Penelope Trunk’s syndicated career column appears in The Boston Globe and hundreds of other publications worldwide. Her first book is Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Yearling, $6.50). A transformative book for me as a 10-year-old waiting for the arrival of puberty. This book made me realize that I was going to learn a lot from books. I just had to find the right ones.

The Sensuous Woman by “J” (Bantam Dell, $8). I read this book 400 times in seventh grade trying to understand how the world works. It took me a while to realize that the anonymous author was saying that if you can just be yourself, you’ll be good in bed. I decided that probably this was true of life out of bed as well, and I started trying it.

Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich (W.W. Norton, $13). The title poem of this collection took me my whole freshman year of college to understand—and then I spent the rest of college using the poem as a road map for dumping everything that was expected of me.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garc