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A Complete List of Books for Every Stage of Your Life, According to Librarians

Books By
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

 

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.

 

Ages 20-29

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.

The Argonauts (Graywolf Press)
The Argonauts (Graywolf Press)

 

 

Ages 30-39

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.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc)
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time (Bloomsbury Publishing Plc)

 

 

Ages 40-49

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.

Mrs. Dalloway (Mariner Books)
Mrs. Dalloway (Mariner Books)

 

 

Ages 50-59

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).

Light on Yoga (HarperCollins Publishers India)
Light on Yoga (HarperCollins Publishers India)

 

 

Ages 60-69

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.

A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)

 

Click here to check out the full list.

RealClearLife Staff