This week saw the release of Leigh Stein’s debut novel The Fallback Plan, a hilarious take on the post-college, self-absorbed, 20-something in existential crisis. We were pleased to see it, because in general, it seems like the 20s are a little bit of a dead area in fiction — there are hundreds of books about making it as a teenager (or even as a child prodigy) and hundreds more about grown-up issues and disaffected men in their 30s and 40s, but fewer about the post-college, pre-life choices period that many young Americans seem to be wallowing in these days. However, to give all you angsty 20-somethings in existential crisis mode something to read while you’re waiting out the weird years, we’ve created an absolutely required reading list, for bathtubs and bar stools alike. That’s right: you have homework, a little direction. Don’t you feel better? And hey, maybe you should read them while listening to these. Click through to fill your home-made bookshelves with the tomes on our required reading list for your quarter life crisis, and then try to buck up a little. It’s not so bad.
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon
In Chabon’s very first novel, which he began while he himself was just a 21-year old student at the University of Pittsburgh, is the story of Art Bechstein’s last-ditch attempt at a free summer before his mob boss of a father forces him to go into some respectable profession. Meeting an increasingly attractive gay man, a smart-as-a-whip biker, and a flimsy young woman, Art watches as his world both collapses and springs up around him.