Advertising
Advertising

7 Coming of Age Books That Should Be on Your Reading List

7 Coming of Age Books That Should Be on Your Reading List

The teen years are the most confusing time of one’s life and only the very lucky among us remember that time as a happy drama-free period when you were hanging out with the popular kids, being invited to all the parties and your crush becoming your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Well, the majority of people go through the exact opposite – they get bullied, start hating their reflection in the mirror because of acne and their crush probably doesn’t even know they’re alive. Kids like this need guidance and it’s really hard to realize you need help or just someone to talk to when you’re in your teen years and your hormones are raging and you’re not really sure what’s happening to your body.

If you’re anything like I was in those days, you had just a few friends and you did nothing particular to stand out during high school. I was very fortunate to find my getaway in books – they can open up your mind, do miracles for your imagination and you can be absolutely positive they won’t tell your secrets to anyone. Each of the next seven books is quite a ride and they will all help you understand the teen experience and make you more mature and confident, so my sincere suggestion is to start reading.

1. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Some teens go through hell while growing up, because they don’t have that luck of being surrounded by a loving family that’s supportive and kind. If this is the case with you, it can be a lot easier for you if you realize that you’re not the only one in the world going through a series of problems of this kind and that there are others who’ve had experiences similar to yours and, unfortunately, this course of events will continue to happen to generations to come.

This amazing book written by Charles Dickens is about an orphan named Pip who lives with his sister who’s abusive and her husband who happens to be the village blacksmith. The plot begins while Pip is wandering around the churchyard near where his parents are buried when he meets a convict who escaped from prison, setting in motion a chain of events that leads the reader through an emotional rollercoaster.

Advertising

2. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

    This is an amazing novel that speaks about a lonely and unfortunate nine-year-old girl, set in the period of the twentieth century that shortly precedes World War II, who finds refuge in books thanks to a gentle man called Hans who taught her to read.

    As this book develops, you’ll be seduced by its pages, because it’s so masterly crafted that you won’t be able to leave it until you read the whole thing and I’m sure that it will enable you to get some perspective about your life – it explores the definition of what family is and what it means to people, which really makes you think about your own relationship with those close to you.

    Inspiration and proper motivation is something teens often lack and reading great literature will solve this problem for you. The Book Thief will teach you about great values and how great people were lead by them, even in the worst times in history that are now long gone and forgotten, even when around you something is happening which is the last thing that humankind should do.

    3. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

    Love spats are a great part of being in your teen years and I’m sure you’re familiar with love triangles by now and how emotionally challenging they can be. Well, if you place an ordinary love triangle into an ordinary boarding school and have three ordinary teens involved in a storyline that’s anything but normal, because they find out they are being grown and nurtured so they can serve as organ donors, you get this dystopian novel which will keep you at the edge of your seat throughout.

    Advertising

    4. The Rotter’s Club – Jonathan Coe

      Being a teen often involves deciding on a lifestyle and being very extreme about it – it’s easier to find acceptance if you belong to a group, right? It’s quite exciting to know that you’re not the only one enjoying something and that you belong somewhere.

      It often happens that this choice of a lifestyle is related to a music genre which dictates the way you talk, the way you dress and the way you cut your hair – practically everything about you that’s visible. This amazing book will introduce you to progressive rock and punk rock, and by reading it you’ll get to know three teenagers who are trying to find self-identification in this world.

      5. Absolute Beginners – Colin MacInnes

      If you’re not trying to belong to a group of people who think the same way as you do, as a teen you’re seeking refuge by being an outsider – and this is something a small percentage of kids are brave enough to go with. Strangely enough, Colin Maclnnes was forty-four when he published this book, but this didn’t at all stand in the way of him writing a masterpiece.

      If you’d like to learn about the origin of hipsters and the coffee bars through the eyes of an eighteen-year-old who wants to be a photographer in the early sixties, this book may be just right for you – especially now, when the hipster subculture has become mainstream.

      Advertising

      6. The Catcher in The Rye – JD Salinger

      It’s not really news that teens think they are the smartest and that they know everything – I was like that when I was a kid and each upcoming generation of teens will be prone to being obnoxious and pretentious.

      Having a huge ego, while questioning the point of everything is another part of the teen experience and if you decide to read The Catcher in The Rye you’ll get to know a protagonist who thinks exactly like this, while he finds everything around him boring. Sound familiar?

      7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

        This transformation that comes with teen years, when you transfer from playing carelessly with your toys and friends to start experiencing a whole new set of emotions that you can’t really pin to something precisely or even identify, is more than overwhelming.

        This jump into becoming an adult through a series of changes, both physical and internal, can be easier for you when you have an amazing book right by your side to guide you through it, and Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte will become your teen Bible if you give it a chance.

        Advertising

        It’s not easy to find the purpose of your life, even when this confusing teen period ends for you and you finally become an adult – some people never truly grow up. However, the more you work on enriching your own experience, learning about yourself by trying to understand the stories of others and their troubles will enable you to grow as a person, become self-aware and help you figure out who you truly are.

        I know it sounds magical and impossible, but books can do this for you and especially these listed above if you only give them a chance.

        Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/THC13xRi_q0 via pexels.com

        More by this author

        Vladimir Zivanovic

        CMO at MyCity-Web

        Successful People Seldom Worry Too Much Because They Master This Thinking Skill 5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain 7 Coming of Age Books That Should Be on Your Reading List The Active Holiday: 5 Great Activities for Adventurous Spirits Why Lack of Movement is Our Biggest Enemy and How to Deal With It

        Trending in Hobby

        118 Things You Need To Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo 2Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally 317 Free Websites That Will Improve the Quality of Your Life Today 4Streaming or Downloading: Which Is the Best Use of Your Mobile Data? 57 Fun Things To Do When You’re Home Alone

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on June 15, 2018

        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

        What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

        Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

        Video Summary

        Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

        Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

        Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

        Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

        This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

        Sitting Is the New Smoking

        Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

        The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

        Advertising

        Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

          Sit Properly

          If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

          Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

            Credit: StayWow

            Stand Up More

            Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

            Advertising

            Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

            Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

            Or get a standing desk.

            One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

            Exercise for Lower Back Pain

            Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

            But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

            The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

            Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

            Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

            This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

            Advertising

            Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

            Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

            There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

            Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

            I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

            Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

            If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

            Where to Start

            The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

            Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

            Advertising

            If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

            Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

            Keep a straight back.

            Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

            Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

            I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

            If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

            Stay Away From the Back Pain League

            Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

            Read Next