10 Books Every 20-Something Should Read

10 Books Every 20-Something Should Read

Assigned books can sometimes become your favorite books.
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As an English major, I've read my fair share of assigned readings for some of my classes. And like all of us, I have also read many assigned books in high school as well. Some people might groan and complain at assigned readings, and honestly, most will just end up looking it up SparkNotes, but I actually read all the books. Some I could have gone without, but school actually helped exposed me to books that I ended up really liking and probably won't have picked up on my own. Here are the best books that I've had to read for school (so far)...

1. "Affinity" by Sarah Waters

Reading this book was one wild ride - but I mean that in the best way possible. I couldn't stop reading this addictive story about a woman who is drawn to a mysterious prisoner.

2. "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll

This is definitely not just a book for children. There are so many complex themes present in this fantastical adventure story that jump out to you as an adult reader.

3. "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin

Reading this book helped further open my eyes to the oppression that women face in regards to the expectations placed by society. Also, the ending to this story was simply unforgettable.

4. "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

Providing commentary on slavery, race, love, guilt, family, and much more, this book is pretty mind-blowing, especially aided by the storytelling talents of Toni Morrison.

5. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

While reading this for A.P. English during my senior year of high school, I'm pretty sure I was the only one who actually enjoyed reading this crazy story that takes you inside the deranged and unhinged criminal mind of main character Raskolnikov.

6. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

You might think of the flashy film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, but when I think of "The Great Gatsby," I mostly think of F. Scott Fitzgerald's beautiful prose. I actually read this book before it was assigned during my junior year of high school, but I was more than happy to read it a second time.

7. "The Handmaid’s Tale" by Margaret Atwood

This dystopian novel showcases a society where women are extremely oppressed, making this both an intriguing and alarming read. I was immediately drawn into this twisted world that Atwood created.

8. "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson

This disturbing - yet witty - novel is a perfect example of gothic literature. It's a psychological thriller of the best kind, and the ending was something that I never saw coming. This is one book that will definitely make you think.

9. "The Razor’s Edge" by W. Somerset Maugham

This is a book that slowly grew on me when I had to read it back in high school. It makes for one compelling read and also teaches some eye-opening lessons on life.

10. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

I think pretty much any high schooler is assigned this book at some point. It is, undoubtedly, a classic in the world of American literature, so that is not a surprise. This book teaches many important lessons that should not be overlooked, and it's just an extremely engaging story.

Assigned novels in your classes should not be seen as a burden - instead, they should be seen as an opportunity. I know that I'm typically drawn to popular or new novels, so I'm thankful that school has allowed me to expand my literary perspective.

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong


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