Eager to post about today's link up, I got hung up on the word "young" and immediately felt conflicted about my participation. Having just turned 40 in February, I am still adjusting to this new stage in life, and am continuing to accept that I am not old but that I also am not "young". In response to this week's linkup, I'm recommending these books to my twenty something self (and other women into their third decade of life) and hope that you see something that you'd like to read or recommend too. 

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.


If you are a woman looking to grow closer to God or grow firm in your beliefs about what He values in you, consider these titles. All of them include scriptures and in one way or another cut to the heart of our pain, insecurity and lack of trust. I have marked up my copies with many comments about how relatable the text was to my own life - usually things that happened young in my childhood or in my twenties. I appreciate the constant theme of God's perfect love throughout all of these books. Each requires that the reader take time to do some emotional and mental work and take a vivid look at their own lives and then to go and grow...closer to God.

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.






 


04/28/2013 22:48

Great choices! I hate to admit it, but I haven't read "Anna Karenina" (or really, much Russian lit at all).

I loved the Shopaholic books when I was in my twenties. I felt they were really talking to me. And "She's Come Undone" is wonderful!

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Regina @ BAIWB
04/28/2013 23:16

I have his (Wally Lamb) other book about the twin boys on my shelf, I keep telling myself - winter break, spring break or summer break. I still shake my head in amazement that a MAN wrote the story of Dolores.

I have enjoyed the Shopaholic books even in the past few years, though I shake my head at her, I recall getting my shiny Visa card in the mailbox (when it was still legal for them to give college students credit cards without even having applied for them) and being shocked that I had to pay for the stuff that was listed on that paper. Ha!

Thank you Jen!

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04/29/2013 15:59

I loved this post! I definitely liked how you approached the questions we should be asking ourselves in terms of our identity. That could have helped me out a lot in my early 20s.

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Regina @ BAIWB
05/01/2013 20:10

Me too Angie. I think I secretly wish for one of those time warp situations where I can go back and "guide" my twenty year old self. I wouldn't change too much except to demand that she demand that we/she (ha, ha) listen to her/our gut.

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04/30/2013 17:07

I think the books you chose can be a good read for anyone of any age! Hey, the 40 can be the new 20 :) Great picks! My GoodReads shelves are overflowing right now. I have to catch up soon!
xoxo-
Kristen

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Regina @ BAIWB
05/01/2013 20:11

Hi Kristen, let's be BFFs! I really appreciate your comment about the "new 20". I am looking forward to a couple of weeks vacation this summer and a good half dozen reads and TIME to read them.

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04/30/2013 22:03

I loved how you approached writing this and relating each book to an element of a young woman's life. I also like that you made an additional Christian women's section. I definitely want to check out those reads myself :)

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Regina @ BAIWB
05/01/2013 20:12

Thank you Kim!

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05/01/2013 14:26

Okay, yet another person listing Anna Karenina as a must-read... I need to get to this!

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Regina @ BAIWB
05/01/2013 20:14

It really made me feel I'd accomplished by something reading this for pleasure without having to write a paper on it. I will caution you to be prepared for the almost exhaustive scenic descriptions of Russia (great but I could have done without 3/4 of that). I hope you get to it soon.

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05/04/2013 17:46

Another MUST READ by all women is Half the Sky....I love your selections here!

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Regina @ BAIWB
05/04/2013 20:59

Thank you for the recommendation. It is now on my Goodreads list.

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