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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Colgate chapter.

Everyone always says that your 20s are the big decade that matters the most for the course of the rest of your life. While I don’t currently feel this way as a 20 year old, I definitely sympathize with the trials and tribulations of being in your 20s. Everything feels uncertain— academics, career pursuits, relationships, and generally what you should be doing with your life. I bet all of us who wished to be older when we were younger are deeply regretting it right now. But what makes this age and decade so beautiful is how messy and explorative it is. The good news is that we’re not alone, and there are a bunch of authors who have perfectly encapsulated all of these feelings in writing. While this is not an exhaustive list, here are five books that I’ve read in my 20’s and felt moved by:

  1. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

I recently finished this very candid memoir about Dolly’s struggle with coming to terms with her trouble with alcohol, watching other friends be in relationships, and feeling unsatisfied in her career path. It was a very relatable read in terms of feeling lost, and it definitely resonated with me. I would say this book is more about personal stories rather than advice, but it feels like you’re listening to hear tell you these stories directly. 

  1. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

This book is a fast fiction read about all of the different lives the protagonist could have lived. I read it in two days! It’s more on the philosophical and existential side, so be prepared to think deeply and maybe even shed a few tears. The concept of a library between life and death is very novel, and it forces the reader to grapple how do you really want to live your life. 

  1. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh 

This book was twisted and strange, but it felt like an intriguing social experiment. The narrator embarks on an extended hibernation where she prioritizes sleep and not interacting with the outside world. Her year in solitude reveals the inner workings of what it means to be depressed and how a full dopamine detox isn’t always the best solution to feeling overwhelmed. 

  1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

This is another intimate memoir about coming to terms with yourself and how to trust your instincts. I think this book is important for understanding that you may have big life revelations even beyond your 20s, and that is okay. Glennon’s strings of narratives pieced together reveal her self-reflective and spiritual qualities that felt helpful to me. 

  1. Conversations on Love by Natasha Lunn

I thought this was a really great and thought-provoking non-fiction read. The main takeaway for me from this book was the emphasis on different relationships aside from romantic ones. Specifically, I found putting on weight mostly on familial and friendship relationships to be important. Lynn is extremely honest about her own experiences with love and loss, which was very moving. 

While these are just some suggestions, there are plenty more books out there that are impactful! I tend to lean towards reading non-fiction books because I love hearing other peoples’ stories, but there are many fiction books out there that explore the tumultuous times in your 20s!

My name is Alisa, and I am a junior at Colgate University majoring in psychology. Career-wise, I am interested in the marketing, advertising, publishing, and journalism industries. Outside of school, I love learning about art history, reading fiction and non-fiction books, and staying active by playing soccer or tennis.