The 20 books you should read in your 20s: Part one

20 books
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

25 May 2017

Your 20s can be a hectic time, but reading is the perfect hobby to take up and give your brain a break from any stress. Here are our recommendations for books to read in your 20s, starting with fiction and influential people. 


1. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Named "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years" by The New York Times, Beloved tells a horrifying story of slavery through the eyes of a young woman.

2. The Kiln by William McIlvanney: Recommended by Matt Gorrie

A book I think you can read at several points in your life and get different things from. An especially interesting one for those who are starting out on a career path (and a classic of Scottish fiction). - Matt Gorrie, ICAS Lecturer

3. The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver: Recommended by David Young

A dystopic and jarring look into a not-so-distant future of crumbling society and economy, contained within the story of one family struggling to survive.

4. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding: Recommended by Jennifer Cloke

When you enter your twenties you assume all 20-something's have everything sorted. When you realise you don't, it's reassuring to find that you're the normal one and some people just pretend better than others! - Jennifer Cloke, ICAS Lecturer

5. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

Follow Lyra, a silver-tongued young girl, and her companion Pan on a mystical adventure across worlds that questions life, death, existence and the friendships that you make along the way.

Influential people

6. TED Talks by Chris Anderson

The CEO of TED shares unrivalled advice on public speaking from himself and the many speakers who have helped him make TED Talks a resounding success.

7. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

I’m already predicting my future shame at thinking I had anything to offer you, but also my future glory in having stopped you from trying an expensive juice cleanse or thinking that it was your fault when the person you are dating suddenly backs away, intimidated by the clarity of your personal mission here on earth. - Lena Dunham

8. 52 Cups of Coffee by Megan Gebhart

From the advice of Apple's Co-Founder to the political troubles of a tenacious first-grader, these words of wisdom shared over weekly cups of coffee prove that lessons in life can be found anywhere.

9. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

I was impatient in those days, busy with work and unrealized plans, and prone to see other people as unnecessary distractions. - Barack Obama

10. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Laugh along with one of the comedy scene's darlings as Amy Poehler documents her rise to fame in a touching and hilarious collection of poems, essays and photographs.

Are we missing your favourite? Keep an eye out for Part Two of our list - coming soon!


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