A few months ago I posted a list of books I thought every woman in her 20s should read. Today, my wonder twin Robi is guess posting with his list of books every man in his 20s should read. Thanks Robi!
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
This book meant a lot to me when I first read it in high school, and it meant more to me when I read it in my 20s. It’s a book about friendship and fate that covers a wide range of time and emotions. It’s a “coming of age” story that has an ever changing “age” that it encompasses. It especially appeals to me as a story of two friends, one who knows exactly his fate and his place in the world, and one who is always trying to figure it out, and how each approach has its own merits and its own pitfalls.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
This is one of my all-time favorite books. I can remember when I first read it as a kid. And I can remember the joy of receiving a signed copy for a Christmas present this year (yeah, I’m stuntin’ on it). The main character can easily be any of us when we were a kid, and just as easily be anyone as an adult. It’s a story about being angry and lost at times, and still finding joy and happiness, and about being a kid while also being forced to grow up. Further, it’s the story that I credit with helping me realize that boys and girls can be best friends. My absolute best friend is a girl (the only one who could actually get me to write a blog post…), and is someone I can be imaginative and playful with, and also someone who can understand when I need to vent or be moody. From making friends to dealing with hardships, this book is one that taught me so much, and I will always come back to read again and again.
Harry Potter Series by J. K Rowling
This book series has everything. It’s a book where the reader can grow with the characters, understand their motivations, their secrets, their abilities, and the reader learns life lessons along with the characters. And I think, because of these things, the reader can take a lot from it. Plus, whether we are younger or older, it’s easy to equate with the emotions of the characters. It covers all themes: friendship, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork. Read one each year in the summer, and realize that whatever is coming up in the next year, by facing it and relying on both yourself and others, it can be tackled and accomplished.
Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work by Tim Gunn
I don’t feel like you have a to a fan of Project Runway, or the fashion world in general, to enjoy this book and learn something from it. Even if one has no desire to get first hand stories from behind the scenes of some of the biggest names in fashion (side note: see my final entry in this post, though, as to why it should still be considered), Gunn’s “golden rules” are important for any person to follow. It’s part autobiography, part insider look into the fashion industry, and a whole lot of self-help. His guidelines toward etiquette and how one should conduct and dress oneself are inspiring, and should make readers want to be better for themselves and for others. (seriously, though, people need to quit wearing pajamas in public. Comfort is overrated.)
Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by Søren Kierkegaard (Specifically “Crop Rotation”)
“Boredom is the root of all evil…”
Of all of the books I read in college, this one stuck with me the most. I feel that boredom is becoming increasingly rampant. When you are in your 20s, starting out on your own, starting to work full-time, etc., boredom kicks in at all moments, and it will only get worse. And this boredom leads to filling it with useless activities (Facebook, bored eating, TV watching), which leads to despair over ourselves and our situations. Kierkegaard’s ideas won’t solve boredom, but it will help you face it, realize it, and hopefully move on it from it (utilizing a “rotation” method that goes more towards being productive and creative, not through ways that are wasteful or useless).
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson
This is not just a comic, it’s a life philosophy. Calvin’s (and, by extension, Hobbes’) ideas on everything ranging from parental politics to school to life are deep and far-reaching. This is especially true when you realize that Calvin could make more out of a cardboard box and a stuffed tiger than most of us can make out of a house full of electronics, TV shows reaching the trillions (by this point, I imagine that’s the case), and the constant presence of the world at our fingertips (whether that be useful or a crutch). This, more than anything, is a calling to utilization imagination and try to find the fun in life. (Also, Calvinball, using the same things to create a constantly changing and challenging game to combat boredom is a great example of the rotation method (see above).
Something out of your comfort zone
This is not so much a specific book as much as it is a challenge. Now is the time to read something out of your “comfort zone.” There is no reason to be pigeonholed to reading only certain things. But if you don’t start now, that time may not come. Read Young Adult series. Read books that are the opposite of your beliefs. Read a horror book, a romantic book, a book aimed at kids, a book that you think would be “too smart” for you. Hell, read Twilight. It doesn’t have to be the best to pique your interest and expand your mind. And this is the perfect time to start, before you get stuck in a rut of thinking only a certain type of story is appealing to you.