• Julia Fell

Five Books for Everyone in their Early Twenties

recommendations suited for the complex twenty-something's lifestyle

Making books a part of your daily routine as an adult can be difficult, especially once you’re out of school and no longer have mandatory reading assignments to do for class or lectures notes to review. While it can be easy to lose a commute or entire evening to other things, such as Netflix or YouTube, it’s especially important to readopt the pastime of reading for fun into your twenties. Doing so is the best way to continue learning and growing, encourage self development, and exercise your brain.

If you’re looking for a good startup kit, here are five books I suggest you keep on your nightstand, in your bag, or on your phone as a twenty-something.

1. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes​

I must confess, I am a huge Shonda Rhimes fan. I love all of her shows and who she is as a person—she’s fearless and a role model for women everywhere. When I read her book, I was a bit shocked to learn that she’s had social anxiety and body image issues nearly all her life. She portrays such a confident and bold persona to the world, yet just like many other people, she found security hiding behind her laptop.

Year of Yes is about how she challenged herself to say “yes” to absolutely every opportunity that came her way for an entire year, dedicating that time to bettering herself. It details how she got out of her own way and did the things that scared her, and tells the story of how she grew from the experiment. If there is anything in your life you find yourself constantly saying “no” to or an area of your life you want to improve, I guarantee this book can inspire you to change.

2. 101 Secrets For Your Twenties by Paul Angone​

This book is as funny as it is insightful. It’s written by someone who struggled throughout his twenties and is passing on what he learned in hopes of helping other young people navigate these challenging years. The set up of the book—just one life lesson on each page—makes it an easy read for everyone, especially those who hate sitting down to read long chapters. Angone’s book requires nothing more than the time it takes to read a few pages before you go to bed each night. The pieces of advice and stories range from hysterical to heart warming, and you’ll definitely finish this book feeling more confident in your ability to make the most out of your twenties.

3. The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

I truly don’t know how I ever lived without this book. If your closet is a chaotic mess, a confused mix of pieces you love and pieces you hate (but keep around anyway), filled with things you’ve been meaning to fix or sell or lose weight to fit into, or causes you stress of any other kind, you absolutely need to read this. The Curated Closet is more than just about organization and storage; it can help you figure out your style and put a closet together full of outfits that make you happy and confident. I had no idea how clueless I was about my personal style until I read this book, and now my closet has become a collection of coherent pieces that bring me joy when I put them on. Because we literally live in our clothes, they ought to reflect who we are individually or how we want to be seen by others. Not only do I swear by this book because it has the ability to change your entire life, but it has the added bonus of being a gorgeous book that would be a perfect addition to any shelf or coffee table.

4. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed

This pocketbook is something I bring with me almost everywhere. I often keep it in my backpack or car for easy access when I need a quick pick-me-up or a few words of wisdom. Strayed’s small but powerful book offers various quotes and anecdotes about fear, love, loss, and taking chances, as well as just about everything in between. I’ve found that reading a page or two from Brave Enough is just what I need to light a fire under me and push through whatever difficult situation I might be facing. I highly recommend it to anyone who finds comfort in words during times of trouble, or just wants a quick way to put a smile on their face.

5. A book on someone you admire

I’m leaving suggestion number five up to you. Seek out a biography or autobiography about or by someone you truly look up to and think you can learn something from. One of the best ways to prevent mistakes is to learn from the mistakes of others. I’m a huge Disney fan, and by reading a biography about Walt Disney, I have a better understanding of his incredible work ethic and habits that I've incorporated into my own life. So hit up Amazon or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, go to a bookstore or library and see what piques your interest. You’d be surprised what you could learn about your favorite business leader, politician, artist, celebrity, or activist.

And if you want to save money (because who doesn’t?), make sure your library card is up-to-date and see if your local branch has any of these titles as physical or digital copies available to borrow!