11 Classic Novels Everyone Should Read In Their Twenties

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So, you know that feeling when you’re in your twenties, and you’re kind of figuring things out as you go?

And that’s where I was not too long ago. And let me tell you, nothing helps me navigate this crazy rollercoaster of a decade quite like a good book. So, I thought I’d share with you my personal list of classic novels that have truly spoken to me during this time of my life. Whether you’re seeking wisdom, adventure, or just a really good story, these books have got you covered. I am so glad that I got to read these amazing classic books my late 20s.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a good book to read in your 20s

This book, it’s like revisiting my childhood in the South. I felt every emotion alongside Scout Finch as she navigated through the complexities of racism and morality. Atticus Finch is my favorite literary fathers.

Blurb: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. “To Kill A Mockingbird” became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, “To Kill A Mockingbird” takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.


The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is a good book to read in your 20s

Holden Caulfield, he’s like that friend who just gets you. Reading his story would feel like a raw and honest exploration of the confusion and rebellion that often comes with being in your twenties. You will find yourself nodding along with his observations about the phoniness of the adult world and the struggle to find authenticity in a world that sometimes feels fake.

Blurb: Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters—shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends. The city is beautiful and terrible, in all its neon loneliness and seedy glamour, its mingled sense of possibility and emptiness. Holden passes through it like a ghost, thinking always of his kid sister Phoebe, the only person who really understands him, and his determination to escape the phonies and find a life of true meaning.

The Catcher in the Rye is an all-time classic in coming-of-age literature- an elegy to teenage alienation, capturing the deeply human need for connection and the bewildering sense of loss as we leave childhood behind.


1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell is a good book to read in your 20s

Orwell’s dystopian story will have you question the power of government and the importance of fighting for freedom and truth, even in the face of overwhelming oppression.

Blurb: Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  is a good book to read in your 20s

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy’s love story felt like a timeless journey of self-discovery and overcoming societal expectations. Austen’s wit and humor made me laugh out loud while also making me wonder about the complexities of love and marriage.

Blurb: Shelby Roswell is a history professor on the fast track to tenure until her new book is crushed in a review by the famous historian, Ransom Fielding. She struggles to regain her momentum only to discover that Fielding has taken a visiting professorship at her college. The place that was once a refuge from the poverty of her past is now a battlefield of Civil War proportions.
Ransom is still struggling with his role in his wife’s accidental death six years ago and was hoping a year at Shelby’s small college would be a respite from the reminders back home. He never bargained for falling in love with the one woman who would give anything to make him leave. Together Shelby and Ransom learn that home is never very far away, and when you least expect it, love arrives.
With a cast of Civil War re-enactors, an evil wedding planner, antebellum mansions, and several mysterious diaries, ‘Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits’ will take you on a touching and hilarious ride through a modern South you haven’t seen before.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  is a good book to read in your 20s

I really loved the glitz, the glamour, the tragedy of this masterpiece. Jay Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream and the emptiness that often comes with will resonate with you deeply.

Blurb: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a good book to read in your 20s

 This is one of the inspirational classics novel I’ve ever read. I admired her strength and resilience. Her journey from orphan to independent woman felt like a personal triumph, reminding me that no matter the obstacles we face, we have the power to shape our own destiny.

Blurb: A gothic masterpiece of tempestuous passions and dark secrets, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is edited with an introduction and notes by Stevie Davis in Penguin Classics.

Charlotte Brontë tells the story of orphaned Jane Eyre, who grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit – which prove necessary when she finds employment as a governess to the young ward of Byronic, brooding Mr Rochester. As her feelings for Rochester develop, Jane gradually uncovers Thornfield Hall’s terrible secret, forcing her to make a choice. Should she stay with Rochester and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions – even if it means leaving the man she loves? A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre dazzled readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom.


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is a good book to read in your 20s

 Heller’s satirical masterpiece had me laughing one minute and contemplating the absurdity of war and bureaucracy the next. The paradoxes and contradictions of the human experience made me realize that sometimes the only way to make sense of the world is to embrace the absurdity of it all.

Blurb: Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—books of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.

This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is a good book to read in your 20s

Set against the backdrop of the wild Yorkshire moors, Heathcliff and Catherine’s passionate and destructive love story felt like a whirlwind of emotion and intensity. Bronte’s exploration of love, revenge, and the human psyche left me feeling both haunted and mesmerized.

Blurb: At the centre of this novel is the passionate love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff – recounted with such emotional intensity that a plain tale of the Yorkshire moors acquires the depth and simplicity of ancient tragedy.

This best-selling Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1847 first edition of the novel. For the Fourth Edition, the editor has collated the 1847 text with several modern editions and has corrected a number of variants, including accidentals. The text is accompanied by entirely new explanatory annotations.

New to the fourth Edition are twelve of Emily Bronte’s letters regarding the publication of the 1847 edition of Wuthering Heights as well as the evolution of the 1850 edition, prose and poetry selections by the author, four reviews of the novel, and poetry selections by the author, four reviews of the novel, and Edward Chitham’s insightful and informative chronology of the creative process behind the beloved work.

Five major critical interpretations of Wuthering Heights are included, three of them new to the Fourth Edition. A Stuart Daley considers the importance of chronology in the novel. J. Hillis Miller examines Wuthering Heights’s problems of genre and critical reputation. Sandra M. Gilbert assesses the role of Victorian Christianity plays in the novel, while Martha Nussbaum traces the novel’s romanticism. Finally, Lin Haire-Sargeant scrutinizes the role of Heathcliff in film adaptations of Wuthering Heights


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a good book to read in your 20s

Little Women’ s exploration of family dynamics, societal pressures, and personal dreams provides invaluable insights anyone who is in their 20’s. A must- read classic for young readers.

Blurb: Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

It is no secret that Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. While her father, the freethinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such eminent male authors as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa supported herself and her sisters with “woman’s work,” including sewing, doing laundry, and acting as a domestic servant. But she soon discovered she could make more money writing. Little Women brought her lasting fame and fortune, and far from being the “girl’s book” her publisher requested, it explores such timeless themes as love and death, war and peace, the conflict between personal ambition and family responsibilities, and the clash of cultures between Europe and America.


Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery is a good book to read in your 20s

Anne of Green Gables is a delightful classic to read during your 20s . Anne Shirley, with her boundless optimism, vivid imagination, and unwavering resilience, serves as an incredibly relatable and inspiring protagonist.

Blurb: This heartwarming story has beckoned generations of readers into the special world of Green Gables, an old-fashioned farm outside a town called Avonlea. Anne Shirley, an eleven-year-old orphan, has arrived in this verdant corner of Prince Edward Island only to discover that the Cuthberts—elderly Matthew and his stern sister, Marilla—want to adopt a boy, not a feisty redheaded girl. But before they can send her back, Anne—who simply must have more scope for her imagination and a real home—wins them over completely. A much-loved classic that explores all the vulnerability, expectations, and dreams of a child growing up, Anne of Green Gables is also a wonderful portrait of a time, a place, a family… and, most of all, love.


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a good book to red in your 20s

The Count of Monte Cristo is a riveting tale of revenge and redemption, filled with twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. Plus the protagonist’s journey and the pursuit of vengeance make it the perfect classic book to read in your twenties.

Blurb: Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.

Robin Buss’s lively English translation is complete and unabridged, and remains faithful to the style of Dumas’s original. This edition includes an introduction, explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading.


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Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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