As someone in my late twenties, and just as a general human who checks behind shower curtains and occasionally gets freaked out by certain numbers, I can use all the help I can get. As I’ve descended into the nightmare inferno carnival that is my late twenties, something that has stood by me and provided unwavering comfort and happiness is books. I love watching other women not only succeed but share how they got through it when they felt like their worlds have gone to shit. These five books by women are essential reading for any millennial woman. They’ll bring you realizations, they’ll make you laugh, and they’ll get you to better days.
Unwifeable by Mandy Stadtmiller
I’ve gone to buy this book for a ton of my friends. I cannot recommend it enough. This memoir traces Stadtmiller from her New York Transplant days as a recent twenty-something-divorcee to her encounters with men who have the emotional intelligence of cacti, to her days as a columnist for The New York Post. Stadtmiller holds nothing back in a book about career, family, addiction, and the ways our exes crawl into our brains and the residual poison they leave behind when they’re gone.
I read this in April but it’s one of those books that I still find my brain constantly returning to. No one does vulnerability like Mandy Stadtmiller. It’s not an act–it’s who she is. Mandy’s ability to be human and give the reader a practical recollection of pain is like receiving her heart straight from her chest. The memoir isn’t sappy, nor is it preachy. It’s perfect and I’m never going to forget it.
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
I say this genuinely: I’m thrilled to be alive in the time of Tiffany Haddish. Haddish is a talented comedian, actress, and writer–but she’s more than that. She contains multitudes. This book is for everyone. It’s hilarious but it’s honest. Haddish has splayed strength and resilience on every page and somehow seems to do so without once looking for praise or admiration. It’s an important book about working hard with what you were given and working hard to attain everything your heart yearns for and then some. If you need a book to inspire you to finally get up and do what you’re meant to be doing, read this. Tiffany Haddish is a hilarious human gift.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul
Scaachi Koul is a writer for BuzzFeed and is just….fucking hilarious. I don’t know if there is anyone quicker or smarter out there. Koul reminds me of one of my best friends who isn’t afraid to tell me when I’m being a complete assclown. Koul is brilliant in her ability to balance actual issues that blatantly resonate with young people (sexual assault, body image, racism, marriage) with her uncanny ability to nail a one liner. She has one line about a boy who made fun of her who now lives in Boston as payment for his sins and I swear on my life I think about this line in her book maybe three times a month. Read this book to feel smarter and better than you did yesterday.
You’ll Grow Out Of It by Jessi Klein
This is one of the most comforting books I’ve ever read. Klein is a comedy writer who has written for Inside Amy Schumer and who voices Jessi on Big Mouth. I loved her book for two reasons: the first being that Klein is absolutely hilarious. I think she was born to do comedy; this human is funny and clever to her core. The second reason I loved her book is because Klein maintains a great recollection of her career path with an accurate analysis of the various and infinite ways to feel pressure as a woman. There are so many forces pushing women to be a certain kind of woman in order to feel attractive, worthy, and successful to both others and themselves. Klein reminded me that there is no godforsaken blueprint on how to be a woman, no matter how much pressure I feel from myself, others, and reality television shows syndicated on Bravo. I loved Klein’s humorous and practical exploration of relationships, hard work, and everything in between.
Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood by Mari Andrew
This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. A gift from one of my best friends, I’ve recommended it to other friends, who have bought it for themselves and others. In conclusion, it’s the book you want everyone close to you to read. What makes Andrew’s work unique is that that for each essay about a resounding entity of life (e.g. grief, relationships, work), there are multiple illustrations that go right along with it. The illustrations just make you happier. They’re cute and they’re sweet and they remind you that you deserve something more than the bland or disappointing aspects of reality. This book encouraged me to be more gentle with myself, which I desperately needed.
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