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Books For Quarter Life Crisis

"I'm a 20-Something Seeking Literary Wisdom"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'll keep it brief, because I imagine my issue is one that virtually all women go through at multiple stages of life... Basically, I'm at a certain "milestone" in my life — my first career after college, my first time on my own, my first time having to be an adult in every sense of the word.

Call it a quarter-life crisis, or just a growing pain, but I'm having some seriously deep introspections about who I am, who I want to be, what I want out of life, what I value, what I don't, my place in the world . . . you name it, I'm thinking about it. I'm exploring my spirituality, my needs in love and my career, my general expectations for life. It's exhausting!


I don't want advice on how YOU answered these questions. What I WOULD love are some recommendations for a good book that tackles the issue of identity and, preferably, womanhood. Or any books that you've found to have a profound effect on your own identity and soul-searching. Something that helps us explore who we are and practice the cultivation of sense of self and self-love.

Maybe it is a lofty goal to find all of this in a book . . . but I can't afford therapy. Thanks!

Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously to Group Therapy for advice and check out what else is happening in the TrèsSugar Community.

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sharky89 sharky89 5 years
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - Girlosophy: A Soul Survivor Kit by Anthea Paul - Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey - The Little Lady Agency series by Hester Browne (fiction) - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (This one is my absolute favorite book about journeying through life and finding what matters to you)   Good luck on discovering more about yourself  - it's a very exciting time! :)
GirlinTheRaw GirlinTheRaw 5 years
Since you mentioned spiritual journey, I will give you a reference in that direction: Bhagavad-Gita As It Is (by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)... If you actually get around to reading it, and you like it, it will change you and give some answers. But this is more spiritual and theological discussion (based on Vedic knowledge), than entertainment!
senorita135 senorita135 5 years
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It isn't a female-centric book, but I think it touches on a lot of things that are universal when it comes to identity issues.
spacekitten spacekitten 5 years
Life After College by Jenny Blake (
larisa5656 larisa5656 5 years
I'm in the same boat as you regarding quarterlife crisis and trying to find my identity.  Some books that have been useful to me are as follows:   * Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties by Alexandra Robbins (There are a few others on this same topic by Robbins available on Amazon.) * 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction by Christine Hassler * Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (Fiction, yes, but Lizzie Bennet is a role model for all ages!)
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
Also Madame Bovary!
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 5 years
Wow, I love your question. "The Women's Room" by Marilyn French is a great companion to The Second Sex. It's a fictional story about women living through the social changes books like The Second Sex helped drive. It was a huge best-seller in the late 70s. It will help you understand your grandmother and mother's shaping and make you very grateful you missed that era -- it was a confusing, painful, revolutionary era but we wouldn't be where we are without it. If you like history "The Adam's Women" is great early American reading. Our national character was shaped by people like this. Abigail was the wife of one president, the mother of another. A fantastic wife, bold thinker, risk-taker, not such a great mother. She, her sisters and her more self-reflective daughter in law Louisa (my favorite) are fascinating, admirable, very different people, and all eloquent writers. Doris Lessing wrote two short novels to see if she could be published under a different name (she did after a few rejections) They're both now sold as "The Diaries of Jane Somers" which is a combo of two short novels about the same character. The protagonist is the editor of a fashion magazine, capable but detached and learns to truly care for others and find deeper meaning through an older neighbor Maudie and her niece. This is not a lost soul, she's a growing one, so human and admirable. As a writer Doris Lessing was unflinchingly observant, and is all about character development and growth. Very aligned to the questions your asking. Since you mentioned you can't afford therapy (but it came up) I recommend "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. It's a spiritual (not religious) classic. His treatise as a psychiatrist is on responsibility to own who we are and live up to our obligations and let go of the obligations others might impose that go against our integrity -- great 'growing up' material. If we abandon ourselves and others against our authentic selves, neurosis is inevitable.
BiWife BiWife 5 years
Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder -- awesome novelization of a young woman learning the history of philosophy and how it relates to who we are, what we want, how do we interpret the world around us, etc. Great concise overview of a lot of different schools of thought and excellent introspective points. Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, Woman as Other -- French existentialist philosopher's book on early feminism and ontology (the study of being and existence). This one is kind of tough to chew if you don't read a lot of non-fiction, but very worth the work. Very detailed look at a couple of schools of thought on womanhood and where we find our strength, our worth, our goals, etc.
missmaryb missmaryb 5 years
The movie stunk lol. I haven't read the book yet. I would love to get some book recommendations from this post too so I'll be checking back. I have been in your shoes and I understand what you're going through. I also think it's great that you want to really get in touch with yourself and your current and future happiness. I would recommend keeping a journal. I have kept one since high school and I have learned so much about myself through writing, and especially going back and re-reading. Plus it's just a neat way to look back on your life and the kind of person you were at certain times. My rule is that I don't hold anything back, even if it makes me seem like a terrible person. I let out the good, the bad and the ugly. It can be painful, but I have learned so much and have been able to not repeat mistakes because of it. Good luck with your journey.
henna-red henna-red 5 years
love Eat, Love, Pray. The book, definately, not the movie.
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