I had just gotten out of college and was burned out on reading books that my professors required me to read (I was an English major at the University of Wisconsin - Madison). I was twenty one and sick of reading and writing papers about what I had read. I did not choose to read for fun until in my late twenties/early thirties (I know, sad right?) or at least I don't recall reading any books that I chose having a robust impact on me.
So, I am recommending these five books for young women in their early twenties. Note that there are no books about my blackness or culture - I did not delve into this part of my life as a reader and am still working to be more conscientious about ensuring that the books I choose and recommend for my child incorporate this part of who I am. This is my list of books that I think young women should consider delving into and all for the same reason...
Who are you, really?
Do you know yourself? Do you study yourself and know your weaknesses and strengths; triggers and hang ups? Do you know your baggage and your prejudices? Your insecurities? Read these books and ask of yourself - do I know me and do I love me?
Are you the type of woman who is great at helping every other woman with their problems, but blind as a bat when it comes to your own issues as Anna was in Anna Karenina? Do you use shopping and credit card debt to create and live in a world that you cannot afford like Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic? Do you feel torn between culture and love like Sayuri in Memoirs of a Gesha; if you do are you able to remain poised and calm despite watching your life fall apart? Are you or do you know Dolores Price in She's Come Undone? Dolores is an overweight, depressed, social misfit. She struggles and her story pulls on your heart and you must ask yourself have you mistreated or befriended a woman like Dolores if you are not her? Do you accept what's been put before you without asking more questions? Do you think there is more and are you willing to work at being your authentic self in order to reach your goals, experience your fullest potential and live the life that you want to? Read, Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self.
I am constantly encouraged by how women overcome their challenges. It comes back to introspection and being honest about what you see in yourself, listening to your gut. I would encourage all "young" readers to read every book and ask about one's own self while reading. Every fiction piece has at least a slice of truth and can be an opportunity for each and every one of us to learn about ourselves and grow from what we learn.
I was very encouraged to see some overlap at The Very Unofficial Adult, (Bee)autiful Blessings, The Daily Distraction and a lot of new books to add to my GoodReads bookshelf. I still have so much learning to do and look forward to reading about these books on my journey.