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7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read…Maybe

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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!


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish

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.



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishBridge 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 canada goose down vest Canada Goose chateau parka replica price, 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.


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishHarry 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.



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishGunn’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.)


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishEither/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).



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish
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.

8 Books Every Woman in her 20s Should Read…Maybe

I’ve seen several lists of books women should read in their 20s floating around the internet lately.  Many of these lists include some great books that I have enjoyed, though many as a teen rather than an adult.  However, despite the aim of the lists, I just didn’t find the titles as relatable as someone in her 20s is apparently supposed to.  So many of these lists seemed to be aimed at the type of women who exist in tv shows like Girls or Sophie Kinsella novels.  It’s hard to find a list for those of us who are in a different place in life.  So, I put together my own.  Give it a read and maybe this will be the list for you…or maybe you’ll end up writing one of your own.


The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Awakening by Kate Chopin

Because you need to know who you are and what you want.

This is one of the first books that could unambiguously be described as feminist because it features a woman as a person in relation to the world, with wants and needs to be explored.  It deals with her struggle with who she is, what she wants, and what it takes to make herself happy, regardless of what others or society in general think is appropriate versus selfish.  It shows the importance of having a fulfilling life in your own right. Though we’ve come a long way since Chopin wrote it, women still face these questions.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Because you need good, solid, real female friendship.

Though this book is just as much about Sidda and Vivi’s relationship than anything else, the friendship between the Ya-Yas is what really shines.  They love each other fiercely and would do anything for each other.   As an adult, female friendships can seem so complicated to navigate, but we all need a reminder that friendship is worth it because even one good friend having your back can make life so much easier and more fun.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Red Tent by Anita Diamont

Because being a woman is a powerful thing, even when others try to make you forget it.

This is the story of Dinah.  Though mentioned only briefly in the Bible, Diamant has given her a full life.  Her early years are spent primarily in the company of women, her mother and aunts, where she learns about the traditions, connections, difficulties, and triumphs of being a woman.  Her story is not only her own, but that of the women who raised her.  The ribbon running through this story is the celebration of what it means to be a woman.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Because you shouldn’t take your freedoms for granted or stop fighting for those you don’t yet have.

My generation, those currently in their 20s, have grown up with more freedoms and opportunities than the generations before us and we did it without really having to fight for them.  It’s easy to take that for granted or think they’ll never go away, but The Handmaids Tale asks us to think about what would happen if they did.  Offred’s story reminds us to keep fighting for true equality and rights.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Because you should remember and hold on to the passion of youth.

As an adult, I love YA for it’s ability to remind me of a time when everything was more intense and confusing, but more exciting and wonderful in many ways, too.  As we grow up and find ourselves, things calm down but we also tend to lose the passion for life.  I could have chosen any YA for this, but Libba Bray is such a witty writer and young women can really connect to the story of Gemma figuring out who she is and where she fits in the world.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDevil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens

Because you should figure out what you like and want from a partner.

Romance novels are often decried as harmful, anti-feminist, or drivel.  I disagree.  What you like in a book can teach you a lot about what you’d want from a partner. I prefer historical romances like those by Stepanie Laurens, but substitute this with whatever type of romance you want.  Read many and varied types, whatever kind you want, just do yourself a favor and read the quality ones.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

Because being different can be a wonderful thing.

Emily Dickinson was eccentric, reclusive, introverted, and any number of other things a woman of her time shouldn’t have been.  She was also one of the most prolific and talented poets of any time.  Her verses explore themes and wonders of the world that you wouldn’t think possible from someone as secluded as she.  They also managed to be both beautiful and relatable to even the most ardent hater of poetry.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishGunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn

Because class is always in style.

Tim Gunn’s golden rules are all very sensible and obvious, but they’re also things so many of us overlook.  He reminds us of these very simple ways for living a better life in his usual hilarious, adorable, and honest way.  These are good lessons for any woman, but sometimes you just need fabulous Tim Gunn to remind you.




What do you think, readers?  What are your must reads?

And, lest you think I forgot the guys, my friend Robi has graciously agreed to put together a list of books for men in their 20s that will be posted in the near future.

Favorite Retellings

I just finished reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series, which is great meta-retelling of the Persephone myth.  I love a good retelling or re-imagining of a familiar story, especially when the author puts a creative new twist on here.  Here are some of my favorites (including two that are re-imaginings of an actual person’s life).
Devilish by Maureen Johnson
Retelling of: Faust

The only thing that makes St. Teresa’s Preparatory School for Girls bearable for Jane is her best friend Ally. But when Ally changes into a whole different person literally overnight the fall of their senior year, Jane’s suddenly alone—and very confused.

Turns out, Ally has sold her soul in exchange for popularity—to a devil masquerading as a sophomore at St. Teresa’s! Now it’s up to Jane to put it all on the line to save her friend from this ponytail-wearing, cupcakenibbling demon . . . without losing her own soul in the process.





The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Retelling of: Alice in Wonderland

When Alyss Heart, heir to the Wonderland throne, must flee through the Pool of Tears to escape the murderous aunt Redd, she finds herself lost and alone in Victorian London. Befriended by an aspiring author named Lewis Carrol, Alyss tells the violent, heartbreaking story of her young life. Alyss trusts this author to tell the truth so that someone, somewhere will find her and bring her home. But he gets the story all wrong. He even spells her name incorrectly!

