Books for the 20-Something

I’ve been seeing the Buzzfeed list of 65 books to read in your 20s posted everywhere lately. And I’m not surprised: Your relationship with books changes once you’ve put formal schooling behind you. Even if you’ve always been a lit-lover, like me, you start to remember what it’s like to read purely for pleasure and to organically discover titles and authors and genres and subjects on your own without the guidance of a syllabus. But that can be overwhelming… you’re suddenly in charge of filling in the gaps in your education and sorting out what to choose (and what to omit) from a rapidly expanding canon. It’s no wonder we yearn for a list.

Image credit: Buzzfeed

Image credit: Buzzfeed

I’m a little more than halfway through my 20s; I’ve read these 16 already:

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
  • White Teeth, by Zadie Smith
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
  • Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney
  • Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  • Never Let Me Go, by Kazui Ishiguro
  • A Home at the End of the World, by Michael Cunningham
  • On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
  • Bossypants, by Tina Fey
  • How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, by Toby Young
  • Just Kids, by Patti Smith
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris
  • How to Be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White

And of the remainder, there are 12 I want to read:

  • My Misspent Youth, by Meghan, Daum
  • Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers
  • The Group, by Mary McCarthy
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Rachel Papers, by Martin Amis
  • The Nakesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
  • The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud
  • The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
  • Lucy, by Jamaica Kincaid