Read Rabbit, Run when you’re 41?

That’s what The Washington Post Book World staff concluded. At age 41, “You may feel like fleeing sometimes, but remember: Selfishness is not a victimless crime.” So read John Updike’s best-known novel, Rabbit, Run at that age, they say.

“Books for the Ages” is a fun new addition to the recommended books lists that pop up with the frequency of yard dandelions. At age 1, the Book World staff suggests you try The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. At Sweet Sixteen, turn to Jane Eyre because “Nobody understands you and your terribly unfair life. Reader, you are not alone.” At 18, it’s Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs that they recommend, because “There are many important lessons to learn in college, not all of them from books.” At 21? What else besides Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: “You’re old enough to drink and carouse with your friends. Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Not all the recommended books are fiction. When you turn 65, the authors recommend reading 65 Things to Do When You Retire, edited by Mark Evan Chimsky. “If you need ideas, Jimmy Carter, Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem have suggestions.” And if you make it to age 100? Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author by Herman Wouk. “Life is a wonderful adventure. Books make it even better.”

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