40 Books to Read Before Turning 40

The manual for making your first four decades the most joyful, wise and stress-free of your life.
The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

The Museum of Innocence

535 pages; Knopf
In The Museum of Innocence, Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk offers a world-class lesson in heartbreak and happiness. Kemal, Pamuk's narrator, is the thwarted lover, his beloved the exquisite Füsun, who marries another man. Her rosewater-scented hands have touched the ordinary objects (a barrette, a glass, a cigarette) that Kemal has furtively taken and now displays in his intimate museum—which is both the house in Istanbul where Füsun once lived, and the book that tells her story. Pamuk's own presence in this wily narrative is as surreptitious as passion itself.
— Cathleen Medwick