Love Twenty, an online magazines for women in their twenties, published a list of 10 Books Every Girl Should Read in Her Twenties back in January. I just stumbled upon this list and have deemed it Ye Olde Worst Book List On The Interwebs because LO! It is so insulting. Go look at it and then come back here. I’ll wait.
You can sort of tell that it’s going to be bad from the use of “girl” in the title instead of “woman” (last I checked, at age 28 I am no longer a girl). And then the first line of the article confirms that you are in for a painful ride: “When was the last time you read? No, I don’t mean textbooks and no, your latest issue of Cosmo doesn’t count.” Oy.
Then we get into the meat of the list, which consists of “chick-lit” (their term, not mine), Pride and Prejudice (“I know, I know — again, you’d probably rather rent the movie”) and self-help books like Bitches on a Budget and Where Did I Go Wrong? (“As girls, we always like to say that we’ll be best friends forever (BFFs!), but as every girl knows, that’s not always the case.”).
So basically, a website devoted to helping women–I’m sorry, girls– in their 20s thinks that those girls are most concerned about shopping, getting married, shopping, maybe getting married, and also shopping (until you get married). Because “With a little sass and a lot of perseverance, you can get your happily ever after, after all.”
Of course, there’s not anything wrong with Sophie Kinsella or Girls in White Dresses. But to prescribe them as absolutely necessary for all females of a certain age implies that young women are only concerned about the sort of content in books about shopping and matrimony. This list-girl is acting out cliche episodes of Sex in the City. She is a wanna-be Carrie Bradshaw, but without the writing career or frank sex talk. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of shopping. But women my age and younger don’t need more books about how to participate in consumerism that objectifies them. We don’t need more advice on catching a man and recovering when he leaves.
I present an alternate list from Thought Catalog- 11 Books You Should Read If You’re A Woman In Your 20s (Hey, she called me a woman!). This list includes Dorothy Parker, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison, practical books about sex, and even a Hemingway! There are books that discuss race, gender equality, female sexuality (including homosexuality, which Love Twenty basically ignores), depression, and the nature of commitment. It is full of win.
I want to know what books you would put on a list for women in their 20’s. What do you think of the Love Twenty list?