While 20-22 is the age when you are all happy and excited to enter your twenties, 23 is the age when adulthood truly starts to sink in. And with that reality check also comes some anxiety and a few panic attacks. The how’s and why’s of adulthood remain undeciphered till date. However, there is something that can make you feel a tad bit okay with life - the written word. Books will either teach you something, show you that you are not alone or help you escape to the land of dreams. Check out these 23 books every girl should read once she turns 23!
1. Hyperbole And A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem And Other Things That Happened
You’ve probably seen, read or heard of the famous blog - Hyperbole And A Half - run by Allie Brosh. As hilarious as the blog is, the book is even better! It’s basically just all of our everyday adulthood struggles put under one umbrella...because someone had to do it. And as the title suggests, it addresses the very real struggles of growing up! Plus the illustrations are adorable!
This book by Cheryl Strayed is a collection of letters and responses to them by an advice columnist ‘Sugar’. The beautiful part about the book is that the pieces of advice are tiny yet profound. It’s something we all want to know, questions about love and life we want answered. And Sugar does just that in a heartfelt, compassionate yet pertinent manner. Price: Rs 362. Buy it here.
3. Illusions: The Adventures Of A Reluctant Messiah
Would you like to become the Messiah of the world? What if the Messiah himself offered you his position? How do you figure out the deeper meaning of life to tell the world? All that and much more is what Richard Bach’s Illusions is all about. Definitely some food for thought with a twist on the last page worth waiting for. Price: Rs 535. Buy it here.
4. The Edible Woman
What happens when you have the life you should but a sort of inner rebellion breaks out, turning everything into a chaos? That is what Margaret Atwood’s novel explores. Published in 1988, this book is quite different from her later works but equally engaging. It’s funny and emotional, exploring the relationship of men and women and the havoc they create. Price: Rs 632. Buy it here.
5. Yes Please!
If you’ve spent your days and nights binge watching Parks And Recreation then you probably know who Amy Poehler is. Poehler’s book, which is kind of like a memoir but not really, gives you what a good book should - motivation, someone to look up to and a bunch of good ol’ jokes. While there isn’t anything extraordinary about the book, Poehler’s simple yet charismatic writing more than makes up for it and teaches us that it’s okay. Everything is okay.
6. The How Of Happiness: A New Approach To Getting The Life You Want
Don’t we all want to be happy? That’s all you want at 23, right? Well, Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book teaches you exactly how to do that...scientifically. While we are not particularly huge fans of self-help books, we actually recommend this one for the sheer positivity it will bring to your life! If nothing else, this book will just remind you to smile every once in awhile. Price: Rs 490. Buy it here.
7. My Year With Eleanor
We’re all afraid of something or the other. Most of the times we let go of things claiming we can’t change them. But what if you could? Would you face your fears if given the choice? This book is Noelle Hancock’s extremely candid memoir of the one year she spent overcoming her fears. Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s words ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’, the author embarks on a journey of confrontations, swimming with sharks, jumping out of airplanes - basically, everything she thought she could never do. Her journey is both inspiring, fun and exceptional! Price: Rs. 762. Buy it here.
8. Summer Sisters
A coming to age story of two completely different girls who meet in the summers when they are 12 year olds, only to spend all summers together for the next six years. Judy Blume will make you feel nostalgic and you’ll want to call your best friend after reading this simple and sweet novel about sisterhood and friendship.
Sachin Kundalkar’s book, which was originally written in Marathi and then later translated into English by Jerry Pinto, is a poignant story. It revolves around two siblings (male and female) who fall in love with the same guy to see their life taking a drastic emotional turn thereafter. Price: Rs. 424. Buy it here.
10. Tuesdays With Morrie
Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie is a book that changes you for the better. It takes you back to that one person who changed your life, the one whom you still haven’t asked enough questions. The mentor, the friend, the lover - it shows you the bigger perspective of a small life. Price: Rs 202. Buy it here.
11. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Maya Angelou is without a doubt, one of the most powerful feminist voices of our times. Her book I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, which most of us would have read as a poem in school, is an inspiring real life tale of Angelou herself. Her struggles as a black girl in the 1930s and how she finally ‘came of age’ makes this a must read for every girl.Price: Rs 704. Buy it here.
12. The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing
Though you never should judge a book by its cover, The Sleepwalker’s Guide To Dancing instantly makes you want to pick it up and get reading. Mira Jacob’s story about a photographer who comes back to her home due to a family crisis after several years, only to face the past she was trying to avoid, is both dark and funny, making it an engaging read throughout!
Set in a dystopian world where women have no rights and are enslaved by men, this book is a first person account of one such woman slave. Margaret Atwood’s second book in this list - The Handmaid’s Tale - will put you in a prison only to set you free.Price: Rs 299. Buy it here.
14. Graduates In Wonderland
A book that celebrates the life of the two authors and real-life best friends - Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale - post-college in the most hilarious way possible. If you have recently graduated from college and are going down the spiral of ‘real life’ then this book is something you will keep next to you for a long time. Price: Rs 845. Buy it here.
15. The Secret History
Donna Tartt’s book, which will probably remind you of all those dreadful History lessons, is actually more than just that. It teaches you a thing or two about history that you would never see in your textbooks. One of the first novels to revolve around college campus life, The Secret History takes you through the ups and downs of six friends through knowledge, mentorship, love, heartbreak and a mysterious murder.Price: Rs. 448. Buy it here.
16. The Year Of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion’s book is her own misery memoir. A misery memoir is the author’s personal story of pain and trauma. While it may sound like a downer of a book, it’s actually the opposite. With a brutal yet sentimental style of writing, Didion takes us on a journey of grief that we’ve all been preparing ourselves for since the beginning of time, while at the same time, reminding us of the power of magical thinking.
Not That Kind Of Girl is Lena Dunham’s memoir with the tagline, ‘A young woman tells you what she has learned’. Dunham, who also stars in the popular HBO TV series Girls, is a strong voice amongst today’s generation, so while the book does not bring anything groundbreaking to the forefront, it shows us what makes Dunham who she is. Price: Rs 1,040. Buy it here.
18. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling’s book is like the Mindy Kaling we have seen on TV - it’s funny, witty and makes the most mundane things in life sound interesting! It makes you realize that everything sounds better with a pinch of humour. Price: Rs 424. Buy it here.
19. East Of Eden
A book by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, East Of Eden is an interwoven story of two families set at the end of World War I. The book explores the love, freedom, guilt and struggle for acceptance that ties a family together while simultaneously breaking it apart. Price: Rs 449. Buy it here.
20. The Palace Of Illusions
Come witness the great epic Mahabharata through the eyes of a woman. You will see things no one will ever tell you about epics, the other forbidden side of the coin. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book will make you realize we’re not all that different from Panchaali - the wife of the Pandavas. And of course, reading the Mahabharata from the perspective of Draupadi is eye-opening.
In 1958, when Rona Jaffe’s book first came out, it created a much-welcome shock wave in the society. The story of five women employees at a New York publishing house - their struggles and their happiness, is what this book details. Price: Rs 625. Buy it here.
22. Girls In White Dresses
You’re 23, which means soon you’ll see your friends getting married, starting families and there will come a time when you will wonder where you’re headed. Grab hold of Jennifer Close’s Girls In White Dresses then to feel comfortable where you are. It is the story of three women who are living amidst confusion, heartbreak, love and the changing dynamics of friendship. Extremely relatable and highly entertaining, the book will make you feel just a tad bit okay in life.Price: Rs 631. Buy it here.
23. Of Human Bondage
W. Somerset Maugham’s classic novel Of Human Bondage is an expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. It’s so close to the current world scenario that you will wonder how the author could feel in 1915 and say what we feel at this moment. Definitely a classic worth reading!Price: Rs 345. Buy it here.Well, what are you waiting for? Go and read them already!