13 Books To Read When You Feel Lost In Your Life, Because A Little Guidance Can Go A Long Way

Books can do so much for us: expand our horizons, shift our perspectives, give us a greater understanding of the world and ourselves — plus plus entertain us to no end, of course. So, when you feel lost in your life, there is no better place to turn than to a book. Because books are always there for you, no matter what.

Just about everyone feels lost at some point in her life. It's inevitable. However, that doesn't necessarily make it pleasant to experience. We like to know what we want and where we're going in life. We like to feel like our lives have a clear trajectory. When instead you just feel lost, it isn't fun, and it isn't nearly as glamorous as it might seem. So, how to cope with that? Or better yet, how to fix it?

Well, the sad thing is that there's no quick and easy way to figure out your life, but as with anything in which a little extra perspective is useful, books can always help. Whether you're reading books about people whose lives are also unfocused and messy, or those with purpose and determination, books can help you get out of a funk, or, at the very least, help you gain a little insight into the situation as-is.

So, if you're feeling lost in your life, here are 13 books that might help:

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

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If you're looking for a story about a girl who has to cope with a lot of unforeseen obstacles but ultimately finds herself and her place in the world, then this book is for you. Granted, your direction in life probably wouldn't come via a trip to Gold Rush era California, but still, there's a lot of inspiration to be found here.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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If your life feels too humdrum and uninteresting, then Neverwhere might be able to inspire you — or at least give you hope that a more exciting future is just around the corner. At the very least, watching young Richard stumble into a world of magic and adventure is a good distraction from your own life.

Green Girl by Kate Zambreno

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Green Girl isn't an inspiring tale of someone who finds direction as it is an intimate and nuanced portrait of a girl who is very, very lost. It might not inspire you, but it might give your some insight, or at least make you feel less alone.

Bloodchild and Other Stories by Octavia Butler

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Sometimes when you're feeling lost, the best thing is to get your mind as far away from your own life as possible, and what better way to do that than to plunge into a series of intricately imagined science fiction worlds. And for that, there is no one better than Octavia Butler. Plus, stretching your imagination is always a good thing.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

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There are lots and lots of amazing coming-of-age, YA novels out there, all of which are good for helping you figure out your life. And 13 Little Blue Envelopes is a particularly good example. If you're looking for a little meaning in your life, or looking for something bigger, check it out.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

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Sometimes the thing that you really need to figure out your life isn't any kind of dramatic action, but rather just some perspective. And if there's anything that counts as perspective on your life it's Alison Bechdel's stunning graphic memoir Fun Home , which chronicles the many complicated dynamics of her childhood and her family.

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

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A lot of times feeling lost isn't just about not knowing where your life is going, but about not really knowing who you are, and The Namesake is all about figuring out who you are, as a person and as person in your family or your society. It's a gorgeous story that might give you some great insight.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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Believe it or not, successful people don't always know who they are or where they're going in life, either, so reading their memoirs can make you feel a lot better about your own future. Mindy Kaling's memoir is great for that purpose.

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

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Sometimes the most meaningful and important things we do in our lives come to us through sheer happenstance. Gentleman of the Road is a book that celebrates the randomness of life, and gives you a pretty great adventure story, one that might inspire you to get out there and give life a chance to happen to you if you're stuck in a rut.

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce

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Life isn't always easy, as is abundantly clear in Merritt Tierce's novel about a single mother working as a waitress at an upscale steakhouse. So if you're not much lost as struggling and not sure what to do, sometimes the best thing is to just know that you're not alone.

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

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One of the best coming-of-age stories in classic literature, A Room With a View is about breaking out of societal expectations to be true to who you really are, even when other people don't understand. It's perfect if you feel lost because you're living life the way your expected to, but not the way that would make you happy. Because not only are you not alone in that problem, but it's a problem as old as time.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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We all like to think that we need a purpose in life, but sometimes that's massively overrated — if, for example, your purpose in life sucks. This novel is brilliant and understated and lovely, but it also might make you kind of glad that you don't have a clear purpose assigned to your life. Which can be extremely comforting.

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

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Feeling lost and not knowing who you are or what you're doing with your life isn't fun, but it is full of possibility, and there's something to be said for that. Caitlin Moran's novel manages to capture not just the messiness of being young and mixed up and floundering around, but also the bright, brilliant possibility of it. And that's a nice way to look at it sometimes.

Images: Jorah Mormont/flickr