BOOKS TO HELP YOU ADULT
What is this "adulting" business anyway?
- •A Little Life by Hanya YanigiharaYou are a person, even if you feel you are just going through the motions sometimes. Jude doesn’t have a typical life by any means, and was arguably forced to grow up much sooner than most of us, but he strives for a normalcy, for passing as knowing what he is doing, more passionately than anyone. It’s important to remember that for most of us “adults” we are just figuring it out as we go. Fake it til you make it, right?
- •The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina KeeganOnly 22 when she died just 5 days after graduating from Yale in 2012, this promising writer left behind an impressive body of work encompassing a generation’s worth of uncertainties, anxieties, hopes, and dreams. The eponymous essay, her last to be published in the Yale Daily News, went viral after her untimely death and prompted the publishing of this collection of essays that ruminate on issues those on the threshold of school and “real life” are all too familiar with.
- •The Secret History by Donna TarttDonna Tartt’s novel about a young man at a private college who finds himself embroiled in the drama of a group of students surrounding a famous Classics professor will remind you of both the best and worst of your college years. Starting off with a murder, the story then goes back in time to show how the close-knit friends turn on one of their own. Even if you didn’t kill anyone in college (hopefully you didn’t), this book speaks to all the emotional intensity and upheaval of those strange years
- •Hyperbole and a Half by Allie BroshAllie Brosh began her career as a webcomic artist, frankly and candidly discussing her struggles with anxiety and depression in a painfully humorous way, much of which seems to be exaggerated by the harsh demands of adulthood. This book, collecting her comics and writings along with new material, might have you laughing and crying at the same time. Even when you feel totally lost, it’s good to remember that you’re not the only one who’s been there.
- •The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle WaldmanLike Nathaniel P.,who is befuddled by the numerous girls he has pissed off over the years for reasons he can’t quite articulate, many of us can relate to finding ourselves in infuriatingly immature relationships only to realize maybe it’s we who are the immature ones. It can be a slow, painful process, as Waldman deftly shows, but taking a cold, hard look at your relationships and how you are treating those around you is a necessary step in the journey to successfully adulting.
- •Bad Behavior by Mary GaitskillThe urge to follow a certain set of ideals when trying to “adult” can be a strong one. It’s easy to get stuck on doing what you are “supposed” to do and what is “right” versus “wrong” behavior. Though Gaitskill’s classic is comprised of nine short fiction stories, they embody a rebellion and tenacity in the search for human connection that will ring true for anyone that feels slightly outside of the accepted norm — whatever that is.
- •A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave EggersEggers’s heartfelt, emotionally slicing narrative nonfiction is maybe the most appropriate real-life instance of “I Have No Idea How to Adult” we’ve read recently. After losing both parents at the age of 18 just five months apart, Eggers moves to California where he eventually settles in San Francisco with his younger brother, Toph, who he now must basically raise alone. Lessons in mistakes and taking chances abound, as does the Gen X exploration of identity and adulthood (hellooo Real World!).
- •Hamlet by William ShakespeareAll right, we know you’re rolling your eyes, but take a second look at this old classic: Hamlet is the original disaffected young man, disappointed in the adults behind him and struggling with fatalism about the rotten state of the world around him. Sound familiar? If you haven’t read Hamlet, it’s time; if you have, maybe it’s time to revisit it. If nothing else, you can reassure yourself that you haven’t killed your whole family.
- •The Defining Decade by Meg JayQuite literally the book giving a voice and context to the twentysomethings who feel lost and confused, The Defining Decade argues that much less than a wasted decade, your twenties are a time when you actually make some really important decisions that will affect your future tremendously. BUT HOWWW?? you may be silently screaming. Don’t worry, this is where Jay shines. It might seem like a harsh truth that we have less time than we want, but it’s better to face this reality sooner than later.
- •The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze OrmanThis may not be the most sexy book, but for those that think of money more as a mysterious friend who shows up in their bank accounts occasionally but doesn’t like to stick around for very long, Suze Orman offers approachable, practical advice for handling money as an adult. It’s a lifesaver, tackling credit card debt, student loans, your first job, insurance and just about everything else you may not even realize you’re missing.
- •Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah AndersenWe knew it! Perhaps the most important point to all of this “adulting” is summed up in the succinctly-titled Adulthood is a Myth, written and illustrated by the downright hilarious Sarah Andersen. Ever-relatable, Andersen chronicles the little moments that are all too familiar to those of us who just haven’t quite got the hang of this “adulting” thing, or maybe, those of us that may never really get this “adulting” thing, because, maybe this “adulting” thing really isn’t a thing at all.