7 books to read in your 20's
I had to turn on SZA’s Ctrl album to get inspiration for this 20 Something book list because no matter how many pairs of Sk8-Hi Vans I buy and Lil Uzi Vert songs I memorize, I’m just not in that twenty-something state of mind anymore (thank god). But I was! I’m 31 now and the things I’ve learned in the last couple of years would have been super helpful 10 years ago. Of course I’m grateful for my personal journey, but that doesn’t mean I can’t acknowledge how beneficial it is and can be for young black women to receive guidance on navigating life earlier than our late twenties/early thirties.
One of the most important tools for me is reading. Receiving advice and different perspectives from a book is the equivalent to seeing a therapist for others. Though I read a lot and I enjoy it, I don’t read for pleasure or leisure. I read because I have to. Fiction, whatever. I’m always looking for answers. And for me it’s been the most helpful and healing way to learn about myself and the world.
Here's my essential reading list for your 20's and beyond.
The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
“If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take things personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, then you are going to have a beautiful life. You are going to control your life one hundred percent.”
Beauty and Conformity
The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
“If she was cute- and if anything could be believed, she was-then we were not. And what did that mean? We were lesser. Nicer, brighter, but still lesser. Dolls we could destroy, but we could not destroy the honey voices of parents and aunts, the obedience in the eyes of our peers, the slippery light in the eyes of our teachers when they encountered the Maureen Peals of the world. What was the secret? What did we lack? Why was it so important? And so what? Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our own skins... and could not comprehend our unworthiness. Jealousy we understood and thought natural- a desire to have what somebody else had; but envy was a strange, new feeling for us. And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us. “
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak Chopra
“There are many aspects to success; material wealth is only one component... Success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being and peace of mind.”
A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that. The awareness that is prior to thought, the space in which the thought- or the emotion or sense perception-happens.” “One decision changes your entire reality. But that one decision you have to make again and again- until it becomes natural to live in such a way.”
All About Love - bell hooks
“All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way.”
Psychology of Women
Women Who Run With The Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Ph.D.
“Does a wolf know how beautiful she is when she leaps? Does a feline know what beautiful shapes she makes when she sits? Is a bird awed by the sound it hears when it snaps open its wings? Learning from them, we just act in our own true way and do not draw back from or hide our natural beauty. Like the creatures, we just are, and it is right.”
Sacred Woman - Queen Afua
“Eating flesh, fast food, and junk food will destroy a woman’s vitality. Vegetarian, vegan, fruitarian, and live-food eating will strengthen and heal a woman’s body. Live foods give the Sacred Woman longevity and will eliminate fear, hate, and a sense of being overwhelmed with life’s challenges. Sacred food is the foundation of the Body Temple of a divine Sacred Woman.”