From 'The Handmaid's Tale' to 'Harry Potter': 30 books to read before you're 30

From inspiring characters to dystopian tales, the team at ‘The National’ bring you this library of life lessons to lap up before you wave goodbye to your twenties. Compiled by Rupert Hawksley

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Reading the right book at the right time can alter a person. This is particularly true if you're under the age of 30 and are still evolving and trying to find your place – and voice – in the world.

Scroll through our gallery above to see our book picks

We all have that book that helped us to see the world with fresh eyes. This list, which features the choices of editors and writers from across The National's newsroom, is by no means definitive – how could it ever be? – but it is certainly diverse, featuring everything from works by Leo Tolstoy and George Orwell to Nick Hornby and Malcolm Gladwell.

There are some surprising omissions – no Jane Austen, for example – but one thing we all agree on is that each of these books has something important to say to young people.

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