Book recommendations for 25 year old woman?
July 27, 2008 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend some great books that a 25 year old woman would relate to?

I feel like I'm at an age where a really good book I could relate to would be instrumental in my life. I read so many great, life changing books in my teens, but now I need something a little older to relate to. Are there any women out there who found a book that voiced the way there were feeling at 25?

Some of my past favorite books include:
Beach Music and Prince of Tides -- both by Pat Conroy
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn -- Betty Smith
The Virgin Suicides -- Jeffrey Eugenides
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius -- Dave Eggers
Sex and Rage and LA Woman -- both by Eve Babitz
I Know This Much Is True -- Wally Lamb
White Oleander -- Janet Finch
posted by wannaknow to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Self-Help: Stories by Lorrie Moore
Like Life, also by Lorrie Moore.

I enthusiastically and emphatically recommend that you pick these two collections up immediately. You will not be disappointed.
posted by numinous at 4:32 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

by 25, pretty much all adult literary fiction was speaking to me. that said, i found "revolutionary road" by richard yates to sum up the uncomfortable post-college blues that i felt at that age.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:33 PM on July 27, 2008

While this is slightly lower than the age range you specify, I am currently reading Nine Novels By Younger Americans. It's a compilation of nine novels written by High School students in New York. I'm really enjoying this book so far, it helps remind me of the feelings I had at that point in my life.
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 4:34 PM on July 27, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

I'm not sure whether you'll really "relate" to it or not, but it's in the all-time top five of powerful books that I've read, and based on your other selections, I think you'd really enjoy it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:02 PM on July 27, 2008

These is My Words by Nancy Turner - The fictional diary of a pioneer woman named Sarah Prine starts with her teenage years and follows her life through all of its challenges. The writing is full of humor and life lessons and I know so many people who just love Nancy Turner's books completely. Based on your favorite books, I think you'd really enjoy these and would be able to identify with the strong female character. And, don't be put off by the weird title!
posted by belau at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2008

Shopgirl by Steve Martin.

His accurate description of the feelings of lonliness in a young adult world by oneself are surprisingly on target.

And it's a quick read at about 150 pages.
posted by santojulieta at 5:10 PM on July 27, 2008

A couple I could relate to and loved (some of what you mentioned I loved) at your age and before kids and marriage:

Drunk With Love
and the Rhoda short stories by Ellen Gilchrist.

Cat's Eye
by Margaret Atwood

I read these more recently but a 25-year old can relate:

Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston.

The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank.

Have you read the Ya -Ya books by Rebeca Wells? I loved Little Alters Everywhere and The Divine Secrets...
posted by LoriFLA at 5:29 PM on July 27, 2008

Moving On by Larry McMurtry.

A rambling (in the good way) 800-page novel focused on a young woman discovering herself and becoming an independent person. And McMurtry's writing is spectacular. Top 10 novel for me, really REALLY great.
posted by The Michael The at 6:35 PM on July 27, 2008

I really enjoyed the Prince of Tides and I know this much is true too.

She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
The Cider House Rules - John Irving
posted by perpetualstroll at 6:46 PM on July 27, 2008

I've been going through an Anne Carson phase on and off since I turned 25 three years ago - I can pretty much recommend anything she's written (I started with Autobiography of Red and Plainwater) and am so grateful to the friend who first recommended her to me.
posted by annathea at 6:51 PM on July 27, 2008

I'm not a 25 year old woman but every one that I've known loves Wally Lamb (as recommended above). For humour I've heard good things about both Christopher Moore and Tom Robbins.

For sexy, you could always check out Leonard Cohen. Both "The Favourite Game" and "Beautiful Losers" are phenomenal books. For darker, you could check out anything by Chuck Palahniuk.

Margaret Lawrence's "The Diviners" is excellent book as well as most novels by Margaret Atwood.

"In Praise of Slow" by Carl Honore. Great for slowing down and appreciating life.
"Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn. Both macabre and hilarious, but excellent nonetheless.
"No Logo" by Naomi Klein. Great for the leftist in you, but all-the-round informative and well researched.

"Midnight's Children" by Salman Rushdie recently won the Booker prize (for the second time) for good reason -- it's quite possibly the best book ever written.
posted by purephase at 7:04 PM on July 27, 2008

28 year-old nonwoman here, but I recently read The World According to Garp by John Irving and thought it was excellent. It reminded me of The Catcher in the Rye (a high school favorite) because of some of the themes, and made me think I wouldn't relate to the Salinger novel at all if I read it today. I guess that was a big deal for me...
posted by substars at 9:32 PM on July 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

24 year old woman here. Guessing that some of my favorite, most resonating books might be on point for you:

Specific for 25 yo women:
The Dive From Claussen's Pier by Ann Packer
The Red Tent by Anita Diamante
Citizen Girl by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (also worth reading by the same authors: The Nanny Diaries)
anything by Amy Tan

Based on your other favorites:
seconding The Time Traveler's Wife
The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
posted by messylissa at 9:48 PM on July 27, 2008

Mary Gaitskill's first collection of short stories, Bad Behavior, but really, I like everything she's done.

Melissa Banks' The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing.
posted by ifjuly at 10:04 PM on July 27, 2008

Loved The Dive From Claussen's Pier, Drunk With Love and The Girl's Guide To Hunting and Fishing, so I'm seconding those. I also loved Something Rising (Light and Swift) by Haven Kimmel.
posted by weezetr at 4:55 AM on July 28, 2008

Oh, and Peace Like A River by Leif Enger was fantastic. I read that one when I was 25 and didn't want to put it down.
posted by weezetr at 5:05 AM on July 28, 2008

Seconding The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, one of my favourites. I also highly recommend Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. The protagonists are a few years younger than you and I (graduating high school), but Clowes perfectly captures the feeling of being young, female, and at the crossroads of life.

Recently I fell in love with The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and the works of Haruki Murakami. My personal favourite is Kafka on the Shore but Norwegian Wood is more accessible and just as good. I'm currently reading Atonement by Ian McEwan and I can tell it's going to be fantastic. All these books feature young protagonists.
posted by Rora at 9:24 AM on July 28, 2008

Not a woman, nor in my twenties, but I want to recommend one of my favorite books.

When she was in her 20s, Marion Milner felt there was more to life than she was getting out of it. Published in 1926, under the pen name Joanna Fields, 'A Life of One's Own' is a collection of journal entries and reflections on how to live and what way of being in the world brings happiness. Excellent book, very underrated.
posted by BigSky at 10:22 AM on July 28, 2008

I might be a bit late to the party, but I had to throw in one of my favorites, A Secret History by Donna Tartt.
posted by k8lin at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2008

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