Demian by Herman Hesse
Just read Demian by Herman Hesse (buy at amazon). The book is a fictional first-person account of a German youth named Sinclair who is going through a period of awakening/enlightenment, working through issues of good and evil, at the hands of certain mentors (Max Demian throughout, Demian’s mom ultimately).
The book is about 170 pages. It has a mysterious quality to it, and I imagine there are some underlying ideas that I completely missed. The big takeaway to me was that there are those people who examine their lives, live with a self-driven purpose and exist apart from the “herd” and then there’s everyone else. Demian, Sinclair, et. al. seek their own purpose, which is a higher road than the herd. As for tangible philosophical ideas, the book came up short for me. Wasn’t an unpleasant read even still, but then again, if you’re a pretty individualistic person, you’ll find you agree with the general premise of this book — so what’s not to like?
Probably a good read for a 16 year old struggling with the idiocy of high school popularity contests.