The Streets of Egypt team recommends: Books to read in your twenties
The twenties are a fruitful decade of continuous growth. The best part – though some might argue otherwise – is that no one else is on the same track. Some are adults juggling with endless responsibilities, others are free spirits.
Navigating your twenties can undoubtedly be difficult; Research has shown that the twenties are the most difficult time in a person’s life. According to research from Happify and the Harvard Business Review, life is dramatically better after this decade because people learn to better regulate their emotions and stress.
However, in the midst of the chaos of the 1920s, the Egyptian Streets team – through their own personal experiences – recommended books they believed were worth reading during this time.
From personal memoirs to novels urging the importance of letting go, here are some books recommended by our team.
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse | Recommended by Sarah Ahmed, Managing Editor
“I started reading this book when I was 27. I had just moved to London and was struggling with the angst of a big city and being incredibly lonely. I didn’t feel connected to anyone and so I wanted to try to connect with a book that touched on philosophical and existential questions.” Hermann Hesse is a beautiful writer, and the simplicity of his writing, combined with meaningful reflections, makes his books worth reading. This book went beyond the Enlightenment or Buddhism for me. At its core, it was a reminder that human nature is fickle and flawed, and that we are all united in the vicissitudes of life. It made me cry And I feel an incredible sense of compassion for everyone who crossed my path.”
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien | Recommended by Amina Zaineldin, Senior Editor
“I have often heard that fairy tales are less valuable than non-fiction, because of their disconnection from the real world. However, the more diverse books I read in my life, the more firmly I held to the belief that a pure, well-crafted fairy tale had its own distinct value. The Lord of the Rings is A work of art – beauty and charm for the sake of beauty and charm. It draws the reader into the piercing and poignant world of heroism and hope precisely because it cannot be found in this romantic form in the real world, ”emphasizes Zinedine.
“Having that escape during my twenties when things seemed dark or hopeless brought me the peace I so often needed on heavy days. This trilogy gave me access to beauty that I hadn’t always found in my everyday life.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by R.L. Stevenson | Recommended by Amina Zaineldin, Senior Editor
This is a well-known story whose main beat: a man drinks a potion and turns into the evil version of himself. But when I picked up the 88-page book, I found instead a deeply insightful story of the human experience, a story of man’s struggle for wholeness and a cleared conscience that I think anyone encounters. Sudden and confusing self-awareness early on. He will find adulthood enlightening.”
The manuscript found by Paulo Coelho in Accra | Recommended by Mona Abdo, editor
“The manuscript is the legacy of a book; it is bequeathed wisdom. It contains everything from advice on love and solace to anxiety and war. It delivers it in short, powerful bursts that make it timeless. It’s not a novel in the traditional sense, but it does take you on a journey into the past, and you realize that The human condition—our worries, our fears, our triumphs and our failures—has been around for centuries. It’s easy to find peace knowing it. Besides, it’s comforting to get advice on the subject. I would recommend this book to everyone of all ages,” Abdu told Egyptian Streets.
The children of our neighborhood (Awlad Al-Hara) by Naguib Mahfouz | Recommended by Mona Abdo, editor
“The children of our neighborhood (The Children of the Alley) A little more standing. The summary reimagines the Abrahamic stories and figures as generations of people living in an alley in Cairo. For the longest time, this has been a controversial book because it humanizes characters we consider sacred and untouchable–but it also displays religious skepticism and trauma and helps you reconcile these stories in an artful and relatable way. These “Egyptians”—whether they be God, Satan, Jesus, you name it—are full of error and anger. It is a wonderful theater for transforming gods into downtrodden and starving characters who find their place in the world.
“For any Egyptian struggling to understand their religion and spirituality, for those who are doubtful or those who are overly religious in their ways, this is an open door to asking questions and seeing a different side of God, the universe, and the typical Egyptian Hira (alley).”
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom | Recommended by Farah Rafeeq, arts and culture journalist
“My English teacher made us read this book in my senior year of high school, after my classmates and I lost our dear friend in a tragic car accident. Even though I was still 18 when I read this book, the lessons Which he taught me lasted into my twenties.Through this book, I encountered the realities of life, death, and grief.It deepened my understanding of what life really means.This book I will never recommend enough,” Rafik notes.
“As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever going away. You live on—in the hearts of everyone you touched and cared for while you were here.”
More like coffee, sweet with a hint of chocolate (Bitter like coffee, sweet like chocolate) by Mirna El Halabawy | Recommended by Marina Makary, Senior Journalist
“For me and everyone who reads this book, this book was completed at one time. Readers can feel through her writing that author Mirna Halabawy wrote this book from the bottom of her heart. She wrote it when she was in her twenties, and it is all about stories from Her travel experiences. The book delves into self-exploration through the stories Halabawi encountered with strangers over the years. It also makes you yearn for travel and exploration, which is why I highly recommend this book,” says Makary.
Black Milk: On Writing, Motherhood, and the Indoor Harem by Elif Shafak | Recommended by Mirna Khaled, Chief Communications Officer
“I chose this book because it’s not a novel, it’s more like a diary. It’s really great for young women in their twenties because it describes how young women shouldn’t limit their personalities or try to choose one lifestyle to control their entire lives, but instead, Being more flexible It also shows another aspect of motherhood and how it can affect a woman’s mental health.
Ordinary People by Sally Rooney | Recommended by Nour El-Toukhy, Social Media Editor
“For me, Ordinary People is a great book about the instability that leads into your twenties, how sometimes you have to let go of things or people you love, and the sense of loss that persists through your twenties,” Tokhi notes.
Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers Recommended by Amina Abdel Halim, Senior Journalist
“The Southern Gothic genre. It’s some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever come across and it has a really strong social commentary. The stories of several people in a small Southern town become intertwined when a dead man moves in, and everyone treats him as their best friend. He never speaks.” He is never judgmental, which makes everyone trust him.”
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