Fortunately, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan knows all too well the awful truth of Alyss’ story and he is searching every corner of our world to find the lost princess and return her to Wonderland so she may eventually battle Redd for her rightful place as the Queen of Hearts.




The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler
Retelling of: The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Zita is not an ordinary servant girl–she’s the thirteenth daughter of a king who wanted only sons. When she was born, Zita’s father banished her to the servants’ quarters to work in the kitchens, where she can only communicate with her royal sisters in secret.

Then, after Zita’s twelfth birthday, the princesses all fall mysteriously ill. The only clue is their strangely worn and tattered shoes. With the help of her friends–Breckin the stable boy, Babette the witch, and Milek the soldier–Zita follows her bewitched sisters into a magical world of endless dancing and dreams. But something more sinister is afoot–and unless Zita and her friends can break the curse, the twelve princesses will surely dance to their deaths.




The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Retelling of: The Island of Dr. Moreau

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.



The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
Retelling of: Hamlet

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose remarkable gift for companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. Edgar seems poised to carry on his family’s traditions, but when catastrophe strikes, he finds his once-peaceful home engulfed in turmoil.

Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the Sawtelle farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who accompany him, until the day he is forced to choose between leaving forever or returning home to confront the mysteries he has left unsolved.



Ophelia by David Wroblewski
Retelling of: Hamlet

He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.

In this reimagining of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen’s most trusted lady-in-waiting. Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia’s happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Retelling of: The Biblical story of Dinah

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood–the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers–Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah–the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women’s society.




Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
Retelling of: The life of Jesus

The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years — except Biff, the Messiah’s best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work “reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Savior’s pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But there’s no one who loves Josh more — except maybe “Maggie,” Mary of Magdala — and Biff isn’t about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.



My Father Had a Daughter: Judith Shakespeare’s Tale by Grace Tiffany
Retelling of: The life of Shakespeare’s daughter, Judith

William Shakespeare was father to three children: Susanna, his oldest, and twins Judith and Hamnet. This is Judith’s tale… In this wonderfully inventive novel, Grace Tiffany weaves fact with fiction to bring Judith Shakespeare to vibrant life. After a family tragedy, Judith discovers a copy of her father’s new play, which seems to make light of her grief. Furious, she follows him to London, intent on sabotaging the performance–but instead, she discovers that she and her father have more in common than she imagined… Through Judith’s eyes, we glimpse the world of her famous playwright father–his work, his family, and his inspiration–in a richly atmospheric tale from a bright new literary star.




Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Retelling of: The life of Alice Liddell Hargreaves

Part love story, part literary mystery, Melanie Benjamin’s spellbinding historical novel leads readers on an unforgettable journey down the rabbit hole, to tell the story of a woman whose own life became the stuff of legend. Her name is Alice Liddell Hargreaves, but to the world she’ll always be known simply as “Alice,” the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a wonderland of Mad Hatters, Queens of Hearts, and Cheshire Cats. Now, nearing her eighty-first birthday, she looks back on a life of intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. First as a young woman, then as a wife, mother, and widow, she’ll experience adventures the likes of which not even her fictional counterpart could have imagined. Yet from glittering balls and royal romances to a world plunged into war, she’ll always be the same determined, undaunted Alice who, at ten years old, urged a shy, stuttering Oxford professor to write down one of his fanciful stories, thus changing her life forever.

Guest Post at Call Her Happy

I had the awesome opportunity to write a guest post for the blog Call Her Happy. I’m really excited about my first guest blogging experience and glad that Jenna made it such a great one.  So, head over to Call Her Happy to check out my post  8 Great Young Adult Novels That Adults Will Love Too.   While you’re there, give her blog a read, too.  She posts on a bunch of topics, including book reviews.

Favorite Fall Books

I’m in a bit of a post-portfolio haze, but I’m loving that I’ve been able to start reading for fun again. In honor of that (and that I’m back in a state with seasons!), I wanted to post about a few of my favorite books to read in the fall. These aren’t necessarily books about fall or taking place in the fall, but simply ones I find myself turning to again and again this time of year.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

There is something about pranking and intrigue at a boarding school that is just so very autumnal.  Frankie makes me long for my own teen years, though mine were quite a bit different than hers.  Bonus points for her being such a great character, too.



The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

 A story about stories narrated by a lover of books, this is one to read when the days are shorter and  colder and curling up with a book is all you want to do.  This gloomy, creepy, absorbing book is perfect for reading while sipping with some hot cocoa – main character Margaret Lea’s favorite drink.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I can’t read Wuthering Heights in the spring or summer; it is strictly a cold weather book for me.   A book this darkly passionate is best read during the darkest part of the year.



The Secret Circle Series by L.J. Smith

I love L.J. Smith and The Secret Circle is my favorite of her series.*  I first started reading this series one rainy fall day while making homemade apple cider. Every time I pick the books up, I think of fall and crave cider.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that the books take place primarily in the fall, too.


The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

I’ll be honest, this is a series I can read any time. I adore Gemma and I have such a literary crush on Libba Bray.  However, the Gothic Victorian setting, the mystery of The Order, and Gemma’s awakening are the perfect kind of magic for this time of year.




*I’m referring only to the original trilogy that she wrote, not the books that are written after they took the series away from her.  I don’t have a very favorable opinion of the newest one I read.