At 20, we are trying to figure out everything. How do I pay those bills? Am I in love with them? What am I going to do with my life? What do I want my job to be like?
During my 20s, I’ve lost true loves, found better ones, lost a parent, realized how much my childhood has shaped me, been confused about what kind of job I wanted, and learned to appreciate my body (not always in that order, and sometimes repeating stages more than once…or twice). You should read these books if you want to understand and grow in your personal and professional lives. They cover a wide range of topics. For example, the books are divided into sections for different parts of your 20s: Intersectional Feminism; Love; Career; Social Life. Intersectional Feminism
Intersectional feminism is something that many of us are learning how to do as we deal with dating and being a woman at work. In this case, how to act as an ally for someone who is LGBT Here are some books I read that taught me new things about feminism. They also helped me remember and sum up what I already knew about the subject.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“With humor and levity, Adichie gives readers a new definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one that is based on inclusion and awareness,” says the author. She shines a light not only on obvious discrimination, but also on the more subtle, institutional behaviors that make it hard for women all over the world to be heard. This is so that people from all walks of life can better understand the often hidden realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws from her own experiences in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and around the world to show why the gender divide is bad for both women and men.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay tells us about how she has changed as a woman of color in these funny and insightful essays. She also takes us on a ride through culture over the last few years and talks about the state of feminism today.” The picture that emerges is not only one of a very smart woman who is always learning more about herself and our society, but also one of our culture. If you read Bad Feminism, you’ll learn about how the culture we consume makes us who we are. It’s also an inspiring call-to-arms for all the ways we can do better.
Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Here are fifteen great ideas for how to help your daughter become a strong, independent woman. They are direct, funny, and insightful.” As a child’s toy, you can encourage her to choose a helicopter, not just a doll. You can also talk openly about clothes, makeup, and sexuality with her. Dear Ijeawel goes right to the heart of modern sexual politics. This is a book for people who want to talk about sexuality in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and very important conversation about what it means to be a woman today.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Ijeoma Oluo gives a modern, easy-to-understand look at the racial landscape in the United States. She talks about issues like privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Oluo is the perfect person to help people of color and white people who are struggling with race issues. He answers the questions readers don’t want to ask, and he explains the concepts that still don’t make sense to most people in the United States.
I think that on average, people in their 20s have the least stable love lives compared to people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. There are romantic and non-romantic friendships that I think of when I say “love.” Sometimes this is when we start having adult relationships or break up with people we met as teenagers. I’ve had my share of online dating disasters and passionate long-distance flames, but now I’m with the most amazing person who is just right for me, and I can’t believe it. I’ve also cut down on the friends I make the effort to keep in touch with, but I’ve also made new and really good adult friendships (with people significantly older and younger than me). The books on this list helped me get through some of the tough times in my dating life and make fun of myself and modern dating.
milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
Milk and honey is a book of poetry and prose about how to stay alive. : It talks about how violence and abuse happen to people all the time, but also how love, loss and femininity happen as well. Every chapter serves a different purpose or helps with a different pain or heals a different heartache. It is broken into four parts, each of which serves a unique purpose. milk and honey takes readers on a journey through some of the most bitter parts of life and makes them sweet because there is sweetness everywhere if you are willing to look.
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende, translated by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson
Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live with an aunt and uncle in San Francisco in 1939, when Poland is under the Nazis’ shadow. They want her to be safe there. She meets Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener, there. As the rest of the world goes to war, she meets him and finds him to be very kind. Unnoticed by the people around them, a tender love grows. Both Ichimei and his family are forced to move to internment camps run by the United States government after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Alma and Ichimei meet again and again in their lives, but they have to hide their love from the rest of the world.
Alma is nearing the end of a long and interesting life. At the Lark House nursing home in San Francisco, Irina Bazili, who is trying to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth. The home is full of quirky and charming residents. As Irina and Seth become friends, they become curious about a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma. They learn about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has been going on for nearly 70 years.
This section talks about the kind of grinding that is good for our reputation and helps us start a good job. Some books help you figure out how to measure success, how to find and keep work-life balance, and how to understand why some people are so successful.
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay
A lot of people think that twentysomething years don’t matter because “thirty is the new twenty.” Some people say that they are a long-term adolescence. Others call them a time when they are still young. But twenty isn’t the same as thirty. In this book, Dr. Meg Jay talks about how many twentysomethings have been caught up in a swirl of hype and misinformation that has made the most important years of adulthood seem like a waste of time. When Dr. Jay has worked for more than 10 years with hundreds of young people, he weaves together the science of what happens in your 20s with interesting, behind-the-scenes stories from young people. People in their twenties are a time when the things they do and the things they don’t do will have a big impact for years and even generations to come.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
People who read Michelle Obama’s book will get to know her better. She talks about how her life has been shaped by her experiences, from her childhood in Chicago on the South Side to her years as an executive juggling the demands of motherhood and work. Using wit and honesty, she tells both her public and private triumphs and failures, telling her full story as she has lived it. She does this in her own words and on her own terms. The book “Becoming” is about a woman who has a lot of soul and substance and who has always defied the odds. “Becoming” is warm, wise, and full of revelations.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The best and brightest, the most famous, and the most successful are called “outliers.” Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a journey through the world of “outliers.” Asks: What makes people who do well different? In his answer, he says that we pay too much attention to what successful people look like, but not enough attention to where they come from. This is because their culture, their family, their generation, and the unique experiences of their upbringing are all important. Along the way, he talks about how to become a software billionaire, how to be a great soccer player, why Asians are good at math, and what made the Beatles the best rock band.