A Look at the 35 Over 35 List

For the past five years, the 35 Over 35 list has been examing books written by debut authors 35 years old or older. The collection includes books that are both fiction and non-fiction.

I love that they highlight authors who published in their mid-thirties or beyond. The creators originally started the list as a response to the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 list.

Here are my top five picks from their list, followed by the full list:

The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel


Taking place during the Reagan era, this book takes place in a utopian summer camp and examines idealism and the impact it can have on someone’s life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival by Kelly Sundberg


This is a memoir where the author examines a loving relationship that afterwards becomes abusive. It’s important to understand how a relationship that started off fine can then become a nightmare for one of the people involved.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds by Rachel Levin


I’m throwing this one in my top five because I spent a decade living in the Appalachian Mountains and much of that time on trails. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I saw people try to approach wild animals for photos or to attempt to feed them. I even saw one woman get out of her car to approach a black bear. If you’re going to be spending any time in the woods without an experienced guide, please read this book and others like it!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Summer Cannibals by Melanie Hobson


Set in a mansion on the shores of Lake Ontario, this story follows three sisters facing an imminent tragedy alongside their troublesome pasts.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Thrift Books

Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon


Rachel Lyon’s debut was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. It’s about a young photographer who accidentally shoots a boy falling to his death. She’s struggling to make ends meet, and such a photo could improve her career, but the boy in the photo is her neighbor’s son. She starts to wonder if it would be ethical to use the photos to advance her career.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

Here’s the full list:

  1. The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel
  2. First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story by Huda Al-Marashi
  3. The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina
  4. White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswawr
  5. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
  6. A Dirty Word: How a Sex Writer Reclaimed Her Sexuality by Steph Auteri
  7. The Shame of Losing by Sarah Cannon
  8. Kickdown by Rebecca Clarren
  9. Designer You by Sarahlyn Bruck
  10. The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan
  11. Nothing Good Can Come From This: Essays by Kristi Coulter
  12. Bone Willows by James Engelhardt
  13. Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris
  14. Summer Cannibals by Melanie Hobson
  15. An Untidy Life: What I Saw at the Media Revolution by Les Hinton
  16. Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
  17. Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds by Rachel Levin
  18. The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids are Less Disciplined Than Ever – And What to Do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis
  19. Amongst the Liberal Elite: The Road Trip Exploring Societal Inequities Solidified by Trump by Elly Lonon and Joan Reilly
  20. Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon
  21. One Water by Rob McCue
  22. Big Windows by Lauren Mosely
  23. No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore
  24. Burning Down the Haus by Tim Mohr
  25. Letters from a Young Father by Edoardo Ponti
  26. Forbidden by Faith by Negeen Papehn
  27. The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker
  28. California Calling: A Self-Interrogation by Natalie Singer
  29. There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno
  30. Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez
  31. Revolutionary Threads by Bobby Sullivan
  32. Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg
  33. The Wild Birds by Emily Strelow
  34. Tigerbelle by Wyomia Tyus with Elizabeth Terzakis
  35. Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America by Vegas Tenold


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