of clever observations about having a big dream and what it's like to actually achieve it. 

Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Image: Hachette Australia/Mamamia. 

Friendships are at their trickiest in your 30s. 

Careers, marriage, babies, divorce, infertility, and geographical distance often means you can't always be in your best friends' day-to-day lives. 

In this funny and honest book, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, write candidly about the struggles their friendship has faced over the years and how they've fought for it. 

Keryn Donnelly is Mamamia's Pop Culture Editor. For more of her TV, film and book recommendations and to see photos of her dog, follow her on Instagram and  TikTok

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