How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

After struggling to find myself in How Should a Person Be?, I thought I'd try something a little more authoritative: this, Caitlin Moran says, is how to be a woman. And for her, it turns out, trying to find something to be is almost beside the point: "I thought all my efforts should be concentrated on being fabulous, rather than doing fabulous things." (Emphasis mine.)

That's right; there really isn't any one right path for the modern lady of means. Except you probably shouldn't try to live up to a rigid standard of perfection:

The thing that has given me the most relief and freedom in my adult years has been, finally, once and for all giving up on the idea that I might secretly be, or will one day become, a princess. Accepting you're just some perfectly ordinary woman who is going to have to crack on, work hard, and be polite in order to get anything done is---once you've gotten over the crippling disappointment of your thundering ordinariness---incredibly liberating.

This perfectly ordinary woman thinks that sounds downright sensible.

How Should a Person Be?, Sheila Heti

This book seems pretty polarizing; I fall into the "love it!" camp. (OK, there are some flaws, but on the whole, I was into it.)

The prologue is particularly strong, and if I had only read that, I would still be pretty happy. "How should a person be? For years and years I asked it of everyone I met. I was always watching to see what they were going to do in any situation, so I could do it too. ... in everyone, there was something to envy. You can admire anyone for being themselves. ... [But how] could I know which [choice] would look best on me?"

It's been a year for questioning, and Heti's "novel from life" is a satisfying coda. What do I want? What's the one right thing I should do? How should I be?

At the end of the book, she tells the story of a gravedigger: a ditchdigger questions a gravedigger about where the man has chosen to dig:

'Right here is fine,' the gravedigger said. 'It's not the plot, it's the grave.'
The man shook his head and laughed. 'If I had your job, I'd always be asking myself which plot was best. I'd keep on switching! You'd have this whole land covered in small holes, two feet deep.'
The gravedigger nodded and smiled gently, imagining the scene---all those bodies piling up by the gates. He might have been this way, too, but long ago he realized his intelligence didn't extend so far---to know what was good from what was best---so he taught himself to dig well, and did."

It goes on a bit more, and it's lovely. Perhaps you should read it, too?