Every now and then, a book comes along at just the right time to put life into perspective. That’s why so many of us still have a soft spot in our hearts for titles like The Little Prince or Madeline, which are classic early-age gifts meant to teach us fundamental life lessons. As we settle into adulthood, motherhood, and other grown-up roles, we’re still looking to writers for wisdom, proof we aren’t the only ones struggling with something, or an inspirational boost. Whether you’re getting over a breakup or jumping into a new career, here are five books to help you self-heal and navigate some of the biggest moments of your life.


Love Warrior

1. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton ($26): Marriage is a scary commitment, and the perceived bounty of online suitors has us less willing to settle than ever. We’re more likely to think if the shoe doesn’t quite fit, we should replace it, rather than break it in. But everyone has faults, and relationships take some serious work. Love Warrior chronicles a woman’s life as she deals with some major relationship issues: feeling emotionally and physically disconnected, infidelity, and mental illness. This read highlights the importance of accepting that your relationship will have low-points, but that instead of living in fear of what may go wrong, you have to love the best you can.


2. What I Told My Daughter edited by Nina Tassler ($25): As well-intentioned as the words of encouragement “You can be anything you want to be,” are, they’re also a bit overwhelming. The truth is there’s no one right way to live, and you always have the right to change your mind — especially when it comes to your happiness. That’s the kind of advice 54 powerhouses like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Brooke Shields, Mia Hamm, and Marie Osmond dispel in What I Told My Daughter. This book is full of seriously useful words of wisdom for women, which young women just entering “the real world” will find particularly handy.

Quarter-life crisis

3. Circling the Sun by Paula McClain ($16): Though relatively unknown (she didn’t gain notoriety until 1983, when she was in her 80s), Beryl Markham is one of the most extraordinary women in history. A horse trainer, pilot, author, and all-around fearless pioneer, Markham found herself in her 20s with a failed marriage, neck-deep in a torrid love affair, pregnant, and penniless. Still, she persevered. Author Paula McClain captures Markham’s extraordinary life and grit in this novelized memoir that’ll embolden you to create the life you want to live, on your own terms — whatever age you are.

Traveling Solo

4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle ($15): Though not technically a life stage, the first time you travel alone is a monumental, transformative experience. You can either get distracted by feelings of loneliness or you can surrender completely to the moment and learn about yourself in the process. We opt for the latter. The Power of Now is a classic self-help book that’ll teach you how to practice mindfulness so that you can fully enjoy your travels — and life — even if it’s accepting the things that can (umm… will) go very wrong when you’re on a solo journey.

Having a baby

A Life's Work

5. A Life’s Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk ($19): You’ve read all the parenting books, and now you just need someone who’s going to give it to you straight. A Life’s Work is a soberingly real and beautifully written account of a woman coming to terms with motherhood. Cusk, a feminist and accomplished author, wrote the book when she was six months pregnant with her second child (and 10 months after giving birth to her first) about the intense highs and lows of motherhood. While perhaps this isn’t a title for everyone, it’s recommended reading for the modern woman who, despite fear of losing her own identity, relationship shifts, physical changes, and the overwhelming responsibility of caring for another life, knows there’s no greater love than for your baby.

Which books have impacted your life or helped you get through a rough patch? Tweet us @BritandCo!

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(Featured photo via Getty)