Living the life of a woman in India is far from easy. And it gets increasingly more complex as we close in to completing three decades of being in this world of complex relationships and uncharted emotions. So what do we do when life isn't easy? We turn to our friends. Well, what better friends than books - books that give you exactly what you're looking for, exactly when you need it.
Here's a list of 16 books that every woman faced with the transition into adult life, will find a truer-than-ever friend in.
1. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Self-made contemporary women of influence, that are defined by their fortitude and success, are more often than not blessed with a discernible sense of humour. And Tina Fey is one of the best examples of it there can be. The comedienne's autobiography, Bossypants, unabashedly, honestly and hilariously shares valuable life lessons about everything from feminism to body image and it's certainly going to be a fun read.
2. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
An award-winning filmmaker, screenwriter and journalist, with this book, Ephron brings us a collection of essays that make you feel like you're talking to a good friend after a long day of work. Her writing about purses, relationships, apartments, ageing and just... life, is not only infinitely relatable, but her effortless humour, candidness, and ability to pull at our heart's strings really makes this a bookshelf treasure.
3. The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
This 1949 book was a feminist manifesto that's still lauded as the beginning of second-wave feminism, was decades ahead of its time. The Second Sex gives its reader a powerful look at sexuality, identity and independence - themes that find themselves at the centre of all our lives as we head towards the big 3-Oh.
4. I Thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown
Brown's revolutionary approach to shame that forms an intricate part of women's lives - what causes it, how we can identify it, and how we can build resilience to it - will give you much to think about. It's a must read for every modern woman who's ever burdened herself with inexplicable shame - be it about body image, motherhood, relationships - holding her back from being every bit as fulfilled and happy as she can be.
5. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
This book is a transformative guide to understanding one's own body and sexuality, and defining 'normal' for ourselves and not based on how male sexuality expects it to be. Explore the depths of your sexual desire, the limits of the bodily pleasure you can feel with Come As You Are, because if I can say anything to sell you on this book, it'll be this - it's nothing less than a master-class in the science of sex.
6. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Roxane Gay's essays speak of everything from politics to sex, from the colour pink to Sweet Valley High. A thorough look at what it means to be a woman will hopefully leave you feeling a little less alone in this world. And her sharp wit and deep insight will make delicious food for thought and eventually leave you inspired.
7. Savage Beauty: The Life Of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
A biography of the trailblazing, Pulitzer prize winning poet and playwright, Savage Beauty records in fascinating beauty, the struggles and triumphs of Millay. Milford's book celebrates her not only for her vast body of written genius, but for her vital role in feminist activism back in the 1920s. If you're in a rut and looking for inspiration straight from one of the greats, look no further.
8. The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De Becker
In a world that's strife with violent crimes against women, especially in India, a book like The Gift Of Fear makes for a very intriguing read. It focuses on understanding violence, perpetrated by strangers as well as by people in our lives. A security expert like De Becker illustrates in it, how by engaging our instincts, we can train ourselves to predict, assess and avoid or defuse otherwise gravely threatening situations.
9. Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton
This is the person that may just soon lead the most powerful country in the world, but also be the first woman to ever do so. There is much to be discovered about this unstoppable lady and ain't no better way to do so than to read about the intriguing journey she's had in the male-dominated arena of American politics.
10. Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy
This book delves into the rise of the raunch culture and investigates just how we ended up in a world where women so often turn themselves and other women into sex objects. It may not be an exceedingly cheerful read, but it will be a truly revealing experience as Levy takes the reader behind the scenes of Girls Gone Wild and Playboy.
11. Mistakes I Made At Work by Jessica Bacal
For this book, Bacal interviewed 25 successful women about their screw-ups in the work-place and the lessons they've learnt from them. Women like renowned writer Anna Holmes and musician Kim Gordon reveal their biggest work-related embarrassment over the years and it makes for a funny, often relatable read that will make you feel rather alright about you slipping up at that meeting the other day.
12. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
Your 20s and 30s are often about pursuing a career and pushing boundaries at work, and Sandberg’s massively successful manifesto is a must-read for anyone trying to make it in the boys' club, ask for a raise, and get that promotion. Read it just so you feel that inspiration once again - to not just lay around complaining about work, but to get up and do something.
13. It's Called A Break-Up Because It's Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt
The husband-wife duo that also brought us the best-selling He's Just Not That Into You, co-wrote this absolute go-to book when it comes to broken hearts. It's filled with hilarity, tough-love and plenty of personal anecdotes. If nothing's getting you out of your funk and helping you get back out there, this book will certainly do the trick.
14. Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
This is no self-help book with chapters titled 'How To Become Successful In 30 Days'. Instead it's a book that has nuanced characters, poignant and witty dialogue, and life lessons hidden like little gems all along the margins. These touching stories of love and loss will resonate with you as you close in on your most challenging and therefore most badass decade of life yet.
15. Backlash by Susan Faludi
This greatly influential feminist book examines the cycle of women's achievements and the inevitable regression right after. It remains relevant in a world where for every step forward women take, it seems like we're pushed two steps back - and I bet we all have known that feeling all too well, at some point.
16. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eff all the haters! This is the best break-up book of our time. Anyone that has felt the despair that ending a long-term relationship brings with it, will absolutely identify with Gilbert's bathroom floor weepathon and feel comforted by how she managed to turn her life around through a process of self-discovery.
Happy reading, ladies! Remember to tell us if you have any more suggestions for this very significant list.