I came across a list entitled “25 Books Every Girl Should Read Before She Turns 25.” I am now rushing to read them all because my birthday is in just a few weeks. Upon looking over the list, I realized a lot of the books are novels. I have nothing against novels; in fact, I should probably read more. However, I’m going through a stage now where nonfiction is more interesting to me. Because a person’s twenties are such a crucial decade to one’s development and growth, I find it important to read material that aides in that.
As such, I have decided to make a list of books I have read that have been helpful in my journey of self-discovery (yes, some of them are even novels). They may not be for everyone, as they are specific to my needs and beliefs, but perhaps you will find one or two that are helpful to you. Feel free to add more suggestions in the comments below.
- Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
If you’re not big into reading, don’t start with this one. It’s amazing, but it also took me months to read. But it’s worth it! It explains the wisdom of ancient tales and the lessons we can learn from them. It travels deep into the female psyche, teaching women to unlock their inner wisdom.
- Spider Woman’s Web by Susan Hazen-Hammond
I think of this one as almost a simpler version of Women Who Run With the Wolves. A swift read, but a meaningful one. It also explores old tales, but specifically focusing on those of Native American tradition. At the end of each chapter are questions beckoning readers to dig deep within themselves, exploring their past and embracing their present.
- Released from Shame by Sandra D. Wilson
This is a fantastic book for anyone struggling with relentless shame, low self-worth, doubt, etc. Even if this doesn’t describe you, it opens a window of understanding toward those it does describe. Again, it challenges the reader to look inward for growth and self-awareness.
- Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride
Think of this book as a very specific version of Released from Shame. It peers into rocky relationships between mothers and daughters, and it reveals how influential the mother-daughter relationship is in women’s lives. Even if you have/had a great relationship with your mother, this can be helpful in accessing your own inner mother to yourself as well as growing as a mother to your children.
- The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
Some people love it, some people don’t. But it certainly does offer interesting perspectives on the female genitalia.
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
The author emphasizes the importance of not sacrificing that which is good and healthy in the name of being “spiritual.” It is written from a Christian perspective, but the points made are excellent for those of any spiritual background. Emotional health is an important thing, and good spirituality should enhance that, not sabotage it.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
A novel about a young, Native American man and his journey of transferring schools and the experiences that come with it. I have almost no grounds to relate to this character, but the author did a fantastic job of placing me in the character’s shoes to understand his thoughts and feelings. It also gave me a clearer perspective of modern Native American culture.
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
I was required to read this book for a writing class I took, but I learned a lot about societal trends and how little things can become epidemics. An example that immediately comes to mind is how Justin Bieber became so popular almost overnight. Gladwell doesn’t specifically mention Justin Bieber, but that’s kinda of the idea of what he talks about.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
A coming of age novel about a young man following his dream. I normally hate the idea of “following your dreams,” (a topic for a different post), but I’d say this story is far from cheesy.
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
A novel I couldn’t put down, giving me the perspective of one whose life is very different from mine, and also increasing my empathy and understanding for others.
- A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas
Written by a woman whose husband was forever changed by a terrible accident, A Three Dog Life chronicles her journey of creating a new normal. My comments cannot do this books justice. But I will say that it was enriching for me to read because it helped me step outside my personal bubble to learn about someone who is in a different stage of life from me.
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
I found an deepening of two things as a result of having reading this book: my understanding of those involved in/affected by the Vietnam War, and my respect for said people.
- Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
The subtitle of this book is “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” Written by a former atheist, the author is not trying to shove an ideology down your throat. He’s simply writing about his experience, which I loved reading about. Great for those exploring their own spirituality.
- A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller
Psalm 23 is a commonly quoted poem at funerals, but that wasn’t necessarily what the original author had in mind when he wrote it. This book is written by a shepherd who knows the ins and outs of the daily life of sheep, and it will increase your appreciation for the shepherd’s psalm.
- Sexual Fluidity by Lisa Diamond
I don’t have a lot of well-developed thoughts on this book because I’m still reading it. However, I am learning more about female sexuality, and it’s fascinating.