A Complete List of Books for Every Stage of Your Life, According to Librarians
The New York Public Library’s Reader Services department has identified the books people should read at every stage of our lives. Granted, it’s just one department at one library, but given the size of their membership, we’ll give their list the benefit of the doubt. Here’s a sample of their book recommendations.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
Twentysomethings are encouraged to read Maggie Nelson’s memoir, The Argonauts. Principally a story about Nelson’s relationship with transgender artist Harry Dodge, The Argonauts is about chaos and instability and the love that can be found in them, or in spite of them. Given how chaotic young adulthood can be, this was a solid pick.
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Bridget Schulte
Bridget Schulte’s Overwhelmed is the recommended companion for people in their thirties, who are more established as adults and, in many cases, have to balance work with marriages and children. That stuff can, and does, take a toll on people, which Schulte illustrates through researching how other cultures structure work and comparing that to her own, often-overworked life.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Readers approaching middle age are pointed to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; if you’re someone who read this book in college and hated it, time and experience may change your opinion of this book. As the narrator reflects on her life, specifically the choice to marry her husband instead of an old boyfriend, you may find yourself thinking back on various forks in the road too, and why you chose what you did.
Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar
As readers get more sedentary in their fifties, B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light On Yoga will get them thinking more about their physical health, and how regular, low-impact physical movement can not only get them feeling better, it’ll help them manage feelings they may have about aging (and resolve any impending midlife crises before they start).
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
Finally, readers in their sixties should read Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find if they haven’t already. Originally written in the 1950s, O’Connor’s glib, no-nonsense, humorously morbid take on life will correspond well with people who are simply too old for B.S.
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