6 Books to Read When You’re Twenty-Something

Feb 23, 2016 by Sarah (Day Styles)

Books aren’t just stories sitting on a shelf, they help mold us into the people we become – especially when we start reading at a young age. If you reread the books you read in high school in your twenties, you’ll find they tell a completely different story, and the lessons you learn are totally different than those you picked up when you were young. Here are the six books that everyone should read (or reread) when you’re in your twenties to discover something new.

“The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemmingway

Read and learn how Hemmingway dealt with the highs and lows of his drunken youth from Paris to Pamplona. This book is known as Hemmingway’s greatest work, and Hemmingway himself called it his most important novel. Discover Paris and the Lost Generation of writers and artists, women and love, and a cutting exploration of anti-Semitism, all in one brilliant novel.

“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy

“Anna Karenina” is a one of the best novels in realist fiction and Tolstoy’s first real novel in 1878. The writer William Faulkner once stated that Anna Karenina was the best book ever written, and even today the novel remains a popular best-selling book. The story is about a married aristocrat and her love affair, but it explores many topics, including the nature of family, and life and politics in Russia at the time the novel was written.

“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare

“Hamlet” was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare between 1599 and 1602. The play is one of the most influential tragedies in English literature, and some consider it Shakespeare’s crowning dramatic achievement. In the play, Prince Hamlet is visited by the ghost of his father and ordered to avenge his death. You’ll definitely start to think more about life and death after reading this play, not to mention the beautiful language and turns of phrase that Shakespeare invented and we still use to this day.

“Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro

Alice Munro is a Canadian author and this book of short stories concentrates on the inner lives of women. The stories are very inspirational and interesting, and two of them were made into movies, “Away From Her” in 2006 and “Hateship, Loveship” in 2014. In this book, Munro reminds us that small successes are sometimes just as great (or often even better) than big ones. That’s a great lesson for us to remember while we’re in our twenties (or at any point in our lives.)

“The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera

Originally published in France in 1984, the story is a timeless exploration of human relationships that’s been read around the world. This book offers some great insight into gender dynamics and the struggle we all face when looking to achieve both independence and meaningful relationships at the same time. Any twenty-something can relate to these problems, that’s for sure, so this book is a must on our list.

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” by Edward Albee

This play is great for anyone who ever needs to interact with anyone of the opposite sex! The witty dialogue is some of the best in theater history, and although the play is from 1962, it’s still shown all the time. The story of the play is about a couple who get tested one night, and the true meaning of their marriage is brought to the forefront in front of all their guests. It reminds us that nothing is exactly quite as it seems.

These six great books can help us understand our place in the world and the struggles of love and loss, especially during our turbulent twenties! But, honestly, you should keep reading good books at any age! Every time you can find something new.

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