must read books in 20s

Reading goals: 5 books you must read in your 20s

The defining decade that 20s is, sets pace for the later decades of life. Books provide unflinching wisdom and insights to deal with the adulthood that 20s bring.

If you have already crossed your 20s, you will probably be looking back at your post college decade with intrigue and some yearning. But if you are approaching your 20s, you will be most eager to enter this phase, when life begins to take shape and foundations are laid for you and by you. It is called the defining decade for a reason. You have grown up to leave your teens behind and are ready to plunge into a happening career or even start a family. This decade sets the pace of your life as you find yourself responsible for your career path, finances and relationships. You take charge of your own life and face challenges head-on.

If teenage hormones are widely famous for the ‘wild rush’ they bring, 20s hormones may be preparing you for impending parenthood and responsibilities. But, there is a new found freedom too and that may be confusing. What you do in your 20s becomes critical in the road ahead. Your work would be demanding a high degree of commitment while the big bucks earned might drive you to indulge in way too much fun. Striking that balance is an absolute necessity of the 20s.

A piece of advice, some mentoring is always welcome during these formative years of adulthood. Books can be your friend, philosopher and guide during these crucial years, opening doors to infinite wisdom and insight needed to navigate life ahead. This may also be the time for you to prioritize relationships and choose career without getting overwhelmed with what others are doing!

Here we look at 5 books that you can read in your 20s to arm you with a broad perspective and decision making to forge a concrete foundation for your life ahead.

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — and How To Make The Most Of Them Now by Meg Jay

You should definitely pick up The Defining Decade by seasoned clinical psychologist Dr Meg Jay. In her 2 decades of research and handling clients, Jay found that the brain undergoes a more transformative change during the 20s than any other decade. She states how everything – work, relationships, personality and identity, all go through a transformation when we are in our 20s. There are heaps of expectations, even misinformation and myths aplenty associated with this defining decade of life. Dr Jay suggests a simple approach of being proactive rather than reactive to situations.

The author also lists the tools necessary to make the most of this extremely crucial phase of life. For more such gems, dive into the book!

All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister
The New York Times book review column states that this is an informative and thought-provoking book for everyone and not just for women.

Sample this – only 21% of Americans are married now by the age of 29, compared to nearly 60% in 1960. Not only America, we see how the age of marriage is receding everywhere lately. It is gradually becoming a personal choice to decide when one wants to marry.

Traditionally, 20s is the decade, which is considered as the one for marriage and embracing parenthood. But if you are the kind who is contemplating marriage later, you’ll have definitely faced the oft repeated question of, “When do you plan to get married?”

This book by Traister who is a seasoned journalist is a horizon broadening read that is an empowering account; looking at the social, economic and political forces behind women marrying at a later stage.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

This solid piece of deft writing by the internationally acclaimed author, Jhumpa Lahiri is a must read and more so, when you are in your 20s. This was Lahiri’s debut novel, one that she wrote in her late 20s. The immigrant experience, the cultural clash and the tangled ties between generations are things that appeal to readers who are in their 20s, when they are trying to break free from their roots or maybe even relocating to a new culture and place to establish themselves.

Lahiri’s award-winning novel follows the Ganguli family from Calcutta to Cambridge, where they make every effort to subscribe to the American culture while still holding on to their roots. The author skilfully writes about the feeling of being caught between conflicting cultures and the expectations heaped on by the previous generation. Any 20 something will relate and resonate with the writing and the characters in this immensely powerful must-read.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

If you choose to read only one autobiography in life, let it be this. A must-read book in one’s 20s is the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, the writer and producer of the famous American medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Inspite of being the creator and producer of some of the most ground-breaking television shows and iconic characters, many of who are extremely outspoken, Rhimes was painfully shy in real life.

Rhimes was known to decline invitations. It was only after her sister said that you never say ‘yes’ to anything that her life changed. Rhimes embraced the challenge and decided to say yes for 1 year to everything that scared her.

On a similar vein, when we reach our 20s, there might be some personality blocks that could hamper us in some way or the other. This incredible memoir, filled with poignant and humorous anecdotes, is a must read to let that confidence sparkle in you once again. Confidence backed with hard work can be a  gamechanger in your 20s and Rhimes helps further by enlisting tips for achieving one’s goals — necessary for those uncertain post-college years.

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino

We live in times which revolve around the self. In our 20s, we find both the macro-environment as well as the micro-environment challenging. This book allows us to peep beneath the surface to see ourselves clearly.

In this compilation of 9 essays, the author writes about the cultural prisms that shaped her, the rise of the internet and the mandate that everything, including our bodies, should always be getting more efficient and beautiful with each passing day. In fact, Trick Mirror can be a conversation starter in the parties one starts organizing and attending in one’s 20s. It is a powerful and witty book that shares learnings that one need not necessarily experience to understand. A super engaging read, it is exactly as it name, a trick mirror that is telling you the truth about life, if only you are ready to see it.




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